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Disciplinary Actions - 10/23/13

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Indiana Lawyer Disciplinary Actions

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission brings charges against attorneys who have violated the state’s rules for admission to the bar and Rules of Professional Conduct. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications brings charges against judges, judicial officers, or judicial candidates for misconduct. Details of attorneys’ and judges’ actions for which they are being disciplined by the Supreme Court will be included unless they are not a matter of public record under the court’s rules.

Suspension
F. Scott Stuard, of Clinton County, has been suspended for noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission, per an Oct. 3 order. The suspension was effective immediately. Stuard was ordered July 23 to show cause why he shouldn’t be immediately suspended for failure to cooperate with the commission; he never submitted a response. He is also ordered to reimburse the Disciplinary Commission $524.44 for costs of the proceeding.

Public reprimand
Ellen M. Corcella, of Marion County, received a public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court, per an Oct. 3 order. The reprimand stems from fee agreements with clients. In one case, Corcella billed a client at a higher rate than what the agreement called for. In the other case, a fee agreement was changed from a contingent fee to a blended hourly and contingent fee agreement which favored Corcella.

The justices found Corcella violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.5(a), charging an unreasonable fee; and 1.8(a), entering into a business transaction with a client (modification of fee agreement) unless the client is given written advice of the desirability of seeking the advice of independent counsel.

Corcella has no disciplinary history and was remorseful. The costs of the proceedings are assessed against Corcella.

Discipline Declined
Thomas M. Dixon, of St. Joseph County, was found not to have committed attorney misconduct by the Indiana Supreme Court in an Oct. 8 opinion. The hearing officer believed statements Dixon made about a St. Joseph Superior judge who refused to recuse herself from a case involving pro-life demonstrators at the University of Notre Dame warranted discipline. Justice Rucker dissented, believing Dixon violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.2(a) and should be sanctioned accordingly.•

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