Emily Gurnon, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn. –
Twin Cities defense attorney Steven Paul Lundeen has been disbarred from the practice of law, having pleaded guilty to felony drug possession, misappropriated client funds, ignored client phone calls, lied to the court about why he failed to show up to a client’s trial, appeared in court while his license was suspended and became “verbally and physically aggressive” toward a client who requested a refund.
Lundeen, 52, of Minneapolis did not respond to notices of complaints against him and nor cooperate in an investigation of his practice, according to the Wednesday, March 21, disbarment order of the Supreme Court.
The court wrote that it considered misappropriation of client funds “a particularly serious violation.”
In Lundeen’s case, he misappropriated funds by performing no work for at least five clients and never returned money to them, the court wrote. He also didn’t return part of the settlement funds due to another client.
The misappropriation totaled more than $7,800.
He also repeatedly ignored court orders directing him to disclose financial information to creditors.
Lundeen’s drug use led him to trouble with a Ramsey County judge during the trial of his client Willie Evans.
Evans’ trial on charges of stalking, domestic assault and terroristic threats began last March. On the second day of trial, Lundeen was a no-show – because he was sitting in jail after an arrest on cocaine possession the night before.
The next day, he told Judge
George Stephenson “he had been attacked and woke up in a hospital in Iowa, that he later was treated in a chiropractic clinic, not a hospital,” but then said he got medical help at the chiropractor’s home, according to a petition recommending discipline, filed last year by the state Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board.
The judge called the chiropractor, who denied having treated Lundeen. A mistrial was declared.
Lundeen did not appear at a hearing before the Supreme Court in December regarding the potential disbarment. Another attorney told the court that Lundeen was in an inpatient drug treatment facility. Lundeen also didn’t file written answers to three petitions for disciplinary action against him by the lawyers board.
The court noted in its order that Lundeen also has a history of discipline for similar ethical violations.
Reached by telephone Wednesday, Lundeen said he was on another line, then hung up on a reporter.
Lundeen was admitted to the Minnesota bar in 1997.