ILNews

Disciplinary Actions - 7/7

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
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.

Suspensions
Timothy A. Doyle of Marion County is suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for 60 days with automatic reinstatement, effective Aug. 6, 2010, according to a June 25, 2010, Supreme Court order approving statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline.

All justices concurred except Justice Dickson who dissented, believing that reinstatement should not be automatic.

He violated Ind. Prof. Cond. R. 1.4(a)(3) and (4); 1.16(d); and 8.1(b).

The Disciplinary Commission’s complaint is in four counts, all of which charge Doyle with failing to respond in a timely manner to the commission’s requests for information about grievances filed against him. In all four cases, he responded only after the Supreme Court entered an order directing him to show cause why he shouldn’t be suspended immediately for failure to cooperate with the commission.

Three of the counts allege – and Doyle admits according to court documents – that after being retained by clients, he failed to respond to the clients’ repeated requests for information about their cases. In one case, he failed to inform the client of a hearing, and in another case he failed to return a $1,250 unearned fee until the client filed a grievance against him.

No mitigating facts were cited. An aggravating fact was his prior agreed public reprimand in 2007 for two counts of misconduct involving neglect of clients’ cases See Matter of Doyle, 878 N.E. 2d 202 (Ind. 2007).

“The discipline the Court would impose for Respondent’s misconduct would likely be more severe had this matter been submitted without an agreement, especially in light of his recent discipline for similar conduct,” wrote the court, noting its desire to foster agreed resolutions of lawyer disciplinary cases.

John P. Seib of Marion County is suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for 180 days, all stayed, subject to completion of 30 months probation, according to a June 24, 2010, Supreme Court order approving statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline.

Terms and conditions of probation include that Seib will meet all requirements of his monitoring agreement with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program and shall not violate the law or Rules of Professional Conduct during probation. If he violates probation, the commission will petition to revoke his probation and ask that he serve the stayed suspension without automatic reinstatement, and that he be reinstated only through the procedures of Admis. and Disc. R. 23(4) and (18).

He violated Ind. Prof. Cond. R. 8.4(b).

Police officers responding to a 911 call Nov. 29, 2008, overheard a loud argument inside a residence involving Seib. After an investigation at the scene, the officers advised Seib that he was under arrest. He resisted being handcuffed. Pursuant to a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, and other charges were dismissed.

On Jan. 15, 2010, while this disciplinary action was pending, Seib was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a Class A misdemeanor. He pleaded guilty to this charge March 17, 2010.

Seib self-reported his arrests to the Disciplinary Commission, has cooperated with the commission, and had no disciplinary history.

Augustus Mendenhall of Hendricks County has been suspended pendente lite from the practice of law in Indiana, effective 15 days from the June 21, 2010, Supreme Court order for his interim suspension.

Chief Justice Shepard and Justices Rucker and Dickson concurred. Justices Boehm and Sullivan did not participate in this case.

The Disciplinary Commission filed an emergency petition for suspension pending further order of the Supreme Court or final resolution of any resulting disciplinary actions because of “alleged misconduct that may cause Respondent’s continued practice of law during the pendency of a disciplinary investigation or proceeding to post a substantial threat of harm to the public, clients, potential clients, or the administration of justice,” the court wrote.

Mendenhall waived his right to contest the petition.Judgment for respondent
Jack Rogers of Johnson County was found by the Supreme Court not to have engaged in professional misconduct, according to June 21, 2010, judgment in Rogers’ favor.

The Disciplinary Commission alleged Rogers violated Ind. Prof. Cond. R. 3.3(a)(1).

While representing a criminal defendant at a suppression hearing, Rogers cited a Court of Appeals opinion that had been vacated and replaced by a Supreme Court decision. The case was Trimble v. State, 816 N.E.2d 83 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), vacated, 842 N.E.2d 798 (2006). The hearing officer found Rogers to be credible when he testified that he had not knowingly cited incorrect law and did not intend to mislead the trial court. The hearing officer concluded the commission failed to produce clear and convincing evidence that Rogers violated the rule and recommended the court enter judgment in respondent’s favor. The commission did not file a petition for review.
Public reprimands
Thomas J. Broderick of Madison County was publicly reprimanded for violating Ind. Prof. Cond. R. 4.1(a) and 8.4(d), according to a June 25, 2010, Supreme Court order.

In 2001, Broderick’s then-19-year-old son was charged with battery in Florida. Broderick wrote to the Florida prosecutor requesting deferral of prosecution, to which the prosecutor agreed.

In October 2003, Broderick’s son was arrested in Delaware County and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Broderick, representing his son, discussed with the prosecutor and the deferral program administrator the possibility of resolving the case without a criminal conviction. Based on the information presented, the administrator determined the son was eligible for a deferral. Broderick did not disclose his son’s arrest in Florida, but he was asked no question that would have required him to disclose it.

Broderick and his son later met with the deferral program administrator to review the terms of the three-page deferral agreement. The agreement contained the false statement that the defendant had no prior arrests. Broderick was unaware of the statement because he did not read the agreement before he and his son signed it, relying instead – Broderick asserted – on the administrator’s summary of the agreement and his familiarity with deferral agreements in Madison County, which in his experience did not contain such a statement.

“It is undisputed that Respondent did not actually know the Agreement contained a false statement of fact. The Commission argues that an intentional choice to remain ignorant of a likely falsehood in a document can rise to a level of a ‘knowing’ misrepresentation. In the particular circumstances of this case, we agree,” wrote the court.

It also noted Broderick’s experience as a lawyer made him aware of the relevance of a defendant’s prior record in a criminal case and who knew his son’s Florida arrest had not been disclosed. Broderick “chose not to read a short document containing the essential terms of his son’s probation. Respondent therefore knew that he didn’t know what representations he was making. He is responsible for any errors,” the court continued.

The justices did note Broderick’s more than 30 years as a lawyer.

Daniel R. Carroll of Marion County was publicly reprimanded for violating Ind. Prof. Cond. R. 1.3; and 1.4(a)(3) and (4), according to a June 24, 2010, Supreme Court order approving statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline.

Carroll represented clients in an action asserting claims related to fire restoration work provided to the defendants. He then failed to respond to a motion to strike certain defendants from the case, failed to notify clients in a timely manner when the court granted the motion, failed to respond to the majority of clients’ requests for information, and eventually withdrew from the case.

The parties cited no aggravator factors. Mitigating facts are his lack of disciplinary history and his cooperation with the Disciplinary Commission.•
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

ADVERTISEMENT