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Friday, September 03, 2010

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues one disciplinary opinion today

In the Matter of Anonymous is a 5-page, per curiam opinion. Some quotes:

The Court approves the agreement and finds that Respondent engaged in attorney misconduct by assisting in the unauthorized practice of law in this state. For this misconduct, we find that Respondent should receive a private reprimand. * * *

A Kentucky resident who was injured in a fall at a restaurant in Indiana sought legal assistance from a Kentucky lawyer, John Redelberger. Respondent agreed to serve as local Indiana counsel. Redelberger did not seek temporary admission to practice law in Indiana. Nevertheless, Redelberger and Respondent signed and filed an appearance for the client in an action filed in an Indiana trial court. Without Respondent, Redelberger signed and served answers to interrogatories and took depositions of witnesses in Indiana. After Redelberger appeared in court for the client, the judge informed Respondent that Redelberger was not admitted to practice in Indiana. Respondent told Redelberger that he must seek temporary admission and sent him a copy of the applicable rule. Neither Respondent nor Redelberger, however, followed through in obtaining temporary admission for Redelberger. * * *

The participation of Indiana co-counsel in the temporary admission process is of vital importance to this Court's ability to supervise out-of-state attorneys practicing in this state. This is no minor or perfunctory duty. Not all attorneys seeking temporary admission will be granted the privilege of practicing in Indiana. See Matter of Fieger, 887 N.E.2d 87 (Ind. 2008) (two-year bar on applying for temporary admission imposed for misrepresentations in petition for temporary admission). * * *

The failure of out-of-state attorneys and their Indiana co-counsel to comply with the rule governing temporary admission is neither trivial nor rare. Thus far in 2010, the Clerk has issued over 600 notices of automatic exclusion from practice, and this Court has entered orders granting relief from automatic exclusion to over 140 out-of-state attorneys. The need for this would be nearly eliminated if all Indiana co-counsel complied with their ethical duty to ensure that attorneys granted temporary admission in Indiana comply with Admission and Discipline Rule 3(2).

The Court will approve the parties' suggestion that Respondent receive a private reprimand under the circumstances of this case. However, Indiana attorneys serving as local counsel for out-of-state attorneys are hereby advised of the importance of their duty to ensure complete and timely compliance with all the requirements of Admission and Discipline Rule 3(2). Indiana attorneys who neglect that duty in future cases may be subject to more stringent discipline, and out-of-state attorneys who fail to comply with this rule may be sanctioned for the unauthorized practice of law in this state.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 3, 2010 11:07 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions