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Surrogate handling missing Kokomo attorney’s files

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Kokomo attorney Bradley Hamilton has been missing more than a month, leaving behind numerous unrepresented clients.

Howard Superior 4 Judge George Hopkins earlier this month signed an order appointing Kokomo attorney Brent Dechert to serve as a surrogate. Dechert petitioned the court upon belief that Hamilton may have moved to Australia after unsuccessfully trying to sell his law practice.

Hopkins’ order says, “the disappearance and/or abrupt closure of Bradley D. Hamilton's law office constitutes an occurrence under Supreme Court Admission and Discipline Rule 23, Section 27(c), which requires the appointment of an attorney surrogate to act as custodian of Bradley Hamilton's law practice.”

Dechert could not be reached for comment early Monday. A recording on Hamilton’s office voice mail line accepted messages but also said, “This office has closed.”

The surrogate order appoints Dechert to act as custodian, transfer files and notify clients pursuant to the rule. The order also grants a 120-day extension on statutes of limitations, deadlines and most filing time limits for Hamilton’s clients, as provided in ADR 23, Section 27(e).

Sources familiar with the situation said Monday that some of Hamilton’s clients had filed or were planning to file complaints with the Howard County Bar and the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

Hamilton was last seen in Kokomo in late September. He was admitted to practice in 1984 and is listed on the Indiana Roll of Attorneys as active and in good standing, with prior disciplinary matters filed in 2010 concluded in March 2012.

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