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Brown County attorney resigns over disciplinary action

December 7, 2018

In separate disciplinary actions, the Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a public reprimand for an Evansville attorney and accepted the resignation of a Brown County attorney who was facing multiple professional misconduct and trust account violations.

Nashville attorney Andrew Szakaly, Jr., who has been licensed since 1975, submitted his resignation after the disciplinary concluded he had multiple violations for representing clients in their Florida business dealings even though he was not licensed to practice in that state and mismanaged his Interest on Lawyers Trust Account. He was found to have violated multiple the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and Indiana Rules for Admission to the Bar and the Discipline of Attorneys.

The Supreme Court ordered his resignation be accepted effective immediately.

According to the disciplinary complaint against Szakaly, he drafted deeds, promissory notes and real estate mortgages as well as offered advice to Norval and J. Elaine Fischvogt, who at the time were living in Florida and wanting to sell property there. Szakaly, the complaint states, was not licensed in Florida nor associated with any attorney in that state.

In addition, Szakaly entered into eight business transactions with the Fischvogts between May 2009 and January 2015, the complaint notes. Three times, the terms of the transactions were modified, which generally decreased Szakaly’s responsibility for the underlying debt. There is no written indication that the Fischvogts received the information necessary to give informed consent to the terms of the transactions.

After being notified the Fischvogts were being represented by attorney Jon E. Williams, the complaint states Szakaly contacted the couple directly, asking to meet with them and indicating that paying off the debt he owed them would be difficult.

The complaint states in regard to the Fischvogt matter, Szakaly was found have violated Professional Conduct rules 5.5, 1.2, 1.8(a), and 4.2.

Szakaly was also found to have numerous trust account violations for commingling personal or business funds with clients’ funds and for failing to keep adequate trust account records. The complaint states he violated Profession Conduct rules 1.15(a) and 1.15(b) and 8.4(b), and Admission to the Bar and Discipline of Attorneys, Rule 23 Section 29(a)(4), Rule 23 Section 29(a)(5) and Rule 23 Section 29(c)(5).

Separately, Jared Michel Thomas of Evansville was given a public reprimand for violating the Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.3 which requires attorneys to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client. The order states he and another attorney were representing siblings whose house was destroyed by arson but over a three year period, Thomas and the other attorney communicated little with the siblings and did virtually no work on their case.

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