IN Supreme Court converts Fort Wayne lawyer’s suspension to without automatic reinstatement

A Fort Wayne lawyer set to be reinstated to the practice of law in Indiana on Saturday has instead been ordered to petition for reinstatement after failing to fulfill the duties of a suspended lawyer.

The Indiana Supreme Court in a Feb. 17 order converted Robert E. Love’s 180-day suspension with automatic reinstatement to a suspension without automatic reinstatement, retroactively effective to Aug. 30, 2021.

Love’s current discipline case began in September 2020 when the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint against him. At issue was his representation of two plaintiffs in a personal injury case.

Love negotiated a settlement, and the defense insurer, The General, issued four checks, including two checks for $1,000 each that were payable to Geico, the plaintiffs’ insurer. Love asked his clients to endorse the checks and cash them at his bank, but he did not tell Geico about the funds.

When Geico learned about the checks, it spent months trying to contact Love and eventually forced him to admit that he owed the insurer $2,000. That conduct resulted in a finding of four Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct violations, which led to the 180-day suspension with automatic reinstatement. 

In converting that suspension to one without automatic reinstatement, the Indiana Supreme Court wrote in its order that the Disciplinary Commission had objected to the automatic reinstatement because of a “repeated and systemic failure by Respondent to comply with the duties of suspended attorneys under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26) and with the terms of (the previous) disciplinary order.” Love was ordered to respond to the commission’s objection within 10 days but failed to do so.

Thus, the high court sustained the objection and converted the suspension.

“Respondent is ordered to fulfill the continuing duties of a suspended attorney under Rule 23(26). To be readmitted to the practice of law in this State, Respondent must cure the causes of all suspensions in effect and successfully petition this Court for reinstatement pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 23(18)(b),” according to the court’s order in In the Matter of: Robert E. Love, 20S-DI-556.

Love was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1985 and, according to the Indiana Roll of Attorneys, has been the subject of seven total disciplinary actions since 2011. He has been formally disciplined twice: once in 1996 and again in 2014. 

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