On Friday, August 18, 2023, the Supreme Court of the State of Iowa publicly reprimanded attorney Michael M. Sellers over frivolous filings and intentional delay which caused additional unnecessary court proceedings.
The case is entitled “Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board vs. Michael M. Sellers,” case no. 23-1188.
The charges cited Sellers’ violation of Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct 32:3.1 (Frivolous Filings), 32:3.2 (Expediting Litigation), and 32:8.4(d) (Conduct Prejudicial to the Administration of Justice). In accordance with Iowa Court Rule 35.12, Mr. Sellers was notified that he has 30 days from the date of completed service of this reprimand to file an exception hereto with the Grievance Commission clerk. Under Court Rule 35.12(1), failure to file such an exception “constitutes a waiver of any further proceedings and a consent that the reprimand be made final and public.”
According to the complaint filed with the Board, Sellers’ representation of a defendant in a matter relating to a sale of real estate was in question. Several court decisions at the state and federal levels have pointed out that Sellers has made improper filings and lacked understanding, failed to follow discovery rules, and improperly moved the case to federal court, causing unnecessary delays and further court proceedings.
The document highlights significant legal issues and a history of procedural missteps. It mentions a state district court ruling from April 4, 2022, where motions for sanctions and compliance with discovery rules were granted due to a lack of adherence. The court criticized the defendants’ misunderstanding of a motion to dismiss and awarded attorney fees to the plaintiff for an unreasonable attempt to move the case to federal court. The filing points out that Michael M. Sellers, the attorney representing the defendants, has been consistently involved in these matters. This involvement includes instances of failing to follow the state court’s directions, hindering the implementation of sanctions, and pursuing a seemingly unwarranted removal to federal court.
Consequently, these actions raise concerns about Sellers’ commitment to his responsibilities to the court. The sequence of events suggests that Sellers might have unreasonably and vexatiously prolonged the legal proceedings, possibly in disregard of his duties.
Following a determination that Sellers’s actions in the state and federal courts violated the above-cited rules of professional conduct, the Board publicly reprimanded the latter on April 19, 2023.
Accordingly, after the reprimand having filed with the court clerk with proof of service and a statement that Sellers has not filed an exception within the designated timeframe, the Court ordered that the reprimand of Sellers be included in the court’s records as a public document.
Ms. Michael M. Sellers is listed as an attorney at Sellers, Galenbeck & Nelson, serving Clive He attended the University of Iowa College of Law. Sellers has been admitted to practice in Iowa since 1967.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.