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Lawyer on the Lam With Her Clients

It seems that Minnesota mom Colleen Hauser and her lawyer, Susan Daya prefer flight over fight -- fighting cancer, that is. The pair took to the road along with Hauser's cancer-stricken 13-yea-old son in defiance of a court ruling by a Minnesota court issued Monday ordering Hauser to allow her son to undergo chemotherapy, according to Associated Press. Hauser had refused to consent to chemotherapy because she favors the "natural healing methods" espoused by an American Indian religious group -- even though doctors testified that her son's tumor had grown and that he would probably die without conventional medical treatment.

So who is this lawyer, Susan Daya, who's come along for the ride? According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, Daya has an interesting history:

[Daya] according to court testimony, accompanied Colleen and Daniel to a doctor's appointment in Sleepy Eye on Monday[. She] is a California attorney with a tiny law firm that specializes in resolving family disputes. Daya and a partner operate the business, called Settlement Works , out of a 57-foot yacht named Concordance in Marina del Rey, according to the company's website. Daya is also known as Susan Hamwi. Calls to the firm were not returned Wednesday. A call to her home office yielded a "Memory full" recording for voicemail. Settlement Works charges $400 an hour to help divorcing couples work out issues such as child support and custody through mediation "while addressing and healing the unresolved emotional issues of divorce." According to the website, Daya holds a law degree from Loyola Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has been a member of the State Bar of California since 1989.

Why would Daya risk her law license to help clients evade a court order? Even if Daya didn't formally represent Hauser in court (Daya's actual role isn't clear from the story), any lawyer who assists a litigant in evading a court order would be subject to bar sanction in my view. Zealous representation is one thing, but Daya seems to have crossed the line.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on May 21, 2009 at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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