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Lawyer License Suspended

Photo: KICD AM

Lawyer License Suspended

Spirit Lake, IA (AP) – A veteran northwest Iowa trial lawyer will have his license suspended for one year for mishandling cases while struggling with alcoholism.
The Iowa Supreme Court imposed the punishment Friday on Spirit Lake attorney James Clarity III.  The court says Clarity was a zealous advocate for clients during an unblemished three-decade career, but that changed after his sister died in 2009 and he became an alcoholic. He neglected client matters, mismanaged fees and ignored requests, resulting in the dismissal of one appeal and the jailing of three OWI clients.
The court says Clarity’s efforts to seek treatment are a mitigating factor, and a one-year suspension is more appropriate than the three years sought by regulators.  Clarity’s attorney, Edward Bjornstad, said the court made a fair ruling in a sad case.