Bankruptcy lawyer’s unruly conduct draws warning


Dave Stafford for

A Terre Haute lawyer’s behavior at a bankruptcy court proceeding last week so alarmed parties involved that U.S. marshals were called, according to an order warning he could face discipline for his conduct.

“The Court has been advised that on May 13, 2015, respondent B. Scott Skillman attended a First Meeting of Creditors” at the federal courthouse in Terre Haute, Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana wrote.

“After several instances of misbehavior, including refusing to sit in his designated seat in the hearing room and attempting to intimidate those present, including Chapter 7 Trustee Lou Ann Marocco, it was necessary for the United States Marshals Service to respond to a duress alarm regarding respondent Skillman’s conduct,” Young wrote in In the Matter of: B. Scott Skillman, 1:15-MC-00040. The order issued Tuesday did not initiate disciplinary action, but left the door open.

Young pointed to Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and 7th Circuit Standards of Professional Conduct requiring attorneys to respect the legal system and treat counsel, parties and litigants in a civil and courteous manner. Young also cited lawyers’ duties to “abstain from disparaging personal remarks or acrimony toward other counsel, parties, or witnesses.”

Skillman was ordered to conduct himself professionally. “If any of his conduct is determined to be unprofessional, he shall be called to answer to these actions and show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court and subject to sanctions,” Young wrote. Those “may include, but are not limited to, being barred from federal courthouses within the Southern District of Indiana, a referral being made to the Indiana Disciplinary Commission, and a finding of civil or criminal contempt.”

According to the Indiana Roll of Attorneys, Skillman was admitted to practice in 1987 and his license status is active in good standing. He has three concluded disciplinary actions, all initiated since 2013, each of which was dismissed as moot. However, the docket shows the Disciplinary Commission in April petitioned for Skillman’s suspension for failing to satisfy costs of proceedings against him.