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Iowa Supreme Court Board of Professional Ethics and Conduct v. Visser

Iowa Supreme Court
629 N.W.2d 376 (2001)


Facts

Kevin Visser (defendant) represented an insurance agency in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in a lawsuit filed by a former employee of the agency. The employee had objected to a potential joint venture with a Waterloo, Iowa, company and had subsequently been fired. A newspaper reporter for the Waterloo Courier contacted Visser for comment about the litigation. Visser faxed the reporter a letter containing detailed statements about the litigation. The Waterloo Courier published an article on the case the next day. The article was the only article published about the case. The trial was held in Cedar Rapids more than two years after the article was published. A witness for Visser stated that the Waterloo Courier was not readily available, if at all, in Cedar Rapids. The Iowa Supreme Court Board of Professional Ethics and Conduct (plaintiff) charged Visser with violating the Iowa Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers. The Grievance Commission found that Visser violated the rule prohibiting extrajudicial statements about pending litigation. Visser appealed, arguing that the rule against lawyers’ extrajudicial statements was unconstitutional.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Larson, J.)

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