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In re Wallace

Supreme Court of Montana

April 27, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF TERRY A. WALLACE, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.

          Jon G. Moog Deputy Disciplinary Counsel Office of Disciplinary Counsel

         The Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana ("ODC"), hereby charges Terry A. Wallace with professional misconduct as follows:

         General Allegations

         1. Terry A. Wallace, hereinafter referred to as Respondent, was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Montana in 1972, at which time he took the oath required for admission, wherein he 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.

         Count One

         3. ODC realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 2 of the General Allegations as if fully restated in this Count One.

         4. In 2009, Karrie Lynn Serrania ("Serrania") went to a dentist for a toothache. In 2011, the dental clinic, Discovery Dental Group, PLLC ("DDG"), turned over Serrania's account to a collection agency, LPH, Inc., d/b/a Northwest Collectors ("LPH").

         5. LPH filed a complaint against Serrania in Missoula County Justice Court, but the complaint was eventually dismissed after Serrania filed counterclaims that exceeded the Justice Court's jurisdiction. At its core, this was a debt collection case involving $1, 113.12.

         6. In 2012, Serrania sued LPH and DDG in the Fourth Judicial District Court, alleging that LPH violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), that DDG committed credit defamation, and that both violated the Montana Consumer Protection Act. Serrania sought to recover approximately $650, 000 in damages. LPH and DDG counterclaimed for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

         7. The lawsuit, Cause No. DV 12-781, was filed by Respondent as Serrania's attorney.

         8. By Order dated January 7, 2014, the District Court dismissed the action against LPH with prejudice.

         9. In August 2014, Serrania settled with DDG.

          10. By Order dated January 18, 2015, after remand from the Montana Supreme Court pursuant to its Opinion issued April 28, 2015 (2015 MT 113), the District Court imposed ...


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