Legal Ethics

Kansas Attorney Who Threatened Elderly Clients Gets Suspended

Feb. 22, 2019, 10:53 PM

A Kansas attorney who threatened an elderly couple to get extra legal fees is suspended indefinitely from practicing law in the state, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled.

Linda S. Dickens told her clients she would change her statements to the government about their taxes. The threat came in her bid to get the couple to pay attorney fees that she wasn’t entitled to, according to a disciplinary panel.

She may ask for reinstatement of her license after three years, the court said.

Dickens didn’t contest the allegations against her or the panel’s conclusions that she violated multiple rules of professional conduct, the supreme court said.

The allegations arose out of Dickens’s representation of a couple identified as D.N., a retired attorney, and G.N. in litigation against investment advisers and in tax matters.

Dickens turned against them after she lost money pursuing the suit against the investment advisers. One adviser was judgment-proof, and one obtained summary judgment on statute-of-limitations grounds because of new testimony by G.N.

“The respondent threatened to sue her clients, the respondent threatened to withdraw statements the respondent made to the IRS, and the respondent threatened to suggest to G.N. and D.N.'s accountant that she withdraw her signatures on their tax returns,” the hearing panel found.

The panel recommended probation, but the high court didn’t agree “that the mitigating circumstances render the respondent’s egregious conduct toward her elderly clients amenable to probation.”

Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer LLP represented Dickens, who also appeared pro se.

The case is In re Dickens, Kan., No. 119,198, 2/22/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martina Barash in Washington at mbarash@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

To read more articles log in. To learn more about a subscription click here.