Articles Posted in Professional Malpractice & Ethics

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In early April 2012 the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct (Commission) referred to the Supreme Court its unanimous recommendation for removal of Judge Dennis Cummings, a district court judge in Bethel. However in December 2011, Judge Cummings had announced his retirement and he retired shortly after the Court received the Commission's recommendation. Despite Judge Cummings's retirement, the Court considered this matter a live controversy - a judge's retirement did not extinguish the Commission's and the Supreme Court's jurisdiction to complete disciplinary proceedings, and "there [were] important policy reasons to do so." After independently reviewing the record and the Commission's recommendation to remove Judge Cummings, the Court accepted the Commission's recommendation for removal. View "In Re Cummings" on Justia Law

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A bar served a man alcohol while he was visibly intoxicated, and the man murdered a woman later that evening. The lawyer representing the bar in the subsequent dram shop action did not attempt to add the murderer as a party for apportionment of fault. Following entry of a large judgment against the bar, the bar brought a legal malpractice suit against its attorney. The attorney moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, arguing that where case law is unsettled, as a matter of law an attorney cannot be held liable for an error in judgment. The superior court granted the motion and the bar appealed. "Because the existence of unsettled law does not excuse an attorney from fulfilling a duty of care," the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "L.D.G., Inc. v. Robinson" on Justia Law

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In 2008, Alaska's Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers imposed professional sanctions on appraiser Appellee-Cross-Appellant Kim Wold for violations of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). The Board relied in large part on the views of a distinguished expert in Alaskan real estate appraisal who performed a "desk review" of Appelle's work. The expert concluded that the appraiser committed numerous violations of the USPAP. Though the Supreme Court reviewed the Board's findings with great deference, it concluded that none of the Board's findings of USPAP violations were supported by substantial evidence in light of the whole record. The Court thus affirmed the superior court's reversal of the Board's findings of USPAP violations, and reversed the single violation that the superior court affirmed. View "Dept. of Commerce & Economic Development v. Wold" on Justia Law