Thursday, February 06, 2014
Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court disciplinary order re Scott Storms, former IURC attorney
In In the Matter of Scott STORMS, a 3-page 5-0 order filed Feb. 3 but posted today, sets out on the first 2 pages the details of former IURC attorney Scott Storms' communications with Duke Energy regarding employment, and continues in part:
On October 14, 2010, the state's Inspector General filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission, alleging that Respondent had violated conflict of interest rules by participating in IURC decisions involving Duke during the Relevant Period. The Ethics Commission issued its Final Report on May 12, 2011, in which it determined that Respondent had violated Ind. Code § 4-2-6-9, imposed a penalty of $12,120.00 (triple the amount that he obtained in increased salary during his employment at Duke), and banned Respondent from future employment with the State of Indiana. Respondent filed a Verified Petition for Judicial Review in the Marion Superior Court, which affirmed on January 25, 2012. * * *
[After listing mitigating factors, the court continues] The Court also notes that Respondent has already suffered considerable penalties for his misconduct, including a fine of over $12,000 and banishment from any future state employment.
Under the American Bar Association's Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions (as amended in 1992), the "imposition of other penalties or sanctions" may be considered a factor in mitigation. See Standard 9.32(k).
Violation: The parties agree that Respondent violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.11(d), which states: "Except as law may otherwise expressly permit, a lawyer currently serving as a public officer or employee . . . shall not . . . negotiate for private employment with any person who is involved as a party or as lawyer for a party in a matter in which the lawyer is participating personally and substantially . . . . "
Discipline: The parties propose the appropriate discipline is a public reprimand. The discipline imposed might have been more severe had this matter been submitted without the Commission's agreement to the proposed discipline. However, in light of the substantial mitigating factors in this case and the Commission's assessment that the proposed discipline is sufficient under the circumstances of this case, the Court now approves the agreed discipline and imposes a public reprimand for Respondent's misconduct.
The costs of this proceeding are assessed against Respondent.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 6, 2014 11:25 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions