Sunday, December 8, 2013

Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board v. Morrison case brief

Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board v. Morrison case brief summary
727 N.W.2d 115 (2007)


CASE SYNOPSIS
The Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board filed a complaint against the attorney, alleging he violated the Iowa Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers by engaging in a sexual relationship with a client.

CASE FACTS
The lawyer had a sexual relationship with a client he was representing in a dissolution proceeding. The attorney represented this client from October 2004 through February 2005. They had sex on several occasions from November 2004 through March 2005. The attorney did not have a personal relationship with this client prior to November 2004. In lieu of an evidentiary hearing before the Grievance Commission, the Board and the attorney agreed to submit the matter upon stipulation. The parties stipulated to the facts above. The attorney acknowledged his conduct was unethical.

DISCUSSION

  • The Board noted the attorney cooperated with its investigation. 
  • The attorney's conduct was a patent violation of Iowa Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers, and the behavior was prohibited by Iowa Code Prof. Resp. DR 5-101(B); however, the attorney's behavior did not appear to be particularly egregious in comparison to other previous cases. 
  • Nevertheless, at least the potential for harm existed and exists in any attorney-client representation. 
  • Moreover, the attorney had previously been admonished for making a sexual advance toward another client.

CONCLUSION
The attorney was suspended indefinitely from the practice of law with no possibility of reinstatement for at least three months.


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