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In re Miller
Supreme Court of Montana
August 1, 2013
IN THE MATTER OF LORI B. MILLER, An Attorney at Law, Respondent
ODC File No. 12-295
Shaun R. Thompson Chief Disciplinary Counsel
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana ("ODC") hereby charges Lori B. Miller with professional misconduct as follows:
1. Lori B. Miller, hereinafter referred to as Respondent, was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Montana in 2000, at which time she took the oath required for admission, wherein she agreed to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Disciplinary Rules adopted by the Supreme Court, and the highest standards of honesty, justice and morality, including, but not limited to, those outlined in parts 3 and 4 of Chapter 61, Title 37, Montana Code Annotated.
2. The Montana Supreme Court has approved and adopted the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC"), governing the ethical conduct of attorneys licensed to practice in the State of Montana, which Rules were in effect at all times mentioned in this Complaint.
3. At all times pertinent hereto, Respondent was a member of Morrison & Frampton, PLLP, a Whitefish, Montana, law firm. At all times pertinent hereto, attorney Ryan D. Purdy ("Purdy") was also a member of the firm.
4. Robert T. Sagen ("Robert") died intestate on March 27, 2011. Robert owned certain real property located in Flathead County, Montana. The property, consisting of two parcels, has the address of 235 Skyles Lake Lane, Whitefish. Janice Sagen ("Janice"), Robert's daughter, hired Respondent to assist her with her father's estate. On March 29, 2011, Respondent filed an Application for Appointment of Special Administrator in Montana Eleventh Judicial District Court, Flathead County. On the same day, the Court appointed Janice special administer of the Estate of Robert T. Sagen ("Sagen Estate").
5. In March 2012, Respondent and Janice discussed the Sagen Estate's financial problems and the need to sell estate assets.
6. Purdy has represented an entity named Consulting, Investing, Management, LLC ("CIM") and its affiliates on a number of legal matters.
7. On June 5, 2012, the Sagen Estate and CIM entered into a Buy-Sell Agreement whereby CIM offered to buy part of the Sagen property. The closing date was set for July 5, 2012.
8. On June 21, 2012, Janice informed Respondent by email that: "I have an offer on the back property and set to close on the 5th ."
9. Purdy's invoice for work performed on June 27, 2012 for CIM states: "Receipt and review of title and ordering special exceptions."
10.CIM and the Sagen Estate were unable to complete the sale proposed under the initial Buy-Sell Agreement.
11. Purdy's invoice for work performed on July 3, 2012 for CIM states: "telephone call with client and agent re: termination ...
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