Monday, November 1, 2021
A personal conflict of interest drew an agreed public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court
Respondent represented a businessman (“Seller”) who was negotiating to sell his company to a “Buyer.” Prior to Respondent’s representation, the parties had entered into an exclusivity agreement that limited Seller’s ability to negotiate with others for 150 days. Seller ultimately rejected Buyer’s final offer, and the sale did not go through.
Respondent entered his last billing entry in the matter on November 25, 2015. On November 27, 2015, Respondent, on behalf of a company he owned, sent a proposed purchase agreement to Seller. Although Seller was aware of Respondent’s affiliation with his company, Respondent did not advise Seller in writing that he was no longer Seller’s counsel and was not representing Seller in the proposed purchase agreement, nor did Respondent obtain Seller’s informed consent in writing. On November 30, Seller sought legal advice from Respondent regarding release from his exclusivity agreement with Buyer, which Respondent provided despite being materially limited by his own personal interest. Respondent and Seller consummated their agreement on December 4, 2015.