Legal Ethics

Disbarment of Lawyer Who Blew Off 'Bogus Order to Compel' Is Reversed on Due Process Grounds


A lawyer who refused to respond to a discovery request in a North Carolina attorney disciplinary matter has had her subsequent disbarment reversed based on a due process violation.

Because the evidence presented against attorney Sybil H. Barrett at the trial of the legal ethics case differed from the charges made against her, the case must be reversed, the North Carolina Court of Appeals heldin a written opinion (PDF) today. The matter concerned representations made on a HUD-1 real estate closing statement.

The state bar argued, to no avail, that Barrett had waived her right to object on due process grounds by failing to do so earlier, but the court said she lacked knowledge to do so.

Barrett said in part of her email response to the bar’s discovery request: “I reviewed your bogus order to compel. I will not be producing anything. in fact, I will never be in communication with any of you people ever again. … I am moving on with my life. You have no power over me. You are mistaken to think that you do.”

The appellate panel also refused to sanction Barrett for her lack of cooperation with discovery, finding that it had not prejudiced the state bar’s case.

Hat tip: Legal Profession Blog.

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