Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Not On The Cards
The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld a finding of misconduct and admonished an unnamed attorney
The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility received a complaint against appellant, an attorney licensed to practice in this state since 1979. After an investigation, the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility (Director) issued an admonition to appellant for solicitation of professional employment for pecuniary gain, in violation of Minn. R. Prof. Conduct 7.3(a), as well as failure to include the words “Advertising Material” on the outside of an envelope containing solicitation material, in violation of Minn. R. Prof. Conduct 7.3(c), under the version of these rules in effect at the time. See Rule 8(d)(2), RLPR. Appellant then demanded that the Director present the charges against him to a three-member panel of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board for de novo consideration. See Rule 8(d)(2)(iii), RLPR; Rule 4(e), RLPR.
The panel held an evidentiary hearing. The evidence presented showed that appellant visited complainant M.B.’s home on three separate occasions over 3 consecutive days. Appellant and M.B. provided differing accounts of what happened on the first visit...
The relevant facts regarding the next two visits were undisputed. Appellant returned to M.B.’s home the following day, on Monday, August 3, 2020. Appellant knocked on M.B.’s door, and, after receiving no response, left an envelope in M.B.’s mailbox. The letter contained a handwritten note with appellant’s name at the top stating, “Mr. [M.B.] – Please call and I will be able to assist you.” It also contained a copy of appellant’s business card, a printout of the homepage of his law firm’s website, a printout of a court record for a pending civil case in which M.B. was named as the defendant, and a property-tax summary from the Ramsey County website stating that M.B. was behind on paying his taxes. The envelope did not indicate that the documents were advertising materials. M.B. did not respond.
The court sustained the credibility finding below
this type of misconduct harms the public and the legal profession because it risks leading to “abuses of the legal process.” Maslowski v. Prospect Funding Partners LLC, 944 N.W.2d 235, 239 (Minn. 2020). Considering all these factors, we conclude that the appropriate discipline is an admonition.