A northern Indiana state senator who was accused of mishandling 22 estate cases — including several open cases that are decades old — will not be suspended from the practice of law if she abides by conditions imposed by the Indiana Supreme Court, according to an order issued late Thursday.
The disciplinary complaint against Sen. Susan Glick was mitigated by “her making of restitution, her cooperation with the disciplinary process, her remorse, and her recent progress in closing the majority of old estates,” the court said in a unanimous order signed by Chief Justice Loretta Rush. The disciplinary complaint against Glick did not mention any allegations of owed restitution.
Glick, R-LaGrange, is one of seven majority members of the Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee. She also serves on the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee.
The agreement in Glick’s disciplinary case came just one month and one week after the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed a formal attorney discipline complaint against her. Glick issued a statement Friday through her attorney, James Bell of Paganelli Law Group in Indianapolis.
“Attorneys strive to adhere to a strict code in the practice of law. I am disappointed that I failed to live up to the high professional standards which I have always tried to maintain in over thirty-nine years of practicing law,” Glick said in the statement. “I have cooperated fully with the Disciplinary Commission to resolve this matter, and I deeply regret the inconvenience to my clients and any embarrassment to my fellow practitioners and the members of the legal profession.”
Bell did not immediately respond to questions regarding the amount and nature of the restitution Glick made, or whether Glick is facing any civil actions arising from the cases she is accused of mishandling.
The court suspended Glick for 30 days, all of which is stayed as long as she completes two years of probation and meets performance benchmarks the court outlined in its order. She must apprise the commission within 90 days of the status of seven old estate cases that remained open at the time the disciplinary complaint was filed against her, and she must close those open estates within the two-year probationary term. Failure to do so will result a 30-day suspension without automatic reinstatement.
Glick is accused of multiple violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct in a two-count complaint. In the first count, a co-executor of an estate claims that from September 2013 through February 2014, he made at least 27 attempts to contact Glick by phone or office visits for an update on the estate. The co-executor was typically met by Glick’s response that she “was working on it,” the complaint says, and Glick failed to provide any updates.
It took more than seven years to close that estate after the testator’s death in January 2009. The estate closed in November 2016 — after the commission initially contacted Glick about problems with several of her estate cases. It’s unclear from the complaint when the grievances against Glick were filed with the commission.
The complaint says the estate co-executor had provided Glick checking account information, farm rental information and other documentation on behalf of the estate, but Glick failed to timely file income tax returns or an Indiana inheritance tax return. The complaint says she paid from her own pocket the associated penalties and interest due in those cases.
The commission charges Glick with violating Rule of Professional Conduct 1.3 by failing to act with reasonable diligence on the estate matter; 1.4(3) for failing to keep co-executors reasonably informed about the status of the case; and 1.4(4) for failing to comply with reasonable requests for information from a co-executor.
Under a separate count, the commission accuses Glick “of failing to make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation” in 21 delinquent estate cases, a violation of Rule 3.2.
The commission says it asked Glick on Oct. 24, 2016, about 21 open estate cases dating from 1991 to 2014 in which she was the attorney of record. “As of the date of this complaint, the Respondent has closed 14 of the 21 estates,” the complaint says. All of the cases are in LaGrange Circuit Court.
The seven remaining open cases listed by the commission — those the court has now ordered her to close within two years — date from 1991 to 2012.