Posts tagged Missing in Minnesota

Disciplinary hearing for MacDonald scheduled for September

Michelle MacDonald’s fourth campaign to be elected to the Minnesota Supreme Court will take a short break in September, as a court hearing will be held on the petition for disciplinary action filed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility against MacDonald.

Senior Judge E. Anne McKinsey, who was appointed earlier this month as the referee to hear the petition for disciplinary action against MacDonald, issued a scheduling order yesterday.

A court hearing is scheduled for September 10, 2020, at 9:30 AM, at the Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The hearing will continue to September 11, if needed.

Despite facing discipline, MacDonald is a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court  

Justice Paul Thissen

MacDonald is running against Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen, who was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Governor Mark Dayton in 2018.

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014, 2016, and 2018. In December, MacDonald started her fourth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court. Despite MacDonald facing serious discipline and the likely suspension of her law license, MacDonald can still run for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Courts in Minnesota have interpreted the requirement in the Minnesota Constitution that judges “shall be learned in the law” as being licensed to practice law. Candidates for the Minnesota Supreme Court, Minnesota Court of Appeals, District Court of Minnesota, or county attorney are required to submit a copy of their law license when they file to run for office with the Minnesota Secretary of State.

Aside from being a repeated candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, MacDonald notes on the website for her law firm that she “aspires to be a United States Supreme Court Justice.”

Board petition details multiple violations by MacDonald

The petition filed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility details three counts of “unprofessional conduct warranting revocation of probation and further public discipline” of MacDonald.

The first count details “knowingly false statements” made by MacDonald about Judge David Knutson during a radio interview with Blois Olson on WCCO Radio in October 2018.

During the interview, MacDonald said it wasn’t Sandra Grazzini-Rucki who committed a crime when she abducted her children during a custody dispute with her ex-husband. MacDonald said the crime involving the disappearance of Samatha and Gianna Rucki was committed by Judge David Knutson when he issued a court order involving custody in 2012.

The second count against MacDonald is about the “factually frivolous defamation lawsuit” filed by MacDonald against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. The petition states MacDonald’s “conduct in filing a frivolous defamation lawsuit against the defendants, which lacked a basis in fact particularly given respondent’s probation requirement to ensure factual accuracy…” violated her probation and rules governor licensed attorneys in Minnesota.

The third count in the petition describes MacDonald’s conduct in charging “unreasonable fees,”  failing to provide a copy of a retaining agreement to a client, and failing to get a confirmation in writing of a “fee-sharing arrangement…”

In total, the petition from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility details 14 violations by MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys and 7 violations of her probation by which she can practice law in Minnesota.

MacDonald has been previously disciplined by lawyers board for multiple rule violations

Brodkorb and Mann filed a complaint just days after MacDonald served her lawsuit on Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota in June 2018. The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility notified Brodkorb and Mann that MacDonald would be investigated based on their complaint.

MacDonald has been disciplined twice for multiple rule violations since she was admitted to practice law in Minnesota in 1987.

In 2012, MacDonald was disciplined by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board for “for failing to deposit settlement proceeds into a trust account, failing to maintain proper trust account books and records, failing to promptly deliver funds to a client, failing in her duty to be responsible for the conduct of a non-lawyer and failing to cooperate with the Director’s investigation…”

A judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court found in 2018 that MacDonald violated “at least seven Rules of Professional Conduct over the course of two different client matters.”

The Minnesota Supreme Court later suspended MacDonald’s law license for 60 days and placed her on supervised probation for two years after determining she “made false statements about the integrity of a judge with reckless disregard for the truth; improperly used subpoenas; knowingly disobeyed a court rule and failed to follow a scheduling order; and engaged in disruptive courtroom conduct, including behavior resulting in her arrest.”

MacDonald’s legal work examined in an award-winning true crime book

An examination of MacDonald’s legal work was detailed in the book, The Girls Are Gone which was released on October 23, 2018.

The book also includes new information about the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki and the adults who conspired to keep the missing sisters and the truth hidden.

The Girls Are Gone also explores the connection between MacDonald and two people convicted for their roles in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and Dede Evavold. MacDonald was labeled a “person of interest” by the Lakeville Police Department in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki but did not cooperate in the investigation.

Since being released in October 2018,  The Girls Are Gone has been a commercial and critical success. In April, Brodkorb and Allison Mann were awarded a 2019 Independent Publisher Book AwardThe Kindle Edition of The Girls Are Gone has appeared on multiple “best seller” lists by AmazonThe Girls Are Gone is published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing.

In October, Brodkorb and Mann released an audiobook of The Girls Are Gone, which was produced at Studio AmericanaThe Girls Are Gone is available for sale through numerous retailers in audiobook, paperback, and ebook.

Please follow Missing in Minnesota on Twitter and Facebook for updates on the disciplinary process involving Michelle MacDonald.

Gildea appoints McKinsey to hear disciplinary case against MacDonald

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Lorie Gildea has appointed Senior Judge E. Anne McKinsey as the referee to hear the petition for disciplinary action filed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility against Michelle MacDonald. 

The disciplinary process will take months, as McKinsey will hear the case and “file her findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations for the disposition” of the petition for discipline against MacDonald.

The timing of the disciplinary process will complicate MacDonald’s campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice Paul Thissen. 

A scheduling order for the case will be issued in the coming weeks and MacDonald may have to spend time off the campaign trail and inside a courtroom defending herself against allegations of misconduct. Continue reading

Lawyers board to MN Supreme Court: discipline MacDonald

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to discipline Michelle MacDonald after determining MacDonald violated the conditions of her probation by which she can practice law and the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys.

The petition comes after the completion of a 21-month investigation into MacDonald, which began after Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in June 2018 in response to MacDonald filing a lawsuit against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. The lawsuit filed by MacDonald was dismissed in March 2019 by a judge in Ramsey County.

MacDonald appealed the dismissal of her lawsuit to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, but the Court ruled against MacDonald last month. Continue reading

Minnesota Court of Appeals rules against MacDonald

In a ruling that is being described as a win for “press freedoms,” the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Michelle MacDonald against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota.

In March 2019, Ramsey County Judge Richard H. Kyle, Jr. granted the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota in October. Judge Kyle ruled MacDonald was a public figure and that the statements made by Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota “were either true or lack the requisite showing of actual malice…”

In a published opinion released this morning, the Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed with the decision by Judge Kyle to dismiss MacDonald’s lawsuit last year.

The Minnesota Court of Appeal ruled “MacDonald failed to provide evidence creating any genuine dispute of material fact” and MacDonald “was a public figure at the relevant times” during the lawsuit. Further, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that “[s]tatements suggesting unethical, improper, or illegal behavior by a candidate for judicial office relate to the contest and qualifications for the office.”

MacDonald has 30 days to petition the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the opinion released today by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Continue reading

18-month investigation by lawyers board into MacDonald continues

The investigation by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility into alleged violations by Michelle MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys continues according to a letter from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

The investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened over 18 months ago after Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in response to MacDonald filing a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota, which appeared to be in violation of an Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court which details the conditions by which MacDonald is allowed to practice law.

The lawsuit filed by MacDonald against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota was dismissed in March by a judge in Ramsey County. MacDonald is appealing the dismissal of the lawsuit.

MacDonald started her fourth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court last month. She was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016.  Continue reading

MacDonald begins fourth campaign for MN Supreme Court

UPDATE (4:04 PM, Friday, December 13, 2019) – This story has been updated to include confirmation from Justice Paul Thissen’s campaign that he will stand for election to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2020. 

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Michelle MacDonald launched her candidacy today for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2020, just hours after her attorney argued in court that she wasn’t a public figure because she wasn’t a candidate for public office.

During oral arguments at the Minnesota Court of Appeals MacDonald’s attorney, Karlowba R. Adams Powell, told the three judges who were hearing MacDonald’s appeal that since MacDonald was not a candidate for office, she was not a public figure.

But within hours after the hearing ended, MacDonald’s Twitter profile was updated to encourage people to “Vote for Michelle MacDonald for Justice in 2020…”

This is MacDonald’s fourth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court. MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Since 2014, MacDonald has maintained an active campaign committee and website to promote her candidacy.

Today’s activity by MacDonald on social media is the first public campaigning she has specifically done for her fourth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court since announcing in July through an unrelated lawsuit that she planned to run for office “in 2020 and in the future.”

MacDonald will likely face Justice Paul Thissen, who was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Governor Mark Dayton in 2018. Thissen has not made a formal announcement that he will seek election to the Minnesota Supreme court, but a representative of his campaign committee confirmed on Friday he will run for election in 2020. Continue reading

Appeals court hears oral arguments on Thursday on MacDonald’s lawsuit

The Minnesota Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on Thursday about Michelle MacDonald’s appeal of the dismissal of her lawsuit against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. Arguments will be heard at 10:05 AM in Courtroom 200 of the Minnesota Judicial Center.

In March, Ramsey County Judge Richard H. Kyle, Jr. granted the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota in October. Judge Kyle ruled MacDonald was a public figure and that the statements made by Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota “were either true or lack the requisite showing of actual malice…”

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. MacDonald announced in July through an unrelated lawsuit that she “plans to run for office in 2020 and in the future.”

Click here to read the court filings related to MacDonald’s lawsuit.  Continue reading

15-month investigation by lawyers board into MacDonald continues

The investigation by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility into alleged violations by Michelle MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys continues according to a letter from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

The investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened over 15 months ago after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in response to MacDonald filing a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Missing in Minnesota, which appeared to be in violation of an Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court which details the conditions by which MacDonald is allowed to practice law.

The lawsuit filed by MacDonald against Missing in Minnesota was dismissed in March by a judge in Ramsey County. MacDonald is appealing the dismissal of the lawsuit.

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Continue reading

MN Supreme Court referee: ‘indefinitely’ suspend MacDonald’s lawyer

A judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court has recommended that Karlowba R. Adams Powell, who serves as Michelle MacDonald’s attorney in her lawsuit against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota, should be “indefinitely suspended” from the practice of law.

The recommendation by Judge Richard C. Perkins comes after a two-day hearing was held in July about a petition filed last December with the Minnesota Supreme Court by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

In the petition, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility requested a court order revoking Adams Powell’s probation, suspending her law license, or “imposing otherwise appropriate discipline…” based on “unprofessional conduct” by Adams Powell. The petition claimed Adams Powell made false statements to the court, and others, including staff with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, that she engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, that she failed to provide receipts for cash payments, and that she failed to “safeguard client funds.”

According to today’s court filing, this is the fourth disciplinary proceeding for “professional misconduct” involving Adams Powell.

Judge Perkins was blunt in describing Adams Powell’s lack of candor: “[w]hile a misstatement made only once may be a mistake, being stated in writing twice and the again under oath at a deposition demonstrates a disregard for the truth.”

In the final pages, Judge Perkins wrote that Adams Powell “refused to acknowledge her misconduct, exhibited no remorse for her misconduct, and failed to offer any evidence or assurance that she will not engage in similar future misconduct.” Judge Perkin’s added that “[i]n a case about candor to a court … [Adams Powell] displayed a lack of candor with this court during her own testimony.” Continue reading

Yearlong investigation by lawyers board into MacDonald continues

The yearlong investigation by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility into alleged violations by Michelle MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys continues according to a letter from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

The investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened last year after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in response to MacDonald filing a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Missing in Minnesota, which appeared to be in violation of an Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court which details the conditions by which MacDonald is allowed to practice law.

The lawsuit filed by MacDonald against Missing in Minnesota was dismissed in March by a judge in Ramsey County. MacDonald is appealing the dismissal of the lawsuit.

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Continue reading

Ten-month investigation by lawyers board into MacDonald continues

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility’s investigation into alleged violations by Michelle MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys has entered its tenth month, according to a letter from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

The ten-month investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in June after MacDonald filed a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Missing in Minnesota, which appears to be in violation of an Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court which details the conditions by which MacDonald is allowed to practice law.

The lawsuit filed by MacDonald against Missing in Minnesota was dismissed last month by a judge in Ramsey County.

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Continue reading

Michelle MacDonald’s lawsuit against Missing in Minnesota dismissed

A judge in Ramsey County today dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by Michelle MacDonald against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. Judge Richard H. Kyle, Jr. granted the motion for summary judgment filed by Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota in October.

Judge Kyle ruled MacDonald was a public figure and that the statements made by Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota “were either true or lack the requisite showing of actual malice…”

In an interview for Minnesota Lawyer, Brodkorb said the ruling from today from Judge Kyle was that further evidence that MacDonald’s lawsuit “should have never been filed in the first place.” Continue reading

Seven-month investigation by lawyers board into MacDonald continues

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility’s investigation into alleged violations by Michelle MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys has entered its seventh month, according to a letter from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

The seven-month investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in June after MacDonald filed a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Missing in Minnesota, which appears to be in violation of an Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court which details the conditions by which MacDonald is allowed to practice law.

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Continue reading

Michelle MacDonald’s lawyer facing additional discipline

Karlowba R. Adams Powell, who serves as Michelle MacDonald’s attorney in her lawsuit against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota, is facing new sanctions from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

As previously reported by Missing in Minnesota, Adams Powell’s law license was suspended last year for 45 days. As with MacDonald, Adams Powell is currently on probation for 2 years. Minnesota Lawyer was the first to report on the new petition filed against Adams Powell.

In the petition filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility is requesting a court order revoking Adams Powell’s probation, suspending her law license, or “imposing otherwise appropriate discipline…” based on “unprofessional conduct” by Adams Powell. Continue reading

Investigation by lawyers board into Michelle MacDonald continues

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility is still conducting their investigation into alleged violations by Michelle MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys, according to a letter from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

The investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in June after MacDonald filed a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Missing in Minnesota, which appears to be in violation of an Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court which details the conditions by which MacDonald is allowed to practice law.

MacDonald is currently a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, having previously run twice unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Continue reading