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Attorneys : Discipline – Illegally Obtained Evidence

Where an attorney used information illegally obtained by his client in a dissolution in pretrial settlement negotiations and threatened the opposing attorney during the litigation, the attorney violated Rules 4-4.4(a), 4-8.4(c), 4-3.4(a) and 4-8.4(d), and the court orders indefinite suspension with no leave to apply for reinstatement for at least six months.

 

Aggravating factors

Dissenting opinion by Fischer, J.: “In my view, Eisenstein should be suspended indefinitely with no leave to apply for reinstatement for 12 months, rather than 6 months

Despite purporting to consider aggravating and mitigating factors, and further finding there are no mitigating factors in this case but only aggravating factors, the principal opinion still concludes the baseline discipline is appropriate. This creates a noticeable disconnect between the principal opinion’s purported process and its ultimate conclusion. While there are no mitigating factors in this case, there are indeed numerous aggravating factors present that justify an upward deviation from the baseline discipline, including: (1) prior disciplinary offenses; (2) a dishonest or selfish motive; (3) a pattern of misconduct; (4) multiple offenses; (5) refusal to acknowledge the wrongful nature of his conduct; and (6) substantial experience in the practice of law.”

 

Bar member solicitations

Dissenting opinion by Wilson, J.: “I agree with the discipline recommended by the disciplinary hearing panel (“DHP”) for the reasons expressed in Judge Fischer’s dissenting opinion. I write separately, however, to address the mistaken impression that it is appropriate for Respondent to solicit communications from members of the bar and judiciary for the purpose of influencing the Court’s resolution of this matter.”

Indefinite suspension ordered

In Re: Joel B. Eisenstein (MLW No. 69006/Case No. SC95331 – 16 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Teitelman, J. : Breckenridge, C.J., Stith, Draper and Russell, JJ., concur; Fischer, J., dissents in separate opinion filed; Wilson, J., concurs in opinion of Fischer, J.; Wilson, J., dissents in separate opinion  filed; Fischer, J., concurs in opinion of Wilson, J.) Original disciplinary proceeding (Alan D. Pratzel and Sam S. Phillips, Jefferson City, and Marc A. Lapp, St. Louis, for OCDC) (Alan S. Mandel, St. Louis, for respondent).

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