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Disciplinary Actions - 9/28/12

IL Staff
September 26, 2012
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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
John L. Stewart, of Marion County, has been suspended from practice for 180 days, with 90 days actively served and the remainder stayed subject to completion of at least two years of probation, per an Aug. 30, 2012, order. Stewart was convicted by a jury of operating while intoxicated with a prior conviction as a Class D felony, and related misdemeanors. Stewart did not report two prior guilty pleas to drunk-driving offenses with the disciplinary commission.

The justices found he violated Ind. Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b) and Ind. Admission and Discipline Rule 23(11.1)(a)(2). The Supreme Court issued an interim suspension which took effect July 20. The costs of the proceedings are assessed against Stewart.

Blair A. Brown, of Adams County, has been suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court for 30 days, per an Aug. 30, 2012, order. The justices found he violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.3, 1.4(a), and 1.4(b) for not informing his client about the status of his appeal or taking further action. Brown was appointed in 1989 to pursue a criminal appeal of a client sentenced to 100 years on two child molesting convictions. It wasn’t until 2007 that the client, pro se, requested a new appellate counsel, who filed the client’s belated appeal.

The costs of the proceedings are assessed against Brown. His suspension begins Oct. 12.

Janice R. Gambill, of Porter County, has been suspended for at least six months without automatic reinstatement, per a Sept. 7, 2012, order. Gambill was hired in April 2008 to file a legal malpractice action against an Illinois attorney who represented the client in a personal injury case in an Illinois state court. Gambill filed a personal injury action in the Northern District of Indiana, which was dismissed. She then failed to respond to the client’s request for information about the legal malpractice action and lied about the matter. In 2010, she filed the legal malpractice against the Illinois attorney. The client terminated Gambill and hired a new attorney.

The justices cited Gambill’s disciplinary history, noting she was on probation when the current misconduct occurred. She violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.1: Failure to provide competent representation; 1.2(a): Failure to abide by a client’s decisions concerning the objectives of representation; 1.3: Failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness; 1.4(b): Failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make informed decisions; and 8.4(c): Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against Gambill.

Deborah S. Davis Julian f/k/a Kubley, of Johnson County, has been suspended for at least two years without automatic reinstatement, as of Sept. 7, 2012. Julian admitted to six counts of professional misconduct occurring between 2008 and 2011, including neglecting clients’ cases, failing to refund unearned fees, and failing to do the work for which she was hired. She has no disciplinary history and has completed a 90-day residential treatment program for alcohol addiction.

Julian also is currently suspended for noncooperation. The justices found she violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.3: Failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness; 1.4(a)(3): Failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter; 1.4(a)(4): Failure to comply promptly with a client’s reasonable requests for information; 1.16(d): After the termination of representation, failure to protect a client’s interests and failure to refund an unearned fee; 3.3: Failing to disclose a material fact to a tribunal; and 8.1(b): Knowingly failing to respond to a lawful demand for information from an admissions or disciplinary authority.

She must continue Judges and Lawyer Assistance Program monitoring. Justice Steven David dissented, believing disbarment is appropriate.

Contempt
Brian L. Nehrig, of Hamilton County, has been found in contempt of court for practicing law after resigning from the bar, per a Sept. 7, 2012 order. Nehrig pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced to three years’ probation in federal court for his role in a foreclosure scheme. He engaged in a pattern of fraudulent practices in representing a mortgage company in foreclosure actions, including altering sheriff’s deeds. He resigned from the bar in August 2007.

Nehrig has since been renting office space at the law office of John R. McManus Jr. and performing some work for the firm, including facilitating “short sales” of real estate. He has violated Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26)(b) by working at the office.

The justices fined Nehrig $1,000 and extended his removal from practice for an additional 120 days, effective at the end of his five-year removal from practice which began Aug 13, 2007. He has 60 days from Sept. 7 to pay the fine, and the costs of the proceeding are assessed against Nehrig.

Public reprimand
John T. McManus Jr., of Hamilton County, has received a public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court for his role in helping an attorney commit unauthorized practice of law. McManus allowed Brian Nehrig, who resigned from the bar following a federal conviction and investigation by the disciplinary commission, to rent space at his office. He knew Nehrig was involved in facilitating short sales but was not aware of outside activities Nehrig performed, such as working on tax issues or negotiating loan modifications.

The justices found in a Sept. 7, 2012, order that McManus violated Rule 5.5(a) by assisting Nehrig, “albeit indirectly” in the unauthorized practice of law. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against McManus.

Reinstatement
Patrick M. Schrems, of Monroe County, has been conditionally reinstated as a member of the Indiana bar and placed on probation for at least two years, according to an Aug. 30, 2012, order. Schrems was initially suspended for at least six months without automatic reinstatement on June 7, 2011. As part of his probation, Schrems must continue his monitoring agreement with the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program. Any costs owed must be paid by Schrems.•

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