`

Attorney suspended 6 months for work with California firm

December 7, 2017

The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended a Carmel attorney from the practice of law for six months after finding he engaged in an improper business relationship with an out-of-state corporation.

In 2008, Carmel attorney Richard Mossler began practicing almost exclusively in the area of consumer debt resolution. He was also simultaneously affiliated with Lexxiom, Inc., a California-based company that would interview potential clients for Mossler, who could then either accept or reject them.

Under Mossler’s standard contract, clients could receive non-litigation legal services and consultation for an initial flat fee, plus monthly maintenance and settlement accumulation fees. Clients could also separately hire Mossler to provide litigation services. Once a client signed an engagement agreement, Lexxiom would begin negotiating settlements with the client’s creditors.

Additionally, when representing non-Indiana clients, Mossler would employ out-of-state attorneys to provide as-needed, state-specific counsel. Those attorneys were paid a monthly retainer and were not associated with Mossler’s firm, The Mossler Law Firm, P.C.

As part of his relationship with Lexxiom, Mossler opened a California trust account, but failed to certify the account with the clerk of the Indiana Supreme Court. Further, the only signatories on the account were two nonlawyer Lexxiom executives.

Due to the large number of clients whose funds were held in the California trust, Lexxiom would make “batch” withdrawals that involved multiple clients for one transaction. However, due to Lexxiom errors, the trust was overdrawn on at least three occasions in December 2015. Mossler was not initially aware of the overdraft, but once he learned of the problem he hired an independent accounting firm to reconcile the balance and replenished the funds.

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint against Mossler in April 2017, and in a Wednesday disciplinary decision, the parties agreed he violated 14 Indiana rules, including:

  • Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.5(e), 1.15(a), 5.3(a) – (c), 8.4(a)
  • Indiana Professional Conduct Guidelines 9.1, 9.3, 9.4, 9.8 and 9.10
  • Indiana Admission and Discipline Rules (2016) 2(f) and 23(29)(a)(3)
  • Rule 7(B) of the Indiana Rules Governing Attorney Trust Account Overdraft Reporting

Those rules relate to a variety of violations, including improperly dividing fees between lawyers not of the same firm, failing to maintain complete records of a trust account and delegating responsibility to nonlawyers, among others.

Drawing on precedential discipline for similar conduct in cases such as Matter of Fratini, 74 N.E.3d 1210 (Ind. 2017), the justices Indiana Supreme Court, writing in a per curiam opinion, imposed a six-month suspension against Mossler, without automatic reinstatement. Mossler can petition for reinstatement at the end of that period if he has paid the costs of the proceeding, which are assessed against him, fulfills the duties of a suspended attorney and satisfies the requirements for reinstatement under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(18).

The case is In the Matter of Richard S. Mossler, 29S00-1704-DI-203.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Recent Articles by Olivia Covington