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Friday, April 16, 2010

Ind. Decisions - "Chesterton lawyer hit with reprimand"

Teresa Auch Schultz has this story in today's Gary Post Tribune:

A Chesterton lawyer is being publicly reprimanded by the Indiana Supreme Court for not being clear with a client about payment on an overdue bill.

According to a filing from the court's Disciplinary Commission from March, George Livarchik had agreed to represent a client for an hourly fee, with the client making monthly payments.

Continuing, from the Order itself:
When the client fell behind in her payments, the trial court entered a stipulated order requiring the client and her husband to turn over their tax refunds to Respondent's trust account. The client and her husband failed to comply with the order. Three days prior to the final hearing in the matter, Respondent presented to the client, and the client signed, a promissory note for the amount of fees owing secured by a mortgage on her real estate. Respondent entered into this transaction without giving the client a copy of the document prior to the time it was executed, without giving her a reasonable opportunity to seek independent counsel, and without obtaining her written informed consent to the essential terms of the transaction.

The parties cite no facts in aggravation. Facts in mitigation are: (1) Respondent's lack of disciplinary history; and (2) his cooperation with the Commission.

Violation: The parties agree that Respondent violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.8(a), which prohibits entering into a business transaction with a client unless the terms are fair and reasonable, the terms are fully and clearly disclosed, the client is given reasonable opportunity to seek independent counsel, and the client consents in writing to the transaction.

Discipline: The parties propose the appropriate discipline is a public reprimand.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 16, 2010 09:20 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions