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Committee on Professional Ethics and Conduct of the Iowa State Bar Association v. Miller

412 N.W.2d 622 (1987)

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Committee on Professional Ethics and Conduct of the Iowa State Bar Association v. Miller

Iowa Supreme Court

412 N.W.2d 622 (1987)

Facts

Attorney Carl Miller (defendant) did not know how to handle a probate matter or close an estate. Despite this lack of knowledge, Miller agreed to handle two estate matters. However, because of his lack of competence in this area of law, Miller missed many deadlines and did not work to cure problems that arose in one of the estates. The executor of that estate filed a complaint with the state bar (plaintiff). Three times, the state bar sent Miller notices of the complaint and asked for a response. Miller ignored all three requests. Finally, Miller was called to a hearing before a grievance commission of the court. At that hearing, Miller admitted that he had no idea how to close the estate whose executor had filed the grievance. By that time, the estate matter had been pending for six years and was still incomplete. Miller also admitted that he had received the three notices from the state bar and had not responded to any of them. Miller noted that he was an alcoholic who had been sober for only nine months at the time of the hearing. However, Miller contended that his alcoholism had not caused any problems. Miller testified that he just did not know what to do on estate matters. The grievance commission recommended suspending Miller’s license to practice law for a minimum of three months.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Larson, J.)

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