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Ethics Articles: Permanent Injucntions—Unauthorized Practice of Law

Focus on Professional Responsibility
By: Thomas K. Byerley, Regulation Counsel
MBJ May, 1999

The State Bar of Michigan's Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law actively monitors the activities of individuals and entities that engage in the unauthorized practice of law. Upon the recommendation of the Standing Committee and approval of the State Bar of Michigan's Board of Commissioners, the State Bar files litigation seeking permanent injunctions against individuals who violate the mandates of MCL 600.916.

Approximately every two years, the list of permanent injunctions is published for the benefit of lawyers and judges throughout the state. The following list is current through March 31, 1999.

Permanent Injucntions—Unauthorized Practice of Law

    KAREN ALT, Circuit Court of Muskegon County, #89-25719-AW, nonlawyer holding self out as lawyer. Defendant enjoined from "advertising or otherwise representing defendant as an attorney, rendering legal advice to, and drafting documents for another, and appearing on behalf of any other person or entity in negotiating a claim or transaction of any kind or nature." Stipulated injunction entered 2/26/90.

    ROY ANDERSON, d/b/a ROY'S PARALEGAL AND COPY SERVICE, Circuit Court of Wayne County, #95-520377-AZ, nonlawyer operating a "Paralegal and Copy Service" which includes writing legal motions and briefs which are filed "pro se" by customers. Defendant enjoined from practicing law in any form in this state, either individually or through any business entity, acting as representative or intermediary of other persons with regard to their legal matters, including the preparation of any legal documents on behalf of other persons. Injunction entered 2/21/96.

    EDWARD BARTOLI, Circuit Court of Grand Traverse County, #91-9539-AW, inactive member of State Bar enjoined from "holding self out as person authorized to render legal services, adding, changing or deleting language on any form document in which defendant is not a party, and answering questions or offering legal opinions." Injunction entered 4/16/92.

    RONALD BESS, Circuit Court of Branch County, #97-12-769, Mr. Bess was affiliated with Michigan Group Associates who would contact senior citizens regarding the purchase of living trusts for $3,000.00. An injunction was entered by the court barring Mr. Bess from preparing estate planning documents on behalf of other persons. The injunction does allow Mr. Bess to engage in his present profession as an insurance agent. Injunction entered on December 15, 1998.

    JOHN B. BROWN, Circuit Court of Washtenaw County, #89-37224-AW, nonlawyer holding self out as lawyer. Defendant enjoined from "advertising or otherwise representing self as an attorney, representing any party in any court of this state or any proceeding which involves the construction or interpretation of legal documents, advising any party regarding application of legal principles to a specific factual setting, and negotiating the terms of any agreement or the settlement of any claim." Injunction entered 8/16/89.

    ANTOINETTE DEFOE, Circuit Court for the County of Berrien, 97-0756-CM, a paralegal engaging in activities that are reserved for attorneys. Defendant was hired to prepare a divorce and quit claim deed. The divorce judgment drafted by Defendant stated there was no marital property but two years after the divorce Defendant prepared a quit claim deed transferring property from the ex-husband to the ex-wife. This created a problem because the ex-husband had remarried and his current wife was entitled half of the property. The ex-wife was trying to sell the property but could not because a cloud on the title. The Consent Judgment bars Defendant from giving legal advice and preparing legal documents. Defendant can perform transcription services but she cannot add, delete or change language to standardized forms. Defendant must also post notice of her limitation in her business office and pay the complainants $200.00. Injunction entered on 1/15/98.

    CHRISTIAN MEMORIAL CULTURAL CENTERS, Circuit Court of Oakland County, #76-144703-AZ, corporation and nonlawyer agents offering will and estate planning forms without lawyer review. Defendant enjoined from "preparing or typing wills or trust instruments" and from "counseling, advising or giving legal assistance in the drafting of wills", but was not enjoined from disseminating published materials and forms relating to wills, trusts, probate and estate planning. Defendant not enjoined from furnishing vouchers to customers to have wills or trusts prepared by an attorney of their choice or entering into arrangements with attorneys to have them prepare wills for customers. Original injunction entered 8/17/77; amended on 9/18/84.

    OWEN W. CRUMPACKER, Circuit Court of Kalamazoo County, #C95-1815-AZ, disbarred Indiana lawyer holding himself out as attorney licensed in this state. Defendant enjoined from practicing law in any form in this state or from acting as representative or intermediary of other persons with regard to their legal matters. Defendant required to destroy all business or personal stationery, business cards or other printed material which identifies Defendant as an attorney. Ordered to pay costs to State Bar. Injunction entered 11/17/95.

    DUANE M.E. DAVIS, Circuit Court of Wayne County, #89-928593-CZ, nonlawyer holding self out as lawyer. Defendant enjoined from "advertising or holding self out as an attorney, lawyer, counsel or specialist in any field of law, drafting documents for, giving legal advice to, or making appearances or communicating on behalf of any person." Injunction entered 2/1/90; contempt order entered 7/24/90, 30 days in jail, bond, costs and expenses. Arrested and convicted on 6/28/96 in Wayne County Circuit Court of felony offense of Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses for accepting a fee to perform legal services. Sentenced 7/25/96 to six months in jail, three years probation and $7,903.00 in restitution.

    GREAT LAKES TITLE OF CADILLAC, INC., PATRICIA F. MARTIN and ROBERT G. MARTIN, Circuit Court of Wexford County, #94-10836-CZ, nonlawyer agents of corporation preparing real estate documents. Defendants enjoined from drafting documents in which defendants are not a party and which purport to be tailored to a particular customer or particular transaction and may not add to, change, or delete language on preprinted forms or make suggestions or offer opinions about the applicability of a form or language to a particular transaction or particular customer. Defendants also enjoined from answering legal questions or offering comments or opinions regarding the terms, language, or effect of a particular document, or the claims, rights or responsibilities of any person in a particular transaction or for a particular customer or party. Defendant not enjoined from providing standardized form documents, providing general instructions relating to those documents, and providing scrivener services to fill in blank spaces in form documents if the name and address of the dictating person appears on the form under the designation "prepared by." Injunction entered 5/24/95.

    MARY LOU HOPKINS, d/b/a the Missing Link, Circuit Court for the County of Calhoun, #97-4299-CZ, a paralegal engaged in activities reserved for attorneys. Ms. Hopkins would assist individuals by giving legal advice and preparing legal divorce papers without the supervision of a licensed attorney. The activities of Ms. Hopkins exceeded those allowed under the Cramer decision. Injunction entered 10/7/98.

    DONALD G. HUBER, a/k/a D. GRAVATT HUBER, Circuit Court of Ingham County, #91-68953-AW, disbarred lawyer holding self out as lawyer. Defendant enjoined from "holding self out as an attorney at law without also stating that license has been and remains revoked, drafting documents for another person except that defendant may provide and fill in forms at the direction of a party, giving legal advice or offering opinions to others regarding legal implications, communicating on behalf of others, making demands for payment, accepting assignment of legal claims, or acting as intermediary for another in any legal claim." Injunction entered 11/13/91.

    CRAIG KLOPENSTINE, Circuit Court of Jackson County, Case No. 98-087252, paralegal who has represented numerous "clients" without the supervision or direction of a licensed attorney. Mr. Klopenstine educated himself in the law while incarcerated. He served as a jailhouse lawyer and upon his release, he continued to practice law. He claims to have a "constitutional right" to practice law. Permanent injunction was entered 12/4/98. Klopenstine and his assigns are enjoined from giving legal advice and preparing legal documents.

    ERIC A. LINDQUIST, Circuit Court of Wayne County, #95-520381-CZ, nonlawyer agent and major shareholder of corporations attempting to represent the corporations during litigation. Defendant permanently enjoined from practicing law in any form in this state on behalf of any corporation or other person and from acting as representative or intermediary of other persons or entities with regard to their legal matters. Injunction entered 2/6/96.

    DAVID (DODA) LULGJURAJ, Circuit Court of Macomb County, #97-1391-CZ, nonlawyer "travel agent" who also accepts fees for processing immigration filings with the United States Immigration Service. Defendant permanently enjoined from preparing legal documents for other persons, giving legal advice to any person regarding their particular legal matter, acting as representative or intermediary of other persons with regard to their legal matters, including immigration matters. Injunction entered 9/08/97.

    MARGARET MAINARDI, Circuit Court of Wayne County, #91-123925-AW, nonlawyer assisting pro se litigants. Defendant permanently enjoined from "drafting legal documents, giving legal advice, adding, amending and deleting language from legal form documents, selling or preparing forms for legal services other than preprinted standardized forms, acting as representative or intermediary of others with regard to legal matters, and hiring or contracting with licensed attorneys to provide legal services to others." Original injunction issued 2/28/92; Amended Order of Injunction entered 3/17/95.

    Also, in In the Matter of Bright, U. S. Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of Michigan, #93-42713-S, the Bankruptcy Court permanently enjoined Mainardi from collecting raw data concerning debtor finances; actual preparation and filing for the debtor of Chapter 7 petitions, statements and schedules; deciding what information should be placed on forms and in what format; adding language to standard forms not dictated by debtor and transcribed verbatim; responding to debtor questions regarding interpretation or definition of terms; showing debtors reference books; providing information about remedies and procedures available in the bankruptcy system; and acting as an intermediary between debtor and attorney selected by nonlawyer. Injunction issued 8/9/94./p>

    EDWARD H. MARSILJE, THE TITLE OFFICE, INC., E.H.M., INC., Circuit Court of Ottawa County, #90-12350, title company drafting documents and giving legal advice. Defendants enjoined from "drafting documents in which defendants are not a party, adding, changing or deleting language on preprinted forms, making suggestions or offering opinions about the applicability of a form of language to a particular transaction or customer, answering questions or offering opinions or comments regarding terms, language or effect of a particular document with regard to a specific customer." Consent agreement and order for stipulated permanent injunction entered 8/13/90. Clarifying opinion entered 8/23/91.

    CHESTER McBRIDE, Circuit Court of Iosco County, #86-105971-CZ, nonlawyer holding self out as attorney. Defendant enjoined from "advertising or representing himself to be an attorney, representing any party other than himself in any court of this state, the construction or interpretation of any legal document, advising any party in any matter involving application of legal principles to a specific factual setting, or negotiating the settlement of any claim." Preliminary injunction entered 1/8/87; permanent injunction entered 4/9/87.

    BEN MITCHELL, a/k/a BARRINGTON MITCHELL, Circuit Court of Wayne County, #89-915540-AW, nonlawyer holding self out as lawyer. Defendant enjoined from "advertising or representing himself to be an attorney, representing any party other than himself in any court of this state, the construction or interpretation of any legal document, advising any party in any matter involving application of legal principles to a specific factual setting, or negotiating the settlement of any claim." Injunction entered 1/7/87; default contempt order entered 8/8/89; bench warrant issued 8/8/89; second contempt order entered 5/9/90, 30 days in jail, bond, costs and expenses. Arrested and convicted in Wayne County Recorder's Court, File No. 95-5294, of felony offense of Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses for accepting a fee to perform legal services. Sentenced on 7/20/95 to five years probation, alcohol treatment, community service and restitution.

    PAM MURRAY, PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS SERVICE, MICHIGAN/GENESEE LEGAL TYPING SERVICE, Circuit Court of Genesee County, #92-14425-CZ, nonlawyer assisting pro se litigants and holding self out as lawyer. Defendants enjoined from "rendering legal advice, drafting legal documents, representing any other person or entity in negotiating any claim or transaction, adding, changing or deleting language when completing form documents, and giving legal advice regarding testimony to be given to the courts of this state." Stipulated order for permanent injunction entered 7/10/92. Defendant found in contempt on 11/5/92 for failure to make restitution. Defendant also found in contempt on 7/19/93 for violating injunction by providing legal advice and drafting legal documents; was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

    PARTNERSHIP ARBITRATION, a partnership composed of JAMES H. McQUILLAN, J. STEPHEN STOUT and KYLE ANDREWS, Circuit Court of Genesee County, #93-19858-CZ, nonlawyers assisting pro se litigants. The three individual defendants and the partnership are enjoined from holding themselves out to the public as qualified to render advice and service to persons interested in pursuing claims against Prudential Securities, Inc.; rendering counsel and a service to persons seeking to pursue claims against Prudential; furnishing or offering to furnish forms and documents with assistance in their completion to persons seeking to pursue claims against Prudential; representing parties in the initiation or prosecution of new and pending arbitration proceedings before any arbitration tribunal; and continuing to represent parties in the prosecution of arbitration proceedings before any arbitration tribunal. Injunction entered 12/3/93.

    ESPERANZA ROSALES, Circuit Court for the County of Van Buren, Case No. 97-43-356-CP-B, Rosales has an office in Hartford, Michigan in which she gives legal services to the non-resident farm workers. She advertises and holds herself out as a "Notario." In Mexico and other Latin American countries a "Notario" is considered the equivalent of an attorney in the United States. Respondent does considerable INS immigration work for her customers and complaints against her date back to 1991. Farmworkers Legal Services initially filed suit against Ms. Rosales and the SBM intervened in the lawsuit. Rosales defaulted and never filed motion to set aside default. Rosales, however, consented to entered into a Consent Judgment that bars her from preparing legal documents, giving legal advice, holding herself out as an "notoria and/or abogada," etc. Consent Judgment entered 3/24/98.

    THEDFORD A. ROWSER, Circuit Court of Oakland County, #95-509255-NZ, nonlawyer assisting pro se litigants. Defendant enjoined from preparing legal documents for other persons, and from adding, changing or deleting language when completing legal form documents except when defendant is performing scrivener services to standardized documents as dictated by a party; giving legal advice to any person regarding their particular legal matter; and from acting as representative or intermediary of other persons with regard to their legal matters. Restitution also ordered. Injunction entered 7/3/96.

    TODD J. SNIVELY, Circuit Court of Oakland County, #90-382576-CZ, nonlawyer assisting pro se litigants. Snively enjoined from "advising third parties of their legal rights under FCRA, that TRW, Inc. has violated one or more aspects of FCRA, that they are entitled to file lawsuits against TRW for alleged violations, and preparing complaints or other pleadings and documents on behalf of any other parties." Injunction entered 1/17/90.

    LEIGH TRAVIS, Circuit Court of Washtenaw County, #95-4861-AZ, nonlawyer Ph.D. assisting pro se litigants. Defendant enjoined from preparing documents which are not standardized form documents; from adding, changing, or deleting language when completing legal form documents, except when Defendant is performing scrivener services; giving any legal opinions to any person, including opinions regarding testimony to be given in courts; and acting as representative or intermediary of any person with regard to their legal matters. Injunction entered 11/22/95.

    RICHARD T. TRAVIS, Circuit Court of Oakland County, #84-281751-AZ, nonlawyer holding self out as lawyer. Defendant enjoined from "representing himself as an attorney or qualified to practice law, offer or undertake to provide legal services, drafting legal documents, representing or appearing for any person, and providing legal advice." Injunction entered 10/1/84; contempt order entered 2/8/85; second contempt order entered 1/23/90.

    RICHARD VICKREY, A/K/A DALE GORDON, TROUBLE SHOOTERS, INC., Circuit Court of Genesee County, #95-38098-AZ, nonlawyer assisting pro se litigants. Parties permanently enjoined from preparing legal documents for other persons, and from adding, changing or deleting language when completing legal form documents, giving legal advice to any person regarding their particular legal matter, acting as representative or intermediary of other persons with regard to their legal matters, and must ensure that all advertising and information about defendant's services specify that defendants are not authorized to draft legal documents other than standardized forms, and only then if defendants provide only generalized instructions for completing the forms and secretarial services to typing customer-dictated responses on the forms. Injunction entered 10/4/95.

    MARY WASHINGTON, A/K/A MARY LEE AVANT, LEGALWORKS USA, INC., BSC DIVORCES, INC., Michigan corporations and their successors, Circuit Court of Washtenaw County, #90-38759-CZ, corporation and nonlawyer agents giving advice and drafting documents for pro se litigants. The corporate defendants are enjoined from "drafting legal forms for another, giving legal advice to any person, adding, changing or deleting language from legal form documents without the express instruction of a customer, that all advertising and information specify that defendants offer only the sale of preprinted standardized forms, generalized instructions for completing the forms and secretarial services, acting as representative or intermediary of customers, and hiring or contracting with licensed lawyers to provide legal services for defendants' customers." Injunction entered 5/24/90; amended injunction entered 9/5/91; contempt order entered against LegalWorks USA, Inc. and BSC Divorces, Inc., 7/2/91.

    Mary Washington, individually, and Legal Point, Inc., were permanently enjoined in Berrien County, File No. 96-3275-CZ-G, from drafting legal documents for others and giving legal advice to any person, adding, amending and deleting language in legal form documents, selling forms for legal services other than preprinted standardized forms, and acting as representative or intermediaries of customers with regard to their legal matters. Injunction entered 11/22/96.

    KENNETH WEBER, Circuit Court of Jackson County, #91-57909-CZ, nonlawyer assisting pro se litigants. Defendant enjoined from "selecting language for, drafting and completing legal form documents, giving legal advice to any person, acting as representative or intermediary of customers with regard to their legal matters, communicating on behalf of customers with the court, opposing parties or counsel, and from appearing at hearings on behalf of customers." Injunction entered 7/19/91.

     

 

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