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Disciplinary Actions - 9/15/10

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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
Derrick D. Eley of Marion County has had his suspension from the practice of law in Indiana converted to an indefinite suspension because of his continued noncooperation with the disciplinary commission, according to an Aug. 27, 2010, Supreme Court order. He was originally suspended Jan. 7, 2010, for failing to cooperating with the commission regarding a grievance filed against him.

Public reprimand
Richard N. Shapiro of Lake County was publicly reprimanded for violating Ind. Prof. Cond. R. 8.4(e), according to an Aug. 27, 2010, Supreme Court order approving statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline.

A client hired Shapiro to represent him in an employment dispute. Shapiro sent a letter to the client’s former employer demanding payment of $70,000 under the Indiana Wage Claim Act. In the letter, Shapiro stated that the act was enforced by the Office of the Attorney General, that Shapiro had attended high school with the former attorney general, and that Shapiro therefore did not think he would have much problem in getting his successor’s attention in the matter. Shapiro was cooperative with the Disciplinary Commission, and he has no disciplinary history.

Private reprimand
In the Matter of Anonymous of Clark County, respondent is privately reprimanded for violating Ind. Prof. Cond. R. 5.5(a) for assisting in the unauthorized practice of law in this state, according to a Sept. 3, 2010, Supreme Court per curiam opinion.

Respondent agreed to serve as local counsel for Kentucky attorney John Redelberger who represented an Indiana client. Redelberger did not seek temporary admission to practice law in Indiana, and he and respondent signed and filed an appearance for the client in an action filed in an Indiana trial court. Without respondent, Redelberger signed and served answers to interrogatories and took depositions of witnesses in Indiana.

After Redelberger appeared in court for the client, the judge told respondent that Redelberger wasn’t admitted to practice in this state. Respondent told Redelberger that he must seek temporary admission and sent him a copy of the applicable rule. Neither respondent nor Redelberger followed through in obtaining temporary admission for Redelberger.

There were no aggravating factors. Mitigating facts were respondent had no prior discipline, he cooperated with the disciplinary commission, he did not act from a selfish or dishonest motive, and he is remorseful.

“The participation of Indiana co-counsel in the temporary admission process is of vital importance to this Court’s ability to supervise out-of-state attorneys practicing in this state. This is no minor or perfunctory duty. Not all attorneys seeking temporary admission will be granted the privilege of practicing in Indiana,” the high court wrote.

The court called respondent’s response “inadequate” once he learned Redelberger wasn’t admitted to practice in Indiana.

The Supreme Court noted that Indiana attorneys serving as local counsel for out-of-state attorneys are “advised of the importance of their duty to ensure complete and timely compliance with all the requirements of Admission and Discipline Rule 3(2).”

Reinstatement
Thadd E. Evans of Blackford County has been reinstated to the practice of law in Indiana, according to an Aug. 27, 2010, Supreme Court order.

All justices concurred except Justice Dickson, who dissented to granting the reinstatement.

Lester H. Cohen of Reno, Nev., has been reinstated to practice to law in Indiana on the condition that he fully cure his continuing legal education noncompliance as well as meet his 2010 CLE obligations no later than Dec. 31, 2010, according to an Aug. 27, 2010, Supreme Court order.

Cohen was suspended May 14, 2010, along with several other attorneys who failed to comply with CLE requirements.

Cohen said the noncompliance was caused by health problems and tendered a $200 reinstatement fee as required by Admis. and Disc. R. 29, Sec. 10(b).

Resignation
Willie Harris of Lake County has resigned from the Indiana bar, effective with the Sept. 3, 2010, Supreme Court order accepting his resignation. Any attorney disciplinary proceedings pending against Harris are dismissed as moot. He shall be ineligible to petition for reinstatement to the practice of law for five years.•
 

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