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Disciplinary Actions - 9/24/14

September 24, 2014

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.

Public reprimand
Michael R. Auger, of Johnson County, was publicly reprimanded Sept. 2 for failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter. The client hired Auger’s firm in 2009 to represent her in a medical malpractice complaint, but the cases against all defendants were eventually dismissed with prejudice due to inaction by the firm. Auger’s wife, Jennifer Auger, had primary responsibility over the case; his responsibility is as partner of the firm. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against Auger.

Jennifer J. Auger, of Johnson County, was publicly reprimanded Sept. 2 for failing to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter. The client hired Auger’s firm in 2009 to represent her in a medical malpractice complaint, but the cases against all defendants were eventually dismissed with prejudice due to inaction by the firm. Auger had primary responsibility for the case. The Indiana Supreme Court found that Auger failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness. She also violated Indiana Professional Rule of Conduct 1.16(a)(2), representation of a client when the lawyer’s physical or mental condition materially impairs the lawyer’s ability to do so. Auger’s failure to fulfill the litigation of her client was due in substantial part to depression she suffered in dealing with her father’s illness.

The costs of the proceeding are assessed against her.

Suspension
Jesse L. Coleman, of Marion County, has been suspended for 60 days, beginning Oct. 24, per a Sept. 8 order. Coleman’s suspension is a result of his involvement in a foreclosure proceeding and bankruptcy proceeding with T.C. and G.C.

The Supreme Court found he violated Indiana Professional Rules of Conduct 1.3: failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness by his failure to promptly notify the foreclosure court of the bankruptcy filing and his failure to attend the § 341 meeting of creditors in the bankruptcy case; and 1.4(a)(3) and 1.4(b): failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make informed decisions by his failure to keep T.C. and G.C. reasonably informed about what was happening in the foreclosure action and his failure to alert them that a delay in filing for bankruptcy relief might prevent them from trying to pay the mortgage arrearage through a Chapter 13 plan and save T.C.’s house.

The costs of the proceeding are assessed against Coleman. He will be automatically reinstated as long as there are no other suspensions in effect.•

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