Martin Luther King Estate Battle Escalates; Judge Removes Attorney William Hill from Case

An article published on April 7 by The Daily Report, a Georgia-based legal newsletter, provided new information on a subject we have recently addressed. The article, Lawyer Ejected from King Case, reports that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney has disqualified attorney William Hill and his firm from representing the Martin Luther King, Jr. estate because of his previous service as a special master in an earlier case over King’s possessions.

In our article, Fight Over MLKs Bible and Nobel Prize Ends Up in Court, we discussed the fight between Dr. King’s children, daughter Bernice, and sons Dexter and Martin Luther King III, over control of his Bible and Nobel Peace Prize. The essence of the battle is that Bernice claims her brothers want to sell the objects, while she wants the items retained in the estate.

In February, the judge had ordered the disputed items to be stored in a safe deposit box until litigation over the items between the slain civil rights leader’s children can be worked out.

According to the Daily Report article, the judge’s latest order stated that “Hill’s representation of the estate was “sufficiently connected” to a 2008 suit filed by Bernice King and her brother, Martin Luther King III, against the estate and its CEO, Dr. King’s son Dexter King, to run afoul of legal ethics rules.”

Georgia Rule of Professional Conduct 1.12(a) bars an attorney from representing a party in any “matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a judge or other adjudicative officer.”

For a recap of the King Family’s battle and more information about this recent ruling, read the Daily Report article: Lawyer Ejected from King Case
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