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Supreme Court disbars attorney

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Indiana Lawyer Disciplinary Actions


The Indiana Supreme Court disbarred a northern Indiana attorney April 1 for violating the terms of a previous suspension, entering into an improper business transaction with a client, and engaging in dishonest conduct.

The justices unanimously disbarred Rodney P. Sniadecki, a sole practitioner in Mishawaka and South Bend, adopting the hearing officer's findings and proposed discipline.

Sniadecki has been disbarred based on the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission's three-count verified complaint. Count I says he failed to obey suspension obligations by not notifying all his active clients of his October 2007 suspension, making a false compliance affidavit with the Indiana Supreme Court in regards to providing written notice, and he maintained a presence in his law office while he was suspended. The evidence shows Sniadecki even accepted new clients and represented them during his suspension.

Sniadecki directed his legal secretary to forge several documents and gave false sworn statements to the Disciplinary Commission during its investigation of the instant case.

Under Count II, Sniadecki conducted an improper business transaction with a client. He misrepresented to his client that his law office property was for sale, so they entered into an oral agreement for her to purchase the property. She gave him $180,000 in cash, but then changed her mind after Sniadecki said her request to fully inspect the property would "ruin everything." Sniadecki provided his client with a promissory note to repay the money, which he used to purchase another property for his law office, but he failed to set up a payment schedule. Sniadecki continued to represent her for several months after the transaction until she fired him.

The third count says Sniadecki falsified loan documents and committed attempted obstruction of justice when trying to get a loan to repay the client through mortgages on his current law office and new law office properties. Because his wife was the owner of the new property, Sniadecki had his legal secretary forge wage and tax documents to help him have the mortgage approved.

After the commission initiated an investigation of a grievance against Sniadecki pertaining to the falsified loan documents, he asked the loan originator working on the mortgage to take responsibility for the forged documents. Sniadecki offered him a position in his law office, but the loan originator refused.

The justices agreed with the hearing officer that the witnesses were more credible than Sniadecki in the investigation. Sniadecki is disbarred for violating Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26); and Indiana Professional Rules of Conduct 1.8(a), 3.3(a), 3.4(c), 8.4(b), and 8.4(c). His disbarment is effective May 12.

Sniadecki was admitted to the bar in 1992. He was suspended in 2007 for having a sexual relationship with a client and initially lying to the commission about when it started; for hiring a suspended attorney to perform administrative, secretarial, and paralegal duties; and for representing a wife in a divorce action while still representing the wife and husband in a joint bankruptcy petition.

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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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