Supreme Court reprimands attorney for falsifying hours worked

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The Indiana Supreme Court has publicly reprimand an Indianapolis attorney accused of falsifying the time he spent working on cases in official claims for attorney fees.

Patrick Mulvany represented clients seeking judicial review of Social Security claims in federal court. Federal statute makes attorney fees available to clients who prevail in their cases, but over the course of several years Mulvany submitted applications for attorney fees that were not compliant with the statutory requirement, according to the Thursday order approving the statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline.

Specifically, the statute required attorney fees applications to reflect actual time expended, but Mulvany would submit nearly identical applications in each of his cases in which he assigned an hourly “worth” to the tasks he completed, regardless of the time he actually spent completing those tasks. Magistrate and district court judges repeatedly denied Mulvany’s attorney fees applications, and ordered, using “progressively stronger language,” that he track and report the actual time he spent working.

The issue came to a head in 2015 when, in responses to a Social Security Administration brief opposing a fee award, Mulvany filed an amended attorney fee affidavit that falsified the time he spent working on a particular case. The district court judge denied the application and ordered Mulvany to send a copy of the court’s order to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. Additionally, Mulvany filed a report with the district court expression contrition and promising to “employ appropriate timekeeping practices,” according to the order.

The parties agreed Mulvany violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 3.3(a)(1) and 8.4(c), which prohibit knowingly making false statements and engaging in dishonest, fraudulent or deceitful conduct. The Supreme Court imposed a public reprimand as Mulvany’s discipline and assessed the costs of the proceeding against him.

Also on Thursday, the high court indefinitely suspended South Bend attorney Sven Marshall for failure to respond to a show cause order.

Marshall was ordered in March to show cause why he should not be suspended from the practice of law immediately for his failure to cooperate with the commission’s investigation into a grievance against him. Marshall did not respond to that order, nor to an April “Request for Ruling and to Tax Costs.”

Thus, the court suspended Marshall, effective immediately, until he cooperates with the disciplinary investigation or until further order of the court. Marshall was also ordered to reimburse the commission $513.24 for the costs of prosecuting the proceeding.


  • You nailed it little royal
    Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?
  • I am not shocked
    Different rules for different folks....
    • You are the big problem
      Andrew, you are a whistleblower against an ideologically corrupt system that is also an old boys network ... Including old gals .... You are a huge threat to them. Thieves, liars, miscreants they understand, identify with, coddle. But whistleblowers must go to the stake. Burn well my friend, burn brightly, tyger.
    • Bogus
      VSB dismissed the reciprocal discipline based on what Indiana did to me. Here we have an attorney actually breaking ethical rules, dishonest behavior, and only getting a reprimand. I advocated that this supreme court stop discriminating against me and others based on disability, and I am SUSPENDED 180 days. Time to take out the checkbook and stop the arrogant cheating to hurt me and retaliate against my good faith efforts to stop the discrimination of this Court.

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      1. File under the Sociology of Hoosier Discipline ... “We will be answering the complaint in due course and defending against the commission’s allegations,” said Indianapolis attorney Don Lundberg, who’s representing Hudson in her disciplinary case. FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ... Lundberg ran the statist attorney disciplinary machinery in Indy for decades, and is now the "go to guy" for those who can afford him .... the ultimate insider for the well-to-do and/or connected who find themselves in the crosshairs. It would appear that this former prosecutor knows how the game is played in Circle City ... and is sacrificing accordingly. See more on that here ... Legal sociologists could have a field day here ... I wonder why such things are never studied? Is a sacrifice to the well connected former regulators a de facto bribe? Such questions, if probed, could bring about a more just world, a more equal playing field, less Stalinist governance. All of the things that our preambles tell us to value could be advanced if only sunshine reached into such dark worlds. As a great jurist once wrote: "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." Other People's Money—and How Bankers Use It (1914). Ah, but I am certifiable, according to the Indiana authorities, according to the ISC it can be read, for believing such trite things and for advancing such unwanted thoughts. As a great albeit fictional and broken resistance leaders once wrote: "I am the dead." Winston Smith Let us all be dead to the idea of maintaining a patently unjust legal order.

      2. The Department of Education still has over $100 million of ITT Education Services money in the form of $100+ million Letters of Credit. That money was supposed to be used by The DOE to help students. The DOE did nothing to help students. The DOE essentially stole the money from ITT Tech and still has the money. The trustee should be going after the DOE to get the money back for people who are owed that money, including shareholders.

      3. Do you know who the sponsor of the last-minute amendment was?

      4. Law firms of over 50 don't deliver good value, thats what this survey really tells you. Anybody that has seen what they bill for compared to what they deliver knows that already, however.

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