Justices suspend lawyers for failure to pay Disciplinary Commission

The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended two attorneys from the practice of law in Indiana after neither paid fees they owed to the court’s Disciplinary Commission for the costs of prosecuting them.

Justices called for the suspensions of Noblesville attorney Scott A. Adams and Evansville attorney Yvonne M. Carter in two separate Sept. 22 disciplinary orders.

Both attorneys were suspended from the practice of law for failing to pay costs assessed in their respective disciplinary actions “by the due date of the annual registration fee (October 1), in violation of the requirements of Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 23(10.1)(d) or Rule 23(21).”

Adams, admitted to practice in 2003, was suspended for 180 days in March 2020 with 60 days actively served and the remainder of his suspension stayed subject to the completion of at least two years of probation with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program. He was disciplined after failing to inform and refund several clients, among other things.

According to the Indiana Roll of Attorneys, the disciplinary action against him was, at the time, Adams’ first. The costs of the proceeding were assessed against him, but Adams failed to pay those costs on time and never filed a response to the commission’s petition, leading to his suspension effective 10 days after the order was handed down.

Adams can file a petition for reinstatement pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 2(h), but his petition will be granted only if the court finds that he is eligible and if there are no other suspensions in effect.

Similarly, Evansville attorney Yvonne M. Carter was suspended for failing to reimburse the commission $527.50 in costs assessed in a disciplinary action against her stemming back to August of 2019.

At the time, the commission had petitioned for Carter to show cause as to why she shouldn’t be suspended immediately from the practice of law for failure to cooperate with its investigation of a grievance filed against her by failing to submit written responses to pending allegations of professional misconduct against her. The case was eventually dismissed as moot by the high court in January of 2020.

Unlike Adams, Carter filed a response to the commission’s petition in the form of an unverified motion asking it to set aside its prior order in January 2020 assessing costs against her. However, the high court found her motion to be “untimely” and that it did not “set forth good cause” to set aside its prior order.

It thus denied her motion and proceeded to suspend Carter after she also missed the Oct. 1 deadline to reimburse the commission. Her suspension similarly goes into effect 10 days after Wednesday order. She can petition for reinstatement pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 2(h).

Carter was admitted to the practice of law in 1999, according to the Indiana Roll of Attorneys.

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