On Wednesday, November 1, 2023, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department issued a public censure against suspended Attorney Adam Kimmell. This disciplinary action stems from Kimmell’s representation of clients with conflicting interests in an Oregon legal matter in 2019.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Adam Kimmell,” with case no. D73087.

According to the filing, Kimmell represented client Nels Johnson in 2011-2012 to modify his child support obligations to his ex-wife Julie Ann Johnson. During this representation, Nels disclosed confidential financial information to Kimmell.

In May 2019, Nels filed for divorce from his then-wife Ginette Johnson in Oregon. Kimmell then undertook the representation of Ginette in the divorce proceedings against Nels. Kimmell did not obtain informed consent from either Nels or Ginette regarding the clear conflict of interest in representing Ginette against Nels, whose confidential information Kimmell possessed from a prior representation.

The Oregon court ultimately ordered Kimmell’s removal from representing Ginette in the divorce case due to this conflict of interest. Kimmell entered into a stipulation with the Oregon State Bar in October 2021, admitting he violated Oregon’s rules prohibiting lawyers from representing clients with conflicting interests without consent.

Specifically, Kimmell acknowledged violating Oregon Rule of Professional Conduct 1.9(a), which is similar to New York’s conflict of interest rules. As part of the stipulation, Kimmell received a public reprimand from the Supreme Court of Oregon in October 2021.

However, Kimmell failed to notify the Appellate Division or the Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts of New York of this Oregon disciplinary action, as required under New York rules. As a result, the Appellate Division issued an order to show cause in October 2022 directing Kimmell to explain why reciprocal discipline should not be imposed.

In response, Kimmell argued that the Oregon misconduct did not constitute misconduct in New York since it lacked connections to New York. However, the Grievance Committee asserted this defense was without merit. The Appellate Division thus found the imposition of reciprocal discipline was warranted.

Taking into account the sanction in Oregon and considering similar past precedents, the Appellate Division concluded Kimmell should receive a public censure in New York. The five-justice panel censured Kimmell on November 1, 2023, for his professional misconduct violating conflict of interest rules in the 2019 Oregon legal matter.

The Disposition states:

“ORDERED that, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 1240.13, the respondent, Adam Kimmell, admitted as P. Adam Kimmell, a suspended attorney, is publicly censured for his professional misconduct.”

According to martindale.com, Mr. Kimmell attended the University of California at Berkeley, graduating in 1978. He acquired his law license in New York in 1980.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.