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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court suspends attorney in billing dispute

In In re Octavia E. Snulligan, a 3-page order, the Court rules:

Violation: The Commission charged Respondent with violating these Indiana Professional Conduct Rules prohibiting the following misconduct:
1.5(a): Collecting an unreasonable fee.
1.16(d): Failure to refund an unearned fee upon termination of representation.

There are no findings that support a conclusion that Respondent's $12,000 total fee or her collection of $6,000 of that fee before she was terminated would have been unreasonable if Respondent had been permitted to complete the representation. The findings, however, support a conclusion that Respondent violated Rule 1.16(d) by failing to refund the unearned part of the $6,000 after she was terminated, which we find to be $5,000 based on the hearing officer's findings.

Discipline: For Respondent's professional misconduct, the Court suspends Respondent from the practice of law in this state for a period of not less than 30 days, without automatic reinstatement, effective the date of this order. Respondent is already under a suspension for noncooperation with the Commission under Cause No. 49S00-1301-DI-55.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 16, 2013 10:46 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions