Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
September 17, 2013
DALLAS -- Dallas attorney Debbe von Blumenstein, whose law license has been under interim suspension since August, has issued a response to Oregon State Bar (OSB) accusations against her.
von Blumenstein wrote a nine-page response dated Aug. 26, describing her battle against a still-undiagnosed illness and struggle to obtain care without insurance, all while trying to maintain her law practice.
The illness, which arose in July 2012, caused bouts of flu-like symptoms and internal bleeding that required IV treatment, medication and hospitalization, von Blumenstein said.
Last month, the Oregon State Bar suspended von Blumenstein's law license pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing. A formal complaint was filed in June, accusing von Blumenstein of continuing to take clients after she was aware she had an illness that could affect her ability to represent them, among other claims.
von Blumenstein refutes that charge, saying she had been decreasing her case load since the onset of her illness and doing everything she could to manage it without health insurance.
"I'm really looking forward to turning this around," she said last week. "This has dropped me to my knees. I was trying to do what I thought I could, the best that I could."
von Blumenstein acknowledges as an attorney she has a legal responsibility to protect her clients, but said the seriousness of the illness blindsided her. She eventually decided to take medical leave when she was repeatedly hospitalized this summer.
By the time von Blumenstein was preparing to close her practice, however, the Oregon State Bar had already began the process of issuing an interim suspension.
von Blumenstein's response regarding her health is one of several she has or will be submitting to OSB during the disciplinary proceedings, which she said could take a number of months before a decision is rendered.
She said in the meantime her intention is to focus on finding a definitive diagnosis and beginning treatment.
"My intention right now is to get my health back," she said.