Martin Cole, the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, has filed a petition requesting the suspension of Mendota attorney Barbara Ann Nimis. Nimis is already on suspension in connection with an earlier complaint.
In May 2012, she was suspended for 30 days for failing to maintain a proper trust account, books and records and failing to cooperate with Cole’s investigation into that complaint. Nimis was reinstated in June 2012, but she failed to satisfy the conditions of her reinstatement. Nimis was required to pass the professional responsibility exam and send her results to the state bar within a year of her suspension. She also was required to cooperate with the director’s investigation into any alleged misconduct during a two-year probationary period.
Nimis was suspended again in June 2013 for failing to submit evidence of successful completion of the professional responsibility exam. She also is suspended for not paying her attorney registration fees. In November 2013, a court order in one of Nimis’ cases was brought to Cole’s attention. The court accused Nimis of failing to comply with court timelines, failing to respond to opposing counsel, bringing an “improper and inaccurate” motion, failing to comply with court rules, failing to prepare a substitute attorney, failing to provide notice of her withdrawal as counsel, failing to appear at a hearing and giving inaccurate information to her client.
Cole sent Nimis at least eight notices of his investigation into the court order, according to Cole, and Nimis did not respond.
If the suspension request is granted, it will not have an immediate practical effect on Nimis’ status, because she already is suspended. But, Cole said, her current suspension could be cured fairly quickly by paying her fees and submitting proof of passing the exam. Failure to cooperate with an investigation could warrant a disciplinary suspension of additional time, Cole said.
“We believe it is important that that be considered and put into effect as well, so if she does desire to be reinstated she would presumably have to go through a reinstatement process rather than just providing proof of payment and proof of the exam,” said Cole.