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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 46

Adopted January 27, 1933

The Board is in receipt of the following request for an opinion:

"I desire to have an opinion as to the propriety of the appearance of one occupying the office of City Attorney based upon the following statement of facts:

The Council of a charter city of the first class adopted by a majority vote, a resolution approving the settlement of a controverted claim in favor of the City and against certain individuals. Thereafter, demand is made by certain taxpayers upon the Council and other officers of the City that suit be brought to recover the total amount which would have been due the City, which is in excess of the amount received in the compromise settlement. Should suit be brought by the petitioning of taxpayers, upon the refusal of the Council to file suit, and officers of the City and members of the Council voting in favor of the Resolution are made parties defendant, would the City Attorney of the municipality be authorized to represent the officers and members of the Council so sued in defense of the action by the taxpayers, and would there be any violation of the ethics of the profession in so doing?"

In response:

The Board is of the opinion that the City Attorney in question may, with propriety, represent the officers of the City and members of the Council in the proposed suit.