Two Indianapolis attorneys have been reprimanded by the Indiana Supreme Court after they reached agreements with the disciplinary commission in their attorney ethics cases.
A majority of justices agreed on a public reprimand for attorney Jay Meisenhelder after finding that he violated Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct by revealing information about his representation of a client without the client’s informed consent.
According to the agreed discipline statement reached between Meisenhelder and the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, Meisenhelder “represented ‘Clients A and B’ in unrelated matters. Respondent filed a pleading in Client A’s case that included 14 rhetorical paragraphs pertaining to Client B’s matter and consisting in part of confidential information. The disclosure of this information was not permitted under Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.6(b).” The conduct also violated Rule 1.9(c)(2), the parties agreed.
Four justices agreed to the proposed discipline of a public reprimand, but Justice Steven David dissented and “would reject the conditional agreement, believing the discipline is insufficient in light of the misconduct admitted,” the order issued Wednesday said.
Justices were unanimous in adopting the recommendation of a public reprimand for attorney Jay Michael Wehmeier. He and the commission stipulated that Wehmeier represented a person referred to as “JS” who personally guaranteed a lease agreement, as well as a tenant in small-claims action in which he ultimately agreed to an entry of summary judgment against his clients and a judgment against them, jointly and severally, in the amount of $7,652.90.
Wehmeier “had never met JS and had not been authorized to represent JS,” who learned of the lawsuit when his wages were garnished, the order says.
JS “hired counsel, who successfully moved to set aside the judgment against JS. Landlord and JS then negotiated a settlement. … JS contends he suffered a negative mark on his credit score report and had to pay his attorney several thousand dollars as a result of (Wehmeier’s) misconduct. A civil action brought by JS against (Wehmeier) remains pending.”
In agreeing to the reprimand, the court found Wehmeier “has no prior discipline in over four decades of practice, is remorseful, and has been cooperative with the Commission.” Justices found he violated Professional Conduct Rules 1.4(a)(1), 1.4(a)(2) and 1.4(a)(3) concerning communications with clients and Rule 8.4(d) for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Additionally, on Thursday the court terminated the suspension of Whitestown attorney Robert Cheesebourough for noncooperation with the investigation of a grievance. His discipline case remains pending.