On Monday, September 18, 2023, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana filed a Petition for Reciprocal Discipline with the Montana Supreme Court against lawyer Maribeth Hanson.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Maribeth M. Hanson,” with case number 23-102.
The petition stems from Hanson’s disbarment by the Washington Supreme Court in April 2023. According to the documents filed in Montana, Hanson represented a client named Robert Case in a 2014 personal injury matter in Idaho, where she was also licensed to practice.
In 2019, Case’s case settled for $150,000, which Hanson deposited into her Idaho trust account. However, she subsequently failed to properly oversee and disburse these client funds. Between 2021-2022, Hanson improperly withdrew over $22,000 from the account and its balance fell far below what she should have been holding for Case and his health insurer.
Hanson also did not communicate with Case about the status of the matter or resolve the insurer’s subrogation claim. She was disciplined in Washington pursuant to a March 2022 stipulation where she agreed to disbarment.
The Montana Office of Disciplinary Counsel argues Hanson’s conduct warrants reciprocal discipline in Montana under the state’s rules. They are requesting the Montana Supreme Court issue an order directing Hanson to respond within 30 days. If she does not demonstrate why identical discipline is unwarranted, the petition requests Hanson also be disbarred in Montana.
A hearing on the matter has not yet been scheduled. The Montana Supreme Court will ultimately determine the appropriate reciprocal sanction, if any, for Hanson’s ethics violations in her handling of Case’s settlement funds from his personal injury case.
According to Avvo, Ms. Hanson was an agriculture attorney in Spokane, Washington prior to her disbarment in the state. She became a licensed attorney in Washington in 2015, and earlier, in 2013 and 2014, she obtained licenses to practice law in Idaho and Montana, respectively.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.