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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues disciplinary opinion re legal advertisements

From In the Matter of Scott A. Benkie/In the Matter of Douglas A. Crawford, a 5-page Per Curiam opinion

This matter is before the Court on the report of the hearing officer appointed by this Court to hear evidence on the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission's "Verified Complaint for Disciplinary Action" in each of these cases and the post-hearing pleadings of the parties. We find that Respondents, Scott A. Benkie and Douglas A. Crawford, engaged in attorney misconduct in their advertisements for their legal services. * * *

The Commission charged Respondents with violating these Indiana Professional Conduct Rules that prohibit the following conduct:

7.2(b): Use of a public communication containing a false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim.
7.2(c)(3): Use of a statement intended or likely to create an unjustified expectation.
7.2(d)(2): Use of a public communication that contains statistical data or other information based on past performance or prediction of future success.
7.3(c): Solicitation of professional employment without the words "Advertising Material." * * *

The Court concludes that Respondents' use of the phrase "commitment to obtaining the best possible settlement" did not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct and finds for Respondents on this charge. The Court, however, concludes the Commission has demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that Respondents committed the remaining violations as charged.

For Respondents' professional misconduct, the Court imposes a public reprimand. * * *

Shepard, C.J., and Dickson, and Boehm, JJ., concur.
Sullivan and Rucker, JJ., concur except that they would find no violation of Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d)(2).

Review the details of the opinion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 4, 2008 04:21 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions