Minnesota Supreme Court suspends PlunkettPublished 4:33pm Saturday, February 16, 2013
The Minnesota Supreme Court has indefinitely suspended Austin attorney Peter Plunkett.
The Court announced its ruling late last week after the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility filed a petition for disciplinary action against Plunkett on Sept. 11, 2012, accusing him of committing professional misconduct by participating in a scheme to alter bail bonds. However, Plunkett’s lawyer, Paul C. Peterson of Lind, Jensen, Sullivan & Peterson, P.A., said in a written statement to the Herald that the suspension is a result of a case against bail bond company Minnesota Surety and Trust, of which Plunkett is the president. Peterson added the case did not involve Plunkett’s law practice, Plunkett and Associates, or any other clients.
“Peter is relieved that this matter is resolved,” Peterson wrote. “He looks forward to returning to practice and serving his clients’ needs as soon as possible.”
Plunkett will be allowed to petition for reinstatement in six months. In the meantime, Peterson said, Plunkett will arrange for other attorneys to service his clients.
Minnesota Surety and Trust Company was fined in May 2011 by the Colorado Division of Insurance for its bail bond practices in Colorado, where its employees allegedly backstamped 4,000 files and book work with information that was required by Colorado law beforehand, according to an OLPR press release. However, that fine was stayed under a number of conditions, according to another of Plunkett’s lawyers, Marshall H. Tanick of Hellmuth & Johnson, PLC.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce fined Surety and Trust $50,000 in civil penalties, according to a September 2012 OLPR news release; and late in 2011 also ordered Surety and Trust to liquidate its assets in Austin at 107 Oakland Ave. W. Tanick said only $10,000 of the $50,000 fine needed to be paid, and added that Plunkett agreed to be jointly liable for the Minnesota Department of Commerce fine.
Warren Plunkett, Peter’s father, will continue to manage Plunkett and Associates in Peter’s absence, and plans to hire a new associate attorney, Peterson says.