Project #79718 - Forum

post must be at least 500 words, references must be in bluebook format.

 

Substantiating the truthfulness of facts is a responsibility of

an attorney. When an attorney knowingly misrepresents

facts to a court, a violation of the rules of professional responsibility occurs. Such was the case in Nebraska when an

attorney decided to represent his brother in his divorce. In

State Ex. Rel. Bar Association v. Zakrzewski, 560 N.W.2d

150 (Neb. 1997), an attorney fi led an affidavit that contained

false claims about the attorney representing his sister-in-law.

The issue centered on child abuse allegations of the wife/

mother of a child (his nephew), which the attorney stated

in his affidavit she was directed to fi le by her attorney.

Because of this directive, the parties were trying to “vilify”

and “interfere” with his brother’s rights of visitation. Id. at 153.

The plain facts were that his sister-in-law’s attorney never

directed her to do anything claimed. In fact, the facts established

the opposite conclusion.

 

The court’s investigation showed that the attorney possessed

no knowledge to support his assertions in the affi -

davit and conducted no investigation to substantiate his

claims. Id. at 155. Because the attorney’s actions were maliciously motivated, and his behavior toward the disciplinary

committee investigating the allegations was unprofessional,

the court ordered suspension for eighteen months. The

court believed the conduct so serious that in its reasoning it

opined that “[t]he making of false statements by an attorney

obviously reflects negatively on both that attorney’s

ability to practice law and the reputation of the entire bar in

general. Such a practice must be deterred by this court.” Id.

at 156. Review the case. Which rule of professional responsibility did the court cite? What are the facts that led to the suspension of the attorney? What is the court’s reasoning in the case?

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