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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues one disciplinary opinion today

In In the Matter of: Anonymous, a 4-0, 5-0, per curiam attorney disciplinary action, the Court writes:

The Court approves the [submitted “Statement of Circumstances and Conditional Agreement for Discipline”] and finds that Respondent engaged in attorney misconduct by communicating ex parte with a judge without authorization to do so. For this misconduct, we find that Respondent should receive a private reprimand. * * *

The question of authority in this case hinges upon Trial Rule 65(B), which governs the type of emergency judicial relief sought by Respondent on the grandparents’ behalf. See Matter of Anonymous, 729 N.E.2d 566, 568 (Ind. 2000). That rule provides that a temporary restraining order may be granted without notice to the adverse party only if, among other things, “the applicant’s attorney certifies to the court in writing the efforts, if any, which have been made to give notice and the reasons supporting [her] claim that notice should not be required.” Ind. Trial Rule 65(B)(2). An attorney’s failure to comply with this rule renders the subject proceeding an unauthorized ex parte communication prohibited under Professional Conduct Rule 3.5(b). * * *

In sum, while Respondent’s intentions regarding the welfare of her clients’ grandchild may have been good, they did not justify dispensing with the mandatory procedures designed to protect the rights of other parties with legal interests at stake in the proceeding. See Anonymous, 729 N.E.2d at 569. For Respondent’s misconduct in this case, we agree with the parties that a private reprimand is warranted. * * *

The costs of this proceeding are assessed against Respondent.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 15, 2015 12:44 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions