FOR THE RESPONDENT FOR THE INDIANA SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION
Harold G. O'Dell Donald R. Lundberg, Executive Secretary 2511 East 46th Street Dennis K. McKinney, Staff Attorney Suite Q-1 115 W. Washington Street, Ste. 1060 Indianapolis, IN 46204 Indianapolis, IN 46204 ________________________________________________________________________
SUPREME COURT OF INDIANA
Court's disciplinary jurisdiction.
The agreement reflects that the essential facts are undisputed. The parties agree that the respondent was hired to represent a couple in a wrongful death suit shortly after the death of their daughter in a mobile home fire in October 1989. The respondent told the couple that he would file their lawsuit against the trailer park in which the mobile home was located within a week.
Although the respondent never filed the lawsuit, he repeatedly told the couple that he had and that a settlement would follow shortly. When the couple demanded that the respondent identify the case number for the lawsuit so that they could ascertain its status, the respondent finally admitted that he had not filed the lawsuit. He suggested that they hire another attorney to file a malpractice claim against him, inasmuch as the statute of limitations on their wrongful death claim had expired.
The parties agree, and we hereby find, that the respondent engaged in misconduct by violating:
1) Ind.Professional Conduct Rule 1.1 by failing to file suit on his
clients' behalf before the statute of limitations barred
their claimSee footnote 1 ;
3) Prof.Cond.R. 1.4(a) by failing for five years to inform
his clients that he had not filed the lawsuit as he was
instructedSee footnote 3 ; and
4) Prof.Cond.R. 8.4(c) by telling his clients he had
filed the lawsuit when he had not.See footnote 4
The parties have agreed that the appropriate sanction is a sixty (60) day suspension
from the practice of law.
Although the respondent was hired shortly after the fire, he delayed more than five years in pursuing his clients' claim. Despite his clients' repeated inquiries and, eventually, the prospect of the statute of limitations barring his clients' action, the respondent failed to perform the relatively simple act of filing a complaint to preserve his clients' claim.
each of the United States Bankruptcy Courts in this state with the last known address of the
respondent as reflected in the records of the clerk.
Costs of this proceeding are assessed against the respondent.
A lawyer shall provide competent representation
to a client. Competent representation requires the
legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation
reasonably necessary for the representation.
A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and
promptness in representing a client.
A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed
about the status of a matter and promptly comply
with reasonable requests for information.
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty,
fraud, deceit or misrepresentation . . . .
Converted from WP6.1 by the Access Indiana Information Network