Supreme Court of Indiana
725 N.E.2d 397 (Ind. 2000)
A couple hired Donna Hagedorn (defendant), an attorney, to represent the couple in their pursuit of a private adoption. Hagedorn knew of a pregnant woman who wished to give her child up for adoption. When the child was born, Hagedorn obtained a court order releasing the child into the care of the couple. Before the child was released, Hagedorn did not inform the couple that a pre-placement evaluation and post-placement supervision were necessary for the adoption. Additionally, Hagedorn did not file a petition for adoption until the child was two years old. However, when the child was approximately 17 months old, Hagedorn told the couple that the biological mother’s parental rights had been terminated. In fact, Hagedorn had no reason to believe that such termination had occurred. Additionally, Hagedorn told the couple that the finalization of the adoption was being delayed because the court lost a home study that had previously been conducted in the couple’s home. This was not true. When the child was approximately 27 months old, the couple fired Hagedorn as their attorney. The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission brought a disciplinary action against Hagedorn.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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