IN THE MATTER OF LINDA HARRIS, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.
File No. 18-058
R. Thompson, Office of Disciplinary Counsel
leave of the Commission on Practice granted on July 26, 2019,
the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana
("ODC") hereby files its complaint charging Linda
L. Harris with professional misconduct as follows:
Allegations and Background
Linda Harris, hereinafter referred to as Harris, was admitted
to the practice of law in the State of Montana in 1978, 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 Montana 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.
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.
all times relevant, Harris practiced law as a sole
practitioner at her firm Harris Law Firm, P.C. at Billings,
Everett Winkler (hereinafter "Winkler") is a
Yellowstone County resident, who has a child with Mary
Catherine Decker ("Decker"). On December 6, 2011,
Winkler and Decker entered into a Final Stipulated Parenting
Plan regarding their minor child, A.W.
August 25, 2016, Winkler retained Harris to attempt to get
the parenting plan amended. On November 21, 2016, on behalf
of Winkler, Harris filed a Notice of Motion to Amend
Parenting Plan, and the Motion to Amend Parenting Plan,
Petitioner's Brief and Affidavit in Support, and
Petitioner's Proposed and Interim Final Parenting Plan.
Decker retained attorney Christopher King ("King")
to represent her.
District Court Judge Michael Moses issued an order on January
31, 2017, requiring the parties to participate in mediation
in accordance with the 2011 Stipulated Parenting Plan. King
made multiple attempts to contact Harris to schedule
mediation. Winkler made several attempts to contact Harris by
text and letter after Judge Moses ordered mediation. Harris
failed to respond to both King and Winkler and mediation did
not take place.
March 31, 2017, King filed a Motion of Dismissal of All
Claims of Petitioner for Lack of Prosecution, with an
attached brief and affidavit in support. Harris failed to
file a response brief, and on May 15, 2017, Judge Moses
issued an order dismissing the petition for failure to
prosecute, specifically finding that:
1. All claims of the petitioner be and they hereby are
2. That all claims of the Petitioner be and they hereby are
resolved in favor of the Respondent;
3. That all previous orders of this Court not specifically
modified herein remain in ...