Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Adams, No. 11–1627.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtAPPEL
Citation809 N.W.2d 543
PartiesIOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD, Complainant, v. Brandon ADAMS, Respondent.
Decision Date02 March 2012
Docket NumberNo. 11–1627.

809 N.W.2d 543

IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD, Complainant,
v.
Brandon ADAMS, Respondent.

No. 11–1627.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

March 2, 2012.


[809 N.W.2d 543]

Charles L. Harrington and Elizabeth E. Quinlan, Des Moines, for complainant.

Brandon Adams, Cedar Rapids, pro se.

APPEL, Justice.

In this disciplinary matter, the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board (Board) filed a complaint alleging, among other things, that an Iowa attorney misappropriated funds belonging to two clients. Although the attorney was served with the complaint, he did not respond at any time to the complaint or participate in subsequent proceedings. Because the attorney did not contest the factual allegations in the complaint, the Grievance Commission of the Supreme Court of Iowa (commission) deemed them to be admitted. Based on these admissions, and upon the record developed at a subsequent hearing, the commission found numerous ethical violations, including those arising from the misappropriation of client funds, and recommended revocation of the attorney's license.

[809 N.W.2d 544]

We agree with the commission that misappropriation of client funds for personal use has been established and that revocation is the appropriate sanction.

I. Factual and Procedural Background.

Attorney Brandon Adams has been before us previously. His disciplinary history was summarized in Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board v. Adams, 749 N.W.2d 666, 668 (Iowa 2008) and need not be repeated here. We suspended his license in 2008 for serious disciplinary infractions. He has not applied for reinstatement.

On June 13, 2011, the Board filed a two-count complaint alleging that Adams violated multiple rules of professional conduct in connection with his representation of Kerston Moore and William Muhammad. Both the Moore and Muhammad matters involved representation of clients in connection with personal injuries.

With respect to the Moore matter, the Board alleged that Adams settled the case against the tortfeasor and obtained a check from State Farm Insurance for $122,756.21. When the settlement funds were deposited in Adams' trust account, the Board asserted that Regions Bank debited $215.26 to cover a negative balance in the account from the previous month, an insufficient funds check, and an overdraft charge.

The Board alleged that Adams disbursed $47,500 from the settlement funds for his law office, apparently for attorneys' fees. He then paid $50,000 from the trust account to “Gaston and/or Linda Moore.” Medical providers related to the file were paid $20,000. The Board did not challenge these withdrawals. The Board claimed, however, that additional checks were drawn on the account for unrelated matters, including three for filing fees and a $1000 check to a Raymond Barber.

After settling with the tortfeasor, Adams obtained a settlement with the underinsured motorist carrier, GEICO, of $25,000. According to the Board, Adams had authority to use these funds to satisfy claims with remaining medical providers. The Board alleged, however, that Adams used the entire amount for his own purposes.

The Board further asserted that Adams did not provide an accounting to Moore, or anyone on Moore's behalf, showing distributions of either the State Farm or the GEICO proceeds.

With respect to the Muhammad matter, the Board alleged that Adams settled the case for $19,000 and deposited this amount in his trust account. The Board alleged that Adams disbursed $7102.50 to himself after paying Muhammad $6000. The Board asserted that Adams agreed to use the balance to satisfy medical providers, with any remaining balance...

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14 practice notes
  • Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Bieber, No. 12–1203.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 7, 2012
    ...not address other disciplinary violations to revoke an attorney's license. See, e.g., Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Adams, 809 N.W.2d 543, 546 (Iowa 2012); Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Earley, 774 N.W.2d 301, 309 (Iowa 2009). We do not diminish the seriousness of ......
  • Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Ouderkirk, No. 13–1124.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 28, 2014
    ...preponderance of the evidence, but less demanding than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Adams, 809 N.W.2d 543, 545 (Iowa 2012). We respectfully consider the commission's findings of fact and recommended sanction, but we are not bound by them. Iowa ......
  • Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Kozlik, No. 19-1934
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 22, 2020
    ...600 the license of an attorney who converted $630 without a colorable future claim); Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Adams , 809 N.W.2d 543, 546 (Iowa 2012) ; Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Wengert , 790 N.W.2d 94, 104 (Iowa 2010) ; Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary......
  • Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Powell, No. 12–1516.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 3, 2013
    ...his law office. We have previously characterized this conduct as conversion. See, e.g., Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Adams, 809 N.W.2d 543, 545–46 (Iowa 2012) (revoking the license of an attorney who had no colorable future claim to client funds taken on two occasions); Iowa S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Bieber, No. 12–1203.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 7, 2012
    ...not address other disciplinary violations to revoke an attorney's license. See, e.g., Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Adams, 809 N.W.2d 543, 546 (Iowa 2012); Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Earley, 774 N.W.2d 301, 309 (Iowa 2009). We do not diminish the seriousness of ......
  • Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Ouderkirk, No. 13–1124.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 28, 2014
    ...preponderance of the evidence, but less demanding than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Adams, 809 N.W.2d 543, 545 (Iowa 2012). We respectfully consider the commission's findings of fact and recommended sanction, but we are not bound by them. Iowa ......
  • Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Kozlik, No. 19-1934
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 22, 2020
    ...600 the license of an attorney who converted $630 without a colorable future claim); Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Adams , 809 N.W.2d 543, 546 (Iowa 2012) ; Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Wengert , 790 N.W.2d 94, 104 (Iowa 2010) ; Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary......
  • Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Powell, No. 12–1516.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 3, 2013
    ...his law office. We have previously characterized this conduct as conversion. See, e.g., Iowa Supreme Ct. Att'y Disciplinary Bd. v. Adams, 809 N.W.2d 543, 545–46 (Iowa 2012) (revoking the license of an attorney who had no colorable future claim to client funds taken on two occasions); Iowa S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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