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Friday, May 24, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Still more on: Supreme Court suspends attorney for 3 years, without automatic reinstatement

Updating this ILB entry from May 20th, Tim Evans of the Indianapolis Star has a long story today headed "Indiana Supreme Court suspends attorney's law license for 3 years in harassment case."

Kudos to reporter Evans for a story that details just how damaging this harrassment was to the career of the young attorney who was the victim:

The bogus email was, in fact, the latest in an increasingly nasty string of letters, Internet postings and emails unleashed by former Bose partner Arthur “A.J.” Usher IV after the woman rebuffed his romantic advances.

Usher’s harassment and attempts to discredit the young attorney — The Indianapolis Star has chosen not to use her name — prompted the Indiana Supreme Court last week to suspend his law license for at least three years. Justice Steven David called for disbarment. * * *

Bose spokesman Roger Harvey said the law firm is committed to providing a safe workplace for employees.

“Our firm had complete confidence that the Indiana Supreme Court would resolve this matter appropriately,” he said, “and we are pleased the issue has concluded.”

After detailing the barrage of harassing actions unleashed by Usher against the young attorney, including:
Although Usher’s attempts to woo the young attorney had failed, his new efforts to harass and discredit her were more successful.

Those actions culminated on Nov. 28, 2008
. That’s when the “Bose knows ...” email containing the topless movie clip landed in the inboxes of about 50 attorneys at Bose and at least six other Indianapolis-area law firms.
the Star story concludes:
The email prompted the woman to file a police report. She also bought a gun and obtained a protective order against Usher. The damage, however, had been done.

The woman’s lawsuit claims at least one attorney at Bose believed she should be fired based on the content of the bogus email. Other attorneys who received the email, the lawsuit says, still believe she appeared topless in the video clip and acted in pornographic movies.

Usher had been on vacation when the email was sent. But when he returned, he was confronted with the woman’s protective order, the disciplinary records say. Krieg DeVault demanded Usher’s resignation. Since then, according to Usher’s LinkedIn profile, he has worked on his own. * * *

Usher had his law license suspended for violating rules of professional conduct, including being uncooperative and deceptive in his dealings with the commission and in the woman’s civil suit.

The young attorney told The Star she wants to move on with her life. She has put her acting career on hold and left Bose, saying the situation with Usher was “a big factor” in her departure.

“I’m just glad,” she said, “that the interest of justice was served.”

ILB: This is a very sad case as far as the young woman, who I am told is very bright and shows much promise, is concerned. And, as a reader writes:
I'm all about the presumption of innocence, but should lawyers be able to continue practicing [here for several years] when very serious allegations like these are pending (and presumably supported by a lot of evidence)? We put people in jail based on probable cause they have committed a crime. They lose their liberty. But we seem to give more process and rights to someone who has the privilege of a law license?

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 24, 2013 10:13 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions