Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sanctions for failing to tell opposing party that client had died

Two days ago, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided a case similar to Virzi v Grand Trunk, a case assigned for our next class. In the Minnesota case, In re Lyons, the Court imposed an indefinite suspension with no right to apply for reinstatement for at least 12 months because the attorney failed to advise opposing counsel that his client had died prior to reaching a settlement of the client's claim. The case is different than Virzi, however, in that the attorney forgot a basic "rule." When you make a mistake, don't lie about it.

The attorney revealed the client's death to the opposing party after the settlement agreement was signed and executed by the client's wife as personal representative of the estate. Yet, after the bar complaint was filed, the attorney falsely responded about when he learned of the client's death. It also did not help the attorney's case that he had racked up seven prior sanctions since 1994.

Thanks to the Legal Profession blog for the information.

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