Law School Case Brief
Ky. Bar Ass'n v. Helmers - 353 S.W.3d 599 (Ky. 2011)
It takes no technical expertise or experience in the settling of class action lawsuits, or any sophisticated understanding of the rules of ethics to know that Respondent's course of conduct, personally and directly deceiving his clients, some of whom had been egregiously injured, was wrong.
When presenting a settlement in a class action, David L. Helmers did not tell the clients all of the information relating to their claims. Because of the actions taken in the case, most of the lawyers that worked on this case were disbarred. Helmers was charged with several ethical violations, and a permanent disbarment was recommended.
Is disbarment appropriate in this case?
In adopting the recommendation, the supreme court determined that, even though the attorney here might have been led astray by more seasoned lawyers, it took no technical expertise or experience in the settling of class action lawsuits, or any sophisticated understanding of the rules of ethics, to know that the attorney's course of conduct, which involved personally and directly deceiving clients, was wrong. That the attorney engaged in these activities at the direction of his employer did not permit the supreme court to overlook the serious deficiency in character revealed by the facts of this case. A disbarment was appropriate for the violations of Ky. Sup. Ct. R. 3.130-1.4(b), Ky. Sup. Ct. R. 3.130-1.8(g), Ky. Sup. Ct. R. 3.130-2.1, Ky. Sup. Ct. R. 3.130-5.2(a), Ky. Sup. Ct. R. 3.130-8.3(a), and Ky. Sup. Ct. R. 3.130-8.3(c).
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