In the Matter of: Justin R. Wall, Respondent.
Discipline Action Hearing Officer Robert C. Reiling, Jr.
ATTORNEY FOR RESPONDENT Donald R. Lundberg Indianapolis,
ATTORNEYS FOR THE INDIANA SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINARY
COMMISSION G. Michael Witte, Executive Director Angie Ordway,
Staff Attorney Indianapolis, Indiana
that Respondent, Justin Wall, engaged in attorney misconduct
arising from his relationship with a Florida corporation. For
this misconduct, we conclude that Respondent should be
suspended for 30 days with automatic reinstatement.
matter is before the Court on the report of the hearing
officer appointed by this Court to hear evidence on the
Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission's
"Verified Complaint for Disciplinary Action, " and
on the post-hearing briefing by the parties. Respondent's
2008 admission to this state's bar subjects him to this
Court's disciplinary jurisdiction. See Ind.
Const. art. 7, § 4.
Background and Facts
Commission filed a "Verified Complaint for Disciplinary
Action" against Respondent on September 28, 2015,
alleging numerous rule violations arising out of
Respondent's relationship with McCann Law Group, d/b/a
Consumer Attorney Services, P.A. ("CAS"), a Florida
corporation that purported to offer clients services relating
to bankruptcy, mortgage modification, and foreclosure
advertised its services to consumers in Florida and
elsewhere, including Indiana, and solicited local counsel in
states other than Florida. Under the terms of CAS's
contractual arrangements with clients and local counsel, most
client work was handled by central staff (including lawyers
and nonlawyer assistants) in Florida, with local
counsel's involvement generally limited to aspects of the
case requiring a local attorney's services. In a typical
case, prospective clients would discuss their options with a
CAS intake paralegal and then enter into a representation
agreement with CAS. CAS typically charged clients an upfront
"nonrefundable" fee and, in many instances, ongoing
Respondent signed agreements with CAS, first as an
"associate" and later as a "partner, "
under which Respondent would provide discrete services to
CAS's Indiana bankruptcy and foreclosure defense clients.
CAS entered into similar agreements with other Indiana
attorneys as well. Respondent received fixed sums for select
services, sums that represented only a small fraction of the
total fee charged to clients by CAS. As a "partner,
" Respondent also received $25 for every case assigned
to other CAS-associated attorneys in Indiana as well as
minimum wage for 10-20 hours per week as "partner
role in these cases generally was as follows. A CAS paralegal
would assign a case to Respondent after the client had signed
a representation agreement with CAS. Respondent then would
perform a "welcome call" to the client and explain
that he would be the "boots in the trenches" for
CAS, assisting the client either through mortgage
modification services or foreclosure defense. In most
instances though, Respondent's sole objective was to get
the mortgagee to agree to a modification. CAS's business
model contemplated that most document preparation and client
communication would be performed by CAS staff in Florida.
However, Respondent testified he reviewed all pleadings and
made changes where warranted before signing and filing them,
and he testified he made himself available to clients above
and beyond the "welcome call" CAS paid him to make.
a hearing, the hearing officer issued a report finding
against Respondent on some charges, against the Commission on
other charges, and leaving still other charges unaddressed.
Both Respondent and the Commission have petitioned for
examined CAS's business model and arrangements with
Indiana attorneys twice before. In Consumer Attorney
Services, P.A. v. State, 71 N.E.3d 362 (Ind. 2017), we
affirmed the denial of summary judgment for CAS and its
principal member in a suit brought by our Attorney General,
holding neither defendant was exempt from civil liability
under various consumer protection statutes. In Matter of
Jackson, 24 N.E.3d 419 (Ind. 2015), we approved agreed
discipline for another CAS-associated Indiana attorney. The
present case comes to us in a different posture than either
of those cases though, and we confine our analysis today to
the specific issues, evidence, and arguments now before us.
Commission carries the burden of proof to demonstrate
attorney misconduct by clear and convincing evidence.
See Ind. Admission and Discipline Rule 23(14)(i)
(2016). We review de novo all matters presented to
the Court, including review not only of the hearing
officer's report but also of the entire record. See
Matter of Thomas, 30 N.E.3d 704, 708 (Ind. 2015). The
hearing officer's findings receive emphasis due to the
unique opportunity for direct observation of witnesses, but
this Court reserves the right to make the ultimate
these considerations in mind, we explore the various Indiana
Rules of Professional Conduct alleged to have been violated
by Respondent as well as the ...