On October 24, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Ad Hoc Hearing Committee issued a recommendation for public censure of attorney Brenda Wagner for communicating with a represented party in a guardianship matter.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Brenda C. Wagner,” with case no. 20-BD-059.

According to the filing, the Disciplinary Counsel filed charges against Wagner in November 2020, alleging a violation of Rule 4.2(a) when she knowingly communicated with a represented party, named in the filing as M.D., in a matter without the prior consent of the lawyer and without being authorized by law or the court to do so. After an evidentiary hearing in 2021, the initial Hearing Committee issued a Report in 2022, determining that the charges were not proven by clear and convincing evidence. However, the Board overturned this decision in May 2023, directing the Ad Hoc Hearing Committee to consider evidence in aggravation and mitigation.

The Hearing Committee acknowledged the seriousness of Wagner’s violation of the “no contact rule,” designed to preserve the attorney-client relationship’s integrity. Despite finding no evidence of prejudice against M.D.’s brothers, the Committee noted Wagner’s prior disciplinary history, including two informal admonitions.

This history, combined with Wagner’s refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of her misconduct, led the Committee to recommend a public censure to protect the legal profession’s integrity and deter future violations.

The recommendation reads:

“The Hearing Committee finds that a public censure by the Court is consistent with cases involving comparable misconduct. The Hearing Committee concludes that a public censure will serve to protect the integrity of the Bar and to deter future misconduct.”

According to Avvo, Ms. Wagner is an attorney in Washington, DC. She acquired her license to practice in the District of Columbia in 1979.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.