MANKATO — A Mankato attorney who is pleading guilty to drug possession is being sued for malpractice.
Ryan Blair Magnus told The Free Press he takes responsibility for his drug addiction, but he denies the claims of deficient representation recently filed by a former client.
Last month Magnus entered a petition to plead guilty to a lesser drug charge stemming from a case filed against him in Blue Earth County in February 2018.
Methamphetamine, marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms were found in a house Magnus owned and shared with two other people, the charges said.
Magnus was charged with felony first-degree counts of drug sales and felony drug possession.
He is pleading guilty to fifth-degree possession and the plea deal calls for him to receive a stay of adjudication, meaning the charge will be dismissed if he completes sentencing requirements.
The plea agreement calls for Magnus to receive probation and no additional jail time beyond the time he already has served.
A Blue Earth County District Court judge will hear the proposal and likely hand down a sentence next month.
Magnus said he’s “comfortable” with the proposed plea. He “has accepted responsibility” and has gone to drug treatment, he said.
It is Magnus’ second time as a defendant. In September 2017 he was arrested for driving while under the influence of a controlled substance in Nicollet County. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI and was sentenced to one year of probation.
Last week a Welcome man, who Magnus represented in a divorce from 2015 to 2017, filed a malpractice lawsuit against Magnus as well as Jones Law Office. Stacey Edwards Jones, owner of Jones Law Office, formerly was Magnus’ partner in the Jones and Magnus law firm.
The lawsuit filed by Jared Lynn Anderson claims Magnus was using drugs and his law firm did not provide him adequate representation.
Magus “did not diligently seek to identify all material assets,” “prematurely and unilaterally withdrew from and abandoned Mr. Anderson while mediation was in process,” and otherwise “failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness,” the suit alleges.
Anderson contends the poor representation, for which he paid nearly $26,000, caused him to lose money in an unfavorable divorce settlement.
The civil complaint claims Magnus “exhibited erratic, angry and uncontrolled outbursts and other intemperate behaviors.”
The complaint recounts an instance in which Magnus collapsed while meeting with Anderson, was taken to the hospital and soon after went to rehab. It reportedly was the second time Magnus went to rehab and another attorney from the firm temporarily took over Anderson’s case.
Magnus told The Free Press he provided Anderson with satisfactory representation and he will fight the civil suit.
Magnus said he has been practicing law while his charges were pending and plans to continue practicing. His license to practice has not been suspended or restricted.
Jones did not respond to an invitation to comment by press time.