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In re Mown

Supreme Court of Montana

January 11, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF TINA L. MOWN, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.

          Jon G. Moog Deputy Disciplinary Counsel P.O., Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

          COMPLAINT, RULES LI, L3, 1.4, L5, 3.3, 3.4, AND 8.4

         By leave of the Commission on Practice granted on January 10, 2019, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana ("ODC"), hereby charges Tina L. Morin with professional misconduct as follows:

         General Allegations

         1. Tina L. Morin, hereinafter referred to as Respondent, was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Montana in 1992, 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 October 2008, Respondent began representing Robert and Holly Labair ("Labairs") to pursue legal malpractice claims against attorney Steve Carey ("Carey") for his representation of the Labairs in a medical malpractice case. On March 3, 2010, Respondent filed a lawsuit in Missoula County District Court, Cause No. DV 10-254, Honorable Ed McLean presiding. The matter has been to the Montana Supreme Court four times, most recently as Cause No. DA 18-0334, captioned Labair v. Morin, concerning Respondent's fees and costs.

         5. To assist with trial, Respondent retained attorney Paul Warren ("Warren") as co-counsel. Carey was represented by Mikel Moore ("Moore"). A six-day jury trial was held in March 2015 resulting in a defense verdict that was successfully appealed.

         6. During trial, Respondent called an accounting expert, Charity Rowsey ("Rowsey"). Prior to trial, Respondent falsely advised Rowsey that Carey had contacted Joe Kasperick ("Kasperick"), an economic expert, in preparation of the Labairs' medical malpractice claim. During Rowsey's testimony, Respondent elicited this false information through her direct questioning. During cross-examination, Rowsey explained that Respondent had provided this false information.

         7. To rebut Respondent's elicitation of false testimony, Moore arranged for the rebuttal testimony of Kasperick, who resides in Butte. Kasperick testified that Carey had not contacted him about the Labairs' claims, and further testified that he advised Respondent in December 2014 that no such contact had occurred.

         8. Moore moved the District Court for sanctions and a hearing was held on September 22, 2015. Respondent did not attend the hearing, but Warren appeared on her behalf. On that same date, Judge McLean issued a final judgment ordering Respondent to pay $1, 683.50 in additional defense costs for Kasperick's testimony. This judgment was never appealed, and Respondent has not paid the sanction.

         9. By her conduct outlined above, Respondent violated Rule 3.3(a), MRPC.

         10. By her conduct outlined above, Respondent violated Rule ...


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