Misplaced Trust

Lack of accountability at the Oregon State Bar

Van Ness’s second to last invoice had shown that McNett owed him no money, had $1,205.14 available in trust, and had recently paid the prior invoice, #4773, for $2,731.25.

The next and final invoice claimed that invoice #4773 had never been paid, and that there was no money left in the trust account. Nor was there any explanation for where the $1,204.15 had gone.

Van Ness also billed McNett for $2,233.75 in new charges for “work” allegedly done in his final twenty days.

In fact, Megan Perry’s federal charges came from information supplied by Gavin McNett.

That is to say, the client certainly did not imagine that he had visited the FBI.

As “evidence” to support his outrageous campaign against McNett, Van Ness sent the Bar nearly one hundred pages of privileged emails and communications that they had exchanged.

In doing so, James Van Ness violated the other absolutely sacrosanct ethical duty an attorney has to a client: the duty of confidentiality.

Chillingly, Van Ness’s response to the rather mild review was to disclose the first name of the minor child that McNett had hired him to protect.

Van Ness’s response also stated that McNett — who was identifiable through the disclosure of his child’s distinctive name — had “no credibility.”

God help anyone sick enough to post a minor child’s name in response to such a mild rebuke.

What on earth could be the appropriate disciplinary sanction for these two massive and nauseating breaches of his client’s trust?

That’s not how accountability works.

That’s just further covering up.



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