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In re Charges of Unprofessional Conduct in Panel File No. 41310

Supreme Court of Minnesota

August 2, 2017

In re Charges of Unprofessional Conduct in Panel File No. 41310.

         Original Jurisdiction Office of Appellate Courts

          William R. Sieben, James S. Ballentine, Schwebel Goetz & Sieben, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Charles E. Lundberg, Lundberg Legal Ethics, P.A., Roseville, Minnesota, for appellant.

          Susan M. Humiston, Director, Megan Engelhardt, Senior Assistant Director, Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for respondent.

         SYLLABUS

         1. A panel of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board did not clearly err by finding that appellant violated Minn. R. Prof. Conduct 1.9(c)(2) by disclosing confidential information relating to the representation of a former client.

         2. In this case, a private admonition is the appropriate disposition for an attorney who disclosed confidential information relating to the representation of a former client.

         3. When an individual board member reviews a private admonition imposed on an attorney by the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, the board member adequately explains the member's decision, in compliance with Rule 8(e), Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility, when the decision incorporates by reference an explanation set forth in a District Ethics Committee report.

         4. The Panel's statement of the facts and its conclusions complied with Rule 9, Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

         Private admonition affirmed.

         Considered and decided by the court without oral argument.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         In this case, appellant, a Minnesota attorney, contests a private admonition issued by a panel of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board (Panel) for disclosing confidential communications with a former client, in violation of Minn. R. Prof. Conduct 1.9(c)(2). Appellant contends that he did not disclose confidential communications with a former client and that the decisions of an individual board member of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and the Panel were inadequately explained, in violation of Rule 8(e), Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility (RLPR). We conclude that the Panel's finding that appellant disclosed confidential communications with a former client, in violation of Minn. R. Prof. Conduct 1.9(c)(2), was not clearly erroneous and that the appropriate disposition for this misconduct is a private admonition. We further conclude that the decisions of both the individual board member and the Panel were adequately explained. We therefore affirm the private admonition.

         FACTS

         Appellant was admitted to the practice of law in Minnesota on October 31, 2008. This attorney-discipline matter arises out of appellant's representation of a client who had been injured in a motor vehicle accident and brought a claim for damages against an insurance company. Appellant's representation was limited to seeking a settlement against the insurance company, and appellant consistently informed his client that he would not pursue litigation. On March 11, 2015, appellant sent a ...


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