Lake Elmo attorney suspended for misleading statement in custody case

A Lake Elmo attorney has been disciplined for knowingly making a misleading statement to a court during a hearing.

The Minnesota Supreme Court suspended Paul E. Overson from the practice of law for 30 days, according to an order made public Wednesday.

The state office that investigates alleged misconduct by attorneys, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, filed a petition with the court on Dec. 4.

It says Overson “committed professional misconduct warranting public discipline — namely, knowingly making a misleading statement to a court during a hearing and subsequently failing to correct his misleading statement,” according to the Supreme Court order.

The underlying case was a custody dispute filed in Washington County District Court in June 2022. Overson represented the respondent in the case, which has since been closed, according to court documents.

According to the petition, Overson failed to tell the court during a September 2022 hearing that the parties had already agreed to dismiss a matter involving an order for protection. Overson failed during and after the hearing “to correct his misleading statement and failed during the hearing to inform the court that the parties had agreed to dismiss the OFP matter,” the petition states.

The Minnesota Supreme Court order, written by Associate Justice Margaret Chutich, said Overson’s reinstatement after 30 days is contingent upon him filing with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts an affidavit establishing that he is “current in continuing legal education requirements,” among other conditions. He also must pay $900 in court costs and file, within one year of the date of the Feb. 24 order, with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts “proof of successful completion of the written examination required for admission to the practice of law by the Minnesota State Board of Law Examiners on the subject of professional responsibility,” the order states.

Overson did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. According to his disciplinary history, included as part of the petition, Overson previously was issued an admonition for withdrawing from representation one business day before a client’s deposition.

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