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Moorhead attorney disbarred in Minnesota for abandoning clients

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Moorhead attorney has been disbarred by the Minnesota Supreme Court, an action that followed her earlier disbarment by the state of North Dakota for abandoning at least eight clients.

Terri Lynn Fahrenholtz was disbarred as a Minnesota attorney in a filing made public Wednesday, June 7.

According to documents provided by the state Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility:

Fahrenholtz, who was admitted to the Minnesota bar in 1999 and the North Dakota bar in 2006, was served a petition for discipline in 2014 by the North Dakota Disciplinary Board.

A hearing panel found she had abandoned at least eight clients. In a bankruptcy case, she took a retainer from a client, but didn't put the retainer into a trust fund or refund it. In other cases, it was determined that she had failed to appear for hearings, file complaints or communicate with clients about the status of their cases.

She was disbarred by the North Dakota Supreme Court in May 2015.

The director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility then sought reciprocal discipline under Minnesota law. In September 2015, Fahrenholtz was suspended from practicing law in Minnesota and given a year to appeal. In October 2016, she was ordered to file a memorandum within two months to show why she shouldn't be disciplined. She didn't respond in either case, the Minnesota Supreme Court found.

In its decision to disbar Fahrenholtz, the Supreme Court ruled that the discipline was fair and appropriate given her actions and that her failure to respond to disciplinary proceedings also supported disbarment.

The high court added that Fahrenholtz must tell clients, opposing counsel and tribunals that she has been disbarred, and must pay $900 in costs.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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