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In re McCann

Supreme Court of Montana

November 13, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF GENET McCANN, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.

         Supreme Court No. ODC File No. 17-110

          Jon G, Moog Deputy Disciplinary Counsel

          Genet McCann (Respondent), Shelly Smith (Court Reporter) Office Administrator, Michael W. Cotter (Attorney)

          COMPLAINT

         By leave of the Commission on Practice granted on October 12, 2017, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana ("ODC"), hereby charges Genet McCann with professional misconduct as follows:

         General Allegations

         1. Genet McCann, hereinafter referred to as Respondent, was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Montana in 2011, 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.

         Count One

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

         4. On or about November 2013, attorney Tina Morin ("Morin") began representing Ronald Lowney ("Ron") as an interested party in a guardianship/conservatorship action in Butte-Silver Bow County District Court styled In the Matter of Judith A. Lowney. An Incapacitated Person, Cause No. DG-11-15, Honorable Kurt Krueger presiding ("the guardianship proceeding"). Upon information and belief, Morin was retained by Ron, a resident of Butte, to pursue appellate and post-judgment relief consistent with his interests in expanded, unsupervised visitation with his wife of fifty years, Judith Lowney ("Judy"), as Judy's guardians (her brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Debbie Bugni, hereinafter "the guardians") had placed her in an assisted living center near their home in Helena, and Judge Krueger had limited Ron's visitation to once monthly, if practical, on a supervised basis.

         5. In the guardianship proceeding, Judge Krueger appointed attorney Debbie M. Churchill ("Churchill") as Judy's guardian ad litem and counsel of record by Order filed June 9, 2011, which Order remains in effect.

         6. In the guardianship proceeding, attorney Steven Shapiro ("Shapiro") represents the guardians.

         7. In the guardianship proceeding, Judy was judicially determined to be incapacitated and appointed permanent full guardians and conservators on July 15, 2011. Judy's grown children were initially appointed but subsequently replaced by the guardians at present in May 2013.

         8. On or about November 18, 2013, Morin filed a notice of appeal concerning Judge Krueger's final orders appointing the guardians, awarding of spousal support and attorneys' fees, and imposing the visitation restriction. The appeal was docketed as DA 13-0767 and styled In the Matter of: J.A.L.. An Incapacitated Person.

         9. Following briefing, the Montana Supreme Court affirmed Judge Krueger's rulings by Opinion published on July 23, 2014 at 2014 MT 196.

         10. During and after the pendency of Ron's direct appeal, Morin filed a series of district court petitions for writ of mandate and related motions concerning Ron's visitation with Judy and ancillary issues. The series includes a Petition for Writ of Mandate filed December 23, 2013; a Second Petition for Writ of Mandate filed December 31, 2013; a Motion to Enforce Guardianship Order and Third Petition for Writ of Mandate filed January 24, 2014; a Motion for Annual Report and Request for Consistent and Regular Visitation filed November 19, 2015; and a Fourth Petition for ...


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