SUP. CT. BD. OF PROF. ETHICS v. Lemanski, No. 99-1768.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtMcGIVERIN, Chief Justice.
Citation606 N.W.2d 11
Decision Date16 February 2000
Docket NumberNo. 99-1768.
PartiesIOWA SUPREME COURT BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS & CONDUCT, Complainant, v. David LEMANSKI, Respondent.

606 N.W.2d 11

IOWA SUPREME COURT BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS & CONDUCT, Complainant,
v.
David LEMANSKI, Respondent

No. 99-1768.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

February 16, 2000.


David J. Grace, Des Moines, for complainant.

606 N.W.2d 12
David A. Lemanski, pro se, Dubuque, for respondent

Considered en banc.

McGIVERIN, Chief Justice.

The Iowa Supreme Court Board of Professional Ethics and Conduct (Board) filed a complaint against respondent, David A. Lemanski, alleging that he had violated several provisions of the Iowa Code of Professional Responsibility by neglecting a legal matter entrusted to him, by failing to disburse and account for client funds held in his possession, and by failing to respond to inquiries from the Board. A division of our Grievance Commission found that the Board had proved the alleged ethical violations and recommended that Lemanski be suspended from the practice of law for thirty days.

We agree with the Commission's findings and conclude that respondent Lemanski should be suspended from the practice of law for one month.

I. Background facts and proceedings.

David A. Lemanski is admitted to the practice of law in Iowa. He is a solo practitioner and maintains a law office in Dubuque. This present disciplinary proceeding arose out of Lemanski's conduct in connection with a workers' compensation case.

A. Neglect of client's legal matter.

In January 1991, Lemanski filed a petition with the industrial commissioner, seeking workers' compensation benefits on behalf of Michael Driscoll. Driscoll was employed at Metz Bakery. Driscoll complained that he inhaled carbon monoxide or other gases on several occasions during work, causing him to have respiratory and other medical problems. As a result, Driscoll incurred medical expenses.

At a hearing on March 12, 1992 concerning Driscoll's request for benefits, the deputy industrial commissioner excluded Driscoll's witnesses and exhibits because respondent Lemanski was late in complying with the hearing assignment order, which required that witness and exhibit lists be served on the opposing party fifteen days prior to the date of the hearing. As a result, all witnesses who might testify as to the working conditions and evidence concerning Driscoll's medical bills were excluded from testifying. Driscoll testified on his own behalf as to his medical complaints and working conditions.

The deputy industrial commissioner concluded Driscoll was not entitled to benefits. Upon appeal, the industrial commissioner affirmed the deputy's decision. After a petition for judicial review, the district court, on July 31, 1995, reversed the agency's decision and remanded the case with instructions that the industrial commissioner award benefits for medical expenses and temporary total disability for Driscoll.

B. Failure to disburse settlement funds to client.

In May 1997, Lemanski received a $1,894.62 settlement check from Driscoll's employer concerning his claim. There was no itemization of whether the check covered medical expenses. Lemanski sent the check to Driscoll for his endorsement. The endorsed check was then returned to Lemanski who deposited the money into his client trust account. Despite numerous requests by Driscoll, Lemanski failed for one year to disburse any settlement funds to Driscoll and also failed to render an accounting of those funds to his client.

C. Failure to cooperate with the Board.

Thereafter, in 1997 Driscoll filed a complaint against Lemanski with the Ethics Committee of the Dubuque County Bar Association. Lemanski, however, did not reply to the notice of complaint or respond to the local ethics committee's inquiries.

Driscoll then filed a complaint against Lemanski with our Ethics Board in 1998.

606 N.W.2d 13
The Ethics Board sent Lemanski two notices that a complaint had been filed against him, but Lemanski made no reply. It was not until May 1998, after Lemanski received notice that the matter would be referred by the Ethics Board to the Grievance Commission, that Lemanski made a substantive reply to the complaint. Lemanski sent Driscoll a copy of his response, enclosing a check for $1,894.62, representing the amount he had been holding in his trust account since May 1997. After the Board filed its...

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23 practice notes
  • BD. OF PROF. ETHICS & CONDUCT v. Ruth, No. 02-1209.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 18, 2002
    ...an accounting, but he failed to distribute funds in a timely fashion. See Iowa Supreme Ct. Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Lemanski, 606 N.W.2d 11, 12-13 (Iowa 2000) (one-year delay in disbursing settlement funds to client and failure to render those funds resulted in violation of DR 9-10......
  • Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Parrish, No. 11–0326.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • August 5, 2011
    ...history of an attorney is a factor we must consider in imposing discipline. Iowa Supreme Ct. Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Lemanski, 606 N.W.2d 11, 14 (Iowa 2000). Since that decision, this court has repeatedly considered prior admonitions as aggravating circumstances that relate direct......
  • Iowa S. Ct. Atty. Disc. Bd. v. Johnson, No. 09-0765.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 23, 2009
    ...prior case law makes such a private admonition an aggravating circumstance. Iowa Supreme Ct. Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Lemanski, 606 N.W.2d 11, 14 (Iowa Based upon these facts and considering similar prior cases, we conclude a six-month suspension, rather than the nine-month suspens......
  • IOWA SUPREME COURT BD. OF PROF. v. Herrera, No. 01-0016.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 25, 2001
    ...of the bar as a whole, and the [violator's] fitness to practice law." Iowa Supreme Ct. Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Lemanski, 606 N.W.2d 11, 14 (Iowa It is apparent that Herrera approaches the practice of law fast and loose. This is not only revealed by the circumstances of this case, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • BD. OF PROF. ETHICS & CONDUCT v. Ruth, No. 02-1209.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 18, 2002
    ...an accounting, but he failed to distribute funds in a timely fashion. See Iowa Supreme Ct. Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Lemanski, 606 N.W.2d 11, 12-13 (Iowa 2000) (one-year delay in disbursing settlement funds to client and failure to render those funds resulted in violation of DR 9-10......
  • Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Parrish, No. 11–0326.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • August 5, 2011
    ...history of an attorney is a factor we must consider in imposing discipline. Iowa Supreme Ct. Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Lemanski, 606 N.W.2d 11, 14 (Iowa 2000). Since that decision, this court has repeatedly considered prior admonitions as aggravating circumstances that relate direct......
  • Iowa S. Ct. Atty. Disc. Bd. v. Johnson, No. 09-0765.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 23, 2009
    ...prior case law makes such a private admonition an aggravating circumstance. Iowa Supreme Ct. Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Lemanski, 606 N.W.2d 11, 14 (Iowa Based upon these facts and considering similar prior cases, we conclude a six-month suspension, rather than the nine-month suspens......
  • IOWA SUPREME COURT BD. OF PROF. v. Herrera, No. 01-0016.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 25, 2001
    ...of the bar as a whole, and the [violator's] fitness to practice law." Iowa Supreme Ct. Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Lemanski, 606 N.W.2d 11, 14 (Iowa It is apparent that Herrera approaches the practice of law fast and loose. This is not only revealed by the circumstances of this case, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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