On Monday, July 24, 2023, the Supreme Court of Iowa suspended attorney Matthew Brick for violating conflict of interest rules while representing a municipality.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Matthew Brick”, and was bought by the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board with case no. 23-1038.

The charges cited Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct 32:1.6(a), 32: 1.7(a), 32:1.8(b) and 32.8.4(c) which states:

A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b) or required by paragraph.

When an attorney discloses information learned through the attorney–client relationship even if that information is otherwise publicly available.

A lawyer shall not use information relating to the representation of a client to the disadvantage of the client unless the client gives informed consent, except as permitted or required by these rules.

Implicates the indispensable duty of loyalty to the client; applies to the disadvantageous use of client information to the benefit of either the lawyer or a third party.

A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest.

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

On June 30, 2023, Brick voluntarily consented to the suspension of his license to practice law in Iowa. This stems from the allegations that he violated conflict-of-interest rules arising out of his representation of a municipality.

The Affidavit states:

“In May 2017, Muscatine mayor Diana Broderson (“Broderson”) filed a lawsuit against the city after the Muscatine city council voted to remove her from office. In October 2017, the district court concluded that the city council had illegally removed Broderson and vacated the council’s decision to remove her from office. In November 2017, Mandsager filed a lawsuit against Broderson and the City of Muscatine regarding statements made about him that implied he was committing wrongdoing in his role as city administrator. In response to Mandsager’s lawsuit, Broderson filed a counterclaim against Mandsager and included me as a party to her counterclaim. Although I was not served, I remained a party to the lawsuit until Broderson voluntarily dismissed her claims. I did not represent Broderson or the city in that litigation, although I continued in my role as counsel for the city in other matters.”

The Affidavit continues:

“On November 6, I texted Mandsager regarding the council’s steps to terminate Mandsager’s contract with the city: “I’d push [council members] Tom [Spread] and Phil [Fitzgerald] to berate the rest [of the council] for refusing to wait until you [‘re] off leave and the evaluation is done.” Although the evaluation was not complete, the hired evaluator emailed updates—which were supportive of Mandsager—to me, Broderson, and the council on October 24 and November II. I shared these emails with Mandsager. At a city council meeting on November 7, 2019, the council discussed and then tabled a discussion regarding the termination of Mandsager’s contract with the city. During the meeting, which Mandsager watched virtually and which I attended, Mandsager texted me in reference to a conversation at the meeting, asking me to address certain matters. I replied to Mandsager, “Hold on, I’m busy trying to save your job.”

The Affidavit further states:

“After the council voted to terminate Mandsager, I texted him, with reference to the council members who voted to terminate Mandsager’s contract: “This f [***]ers just made you a lot of money.” I drafted the written removal order for Mandsager with input from Brackett. I alerted Mandsager that Brackett had not worded the letter in accordance with the advice I had given him. I did not tell Brackett I thought the letter was insufficient. I did not seek or obtain informed consent from the city regarding my disclosures to and communications with Mandsager.”

In response to Brick’s consent to suspension, the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board cited specific Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct that were violated and recommended a 30-day suspension as a sanction, considering both mitigating and aggravating factors. Brick requested the suspension to begin on August 1, 2023, but the Board recommended the suspension start on the date the court issues its order or ten days after that date as per Iowa Court Rule 34.23.

Brick’s affidavit and the Board’s response to the affidavit have been filed with the Supreme Court of Iowa by the Grievance Commission. As a result, the court has decided to suspend Brick’s license to practice law in this state.

The Disposition states:

“Accordingly, pursuant to Iowa Court Rule 34.16(3), the court orders that Matthew Brick’s license to practice law in this state is suspended for a period of 30 days.”

Mr. Brick practices in West Des Moines, Iowa. He is licensed in Iowa. His info can be found on lawyerjustia.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.