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In re Mountain

Kansas Supreme Court
239 Kan. 412, 721 P.2d 264 (1986)


Mr. and Mrs. Mosier contacted attorney R. Keith Mountain (defendant) for assistance with adopting a baby from Angela Searles. Mountain charged the Mosiers $500, half of which was paid in advance. Mountain then contacted Searles and her grandmother to facilitate the adoption, assuring Searles that he was also representing her in the adoption. After Searles decided that the Mosiers were not sufficiently wealthy to adopt the baby, Mountain proposed other couples, telling Searles that if she chose an alternative couple, she could receive $5,000 in payment. Thereafter, Mountain told the Mosiers that medical tests had indicated that the fetus had abnormalities and convinced the Mosiers that they should not go forward with the adoption. At that point, Mountain had already arranged for the adoption by a second couple, who paid Mountain $17,000. Thereafter, Searles gave birth to a normal baby girl. Mountain paid Searles $5,000, but it is unclear what happened to the remainder of the $17,000 payment. The Mosiers, suspicious of Mountain’s actions, hired an attorney to investigate. Mountain then refunded the Mosiers the $250 advance payment, and gave numerous inconsistent accounts of the events that transpired. Searles’s treating gynecologist maintained that the fetal medical tests conducted were always normal, and that he had never discussed results with Mountain. Arno Windsheffel (plaintiff), a disciplinary administrator, filed a complaint against Mountain alleging violation of the Lawyers Code of Professional Responsibility. After a hearing, a disciplinary panel concluded that Mountain: (1) violated conflict of interest rules by representing both adopting couples, (2) lied to the Mosiers about the fetal abnormalities, (3) breached his agreement to represent the Mosiers, (4) violated the law by serving as a procurer of a baby for adoption, (5) falsely represented his role in the adoption process to the Mosiers’ new attorney, and (6) charged the second couple an excessive fee. The panel recommended that Mountain be disbarred. Mountain appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

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