Summary of In re Mountain, 239 Kan. 412 (1986)
Facts: A married couple who wanted to adopt a baby contacted the Respondent, attorney Mountain through a county health worker. That worked informed them about an expectant mother who wanted to have her baby adopted. Resp. contacted the mother and her mother and then informed the married couple that the mother needed $300 for financial help. The money was sent to Mountain, who in turn gave to the mother, but he then convince her that he represented their interests. The grandmother didn’t think the M’s were wealthy enough to adopt the child. Mountain suggested other couples, and told the grandmother she would receive a $5000 fee under a new arrangement. Mountian sent her $500 for prenatal expenses, then called the M’s and claimed that the fetus had some abnormalties and they should abandon the adoption. They agreed. Mountain entered into a second agreement with another couple who pd him $17000. The M’s asked for medical tests. The GYN said the tests of the fetus were normal, Mountain never called him and he never told him otherwise. The birth produced a normal baby girl. The M’s hired an attorney.
Issue: Whether Mountain acted with a conflict of interest in the adoption process sufficient to disbar him from the practice of law?
Holding: Yes, there is substantial competent evidence to support the findings of the panel and we conclude with that recommendation that the respondent be disbarred.
Procedure: Hearing panel reached conclusions of law that Respondent acted with conflict of interest, made false statements, collected an excessive fee, and served as a procurer of a baby for adoption. S.Ct of Kansas affirmed findings and Disbarred Mountain from practice of law in the State of Kansas and his name was stricken from the rolls of attorneys authorized to practice.
Rationale: The Respondent represented the M’s at the same time as he represented the second couple, and collected an excessive fee from the second couple. He lied about the medical tests and that he had conferred with the gyecologist. Mr. Mountain failed to carry out his agreement to represent the M’s. He made false statements to another attorney, and served as a procurer of a baby for adoption in violation of DR 1-102.