In the Matter of Kirmille D. Lewis, Respondent.
Attorney Discipline Action Hearing Officer Lloyd H. Milliken,
APPEARANCE FOR THE RESPONDENT
ATTORNEYS FOR INDIANA SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION
G. Michael Witte, Executive Director Seth T. Pruden, Staff
that Respondent, Kirmille Lewis, committed attorney
misconduct by, among other things, converting client funds,
neglecting clients' cases, and engaging in a pattern of
dishonesty. For this misconduct, we conclude that Respondent
should be disbarred.
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 Disciplinary Complaint." Respondent's
2009 admission to this state's bar subjects her to this
Court's disciplinary jurisdiction. See IND.
CONST. art. 7, § 4.
Background and Facts
Commission filed a six-count disciplinary complaint on June
12, 2018, and we appointed a hearing officer. After
unsuccessful attempts to serve Respondent by certified mail
at her business address and two other addresses associated
with Respondent, constructive service was made upon the Clerk
as Respondent's agent pursuant to Admission and
Discipline Rule 23(23.1)(c). Respondent has not appeared or
responded in these proceedings. Accordingly, the Commission
filed a "Motion for Judgment on the Complaint," and
the hearing officer took the facts alleged in the
disciplinary complaint as true.
petition for review of the hearing officer's report has
been filed. When neither party challenges the findings of the
hearing officer, "we accept and adopt those findings but
reserve final judgment as to misconduct and sanction."
Matter of Levy, 726 N.E.2d 1257, 1258 (Ind. 2000).
represented "Client 1" in bankruptcy proceedings.
Client 1's case eventually was dismissed due to failure
to make plan payments. Respondent had withdrawn the necessary
funds from Client 1's account, but rather than forwarding
those funds to the bankruptcy trustee, Respondent instead
used the funds for her own personal benefit or for the
benefit of other clients. Respondent failed to provide a
court-ordered accounting. Respondent issued a personal check
to the court to cover the funds she had converted from Client
1, but that check was rejected for insufficient funds. When
Respondent failed to appear for a subsequent hearing, the
U.S. Marshal's office seized Respondent and brought her
to court. Respondent provided conflicting statements to the
court regarding the whereabouts of Client 1's funds and
falsely told the court that she could not reach Client 1 and
that Client 1 had failed to provide her with the trustee
represented "Client 2" in bankruptcy proceedings.
Client 2's home had been sold at a tax sale for
non-payment of real estate taxes. The bankruptcy was filed
during the redemption period and the plan required Client 2
to make payments to the trustee to cover the cost of real
estate taxes. Respondent inaccurately told Client 2 that she
did not need to begin making those payments until ordered to
do so by the court, which resulted in Client 2's plan
payments being in default from the outset of the case.
Respondent also failed to prepare a new wage assignment after
Client 2 notified her that Client 2 had changed jobs. Client
2's case soon was pending dismissal due to the default on
plan payments. Respondent filed a motion to modify the plan
but failed to appear at a hearing scheduled on the motion.
The court rescheduled the hearing, but Respondent then
withdrew the modification motion and the bankruptcy case was
dismissed. Respondent later falsely told Client 2 the case
was still pending and demanded an additional attorney fee. By
the time Client 2 learned of the dismissal, the redemption
period had expired and Client 2 no longer could save her
house through the bankruptcy plan.