Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,300+ case briefs...

Kentucky Bar Association v. Helmers

Supreme Court of Kentucky
353 S.W.3d 599 (2011)


Facts

David Helmers (defendant) was a young attorney employed by a law firm that represented plaintiffs in a class action suit against a pharmaceutical company. The circuit court ordered the parties to mediate, and a $200,000,000 settlement agreement was awarded to the plaintiffs. The settlement was contingent on the decertification of the class and on the plaintiffs signing a release. Helmers’s supervising attorney instructed him to prepare a payout schedule for each plaintiff and to meet with those clients to present the settlement award and obtain their releases. Helmers meet with and obtained the release from 39 clients. However, at his employer’s direction, Helmers intentionally withheld critical information from these clients about the nature of the settlement, including the offer’s financial details, the decertification of the class action, how many cases were being settled, and the withholding of funds to indemnify the defendant against other claims. In addition to withholding information, Helmers’s employer instructed him to offer the clients amounts substantially less than what they had been originally assigned in the allocation, to tell them they would be heavily penalized if they spoke to other plaintiffs, and to ask them to approve donating unawarded settlement money to a charity that the firm’s supervising attorneys controlled. Consequently, the majority of the attorneys with whom Helmers worked were eventually disbarred. The Kentucky Bar Association Inquiry Commission (plaintiff) investigated Helmers’s participation in the scheme, which led to a complaint being filed against Helmers that charged him with eight ethics violations. The trial commissioner found Helmers guilty of six of the eight charges, noted that he was a subordinate to those attorneys who had directed the scheme, and recommended that he be suspended from practicing law for five years. The Board of Governors of the Kentucky Bar Association decided to consider the matter de novo, found that Helmers was guilty of the same six counts, and recommended to the Supreme Court of Kentucky that he be permanently disbarred.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Minton, C.J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 366,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,300 briefs, keyed to 223 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.