On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility filed a petition for disciplinary action against attorney Garrett D. Slyva before the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Garrett Daniel Slyva.”

According to the petition, in September 2023, Slyva received a public reprimand from the North Dakota Supreme Court for violating that state’s rules regarding conflict of interest. Specifically, Slyva represented a female client while incarcerated in Cass County jail, and he put his interests in a romantic relationship over the client’s interests in her criminal case.

During his representation of the client, Slyva asked her questions about her relationship status and asked her on a date. This made the client uncomfortable. Slyva’s employer, the Fargo Public Defender’s Office, had previously prohibited Slyva from having in-person meetings with clients without a barrier between them due to a prior incident of improper physical contact. Despite this restriction, Slyva met in person and face-to-face with the client, violating his employer’s policy.

The client reported Slyva’s behavior, and he was fired from his job shortly after. The North Dakota disciplinary panel found Slyva violated the state’s conflict of interest rules by prioritizing a romantic relationship over his client’s interests. As a result, Slyva received a public reprimand.

In light of the North Dakota action, the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility filed a petition seeking reciprocal discipline against Slyva in Minnesota. In response, Slyva entered into a stipulation agreeing to a 30-day suspension of his Minnesota license, along with payment of $900 in costs. The stipulation acknowledged reciprocal discipline was appropriate while arguing the North Dakota sanction was substantially different than what would occur in Minnesota.

The Petition states:

“WHEREFORE, the Director respectfully prays for an order of this Court directing that respondent and the Director inform the Court within thirty days of its order whether either or both believe the imposition of identical discipline by the Minnesota Supreme Court would be unwarranted and the reasons for that claim.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Slyva is an attorney in Aitkin, Minnesota. He acquired his law license in Minnesota in 2020.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.