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Attorneys get public reprimand

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In a disciplinary action released by the Indiana Supreme Court today, the justices held that the text of a 2004 version of the Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.15(b), as reinforced by Comment 3, required attorneys to promptly distribute undisputed portions of funds they held for clients or third parties. The high court also ruled that an attorney's duty to produce documentation in complying with the duty to render a full accounting to a client includes a full accounting of the attorney's billing statements, including hours spent under hourly contracts.

In the case In the matter of Kevin W. Marshall; In the Matter of C. Jerome Smith, No. 45S00-0606-DI-218, the justices found attorneys Kevin Marshal and C. Jerome Smith, partners in the same firm, violated Professional Conduct Rule 1.15(b) (2004) by failing to promptly release to a client the funds he was owed. The Supreme Court imposed a public reprimand.

Marshall and Smith's client retained Marshall to bring a suit against two insurance carriers. Under the first contract he signed, the client was billed $150 an hour but no further payments were required if the lawsuit was unsuccessful. Marshall told the client in 2004 that he'd have to win at least $300,000 in a jury verdict to cover his legal expenses and had a new contingent contract drawn up. The second contract gave the firm one-third of the gross recovery.

The client received a jury verdict of $1 million; the client was owed $562, 235.62. The client didn't receive a prompt payment and asked for Marshall's billing hours statements. Marshall refused to provide those. Nearly six months after the verdict, the client received the amount he was owed.

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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