Attorney Discipline

Utah State Bar Ethics Hotline
Call the Bar’s Ethics Hotline at (801) 531-9110 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for fast, informal ethics advice. Leave a detailed message describing the problem and within a twenty-four hour workday period a lawyer from the Office of Professional Conduct will give you ethical help about small everyday matters and larger complex issues.
More information about the Bar’s Ethics Hotline may be found at www.utahbar.org/opc/opc_ethics_hotline.html. Information about the formal Ethics Advisory Opinion process can be found at www.utahbar.org/rules_ops_pols/index_of_opinions.html.
ADMONITION
On March 15, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 3.5(b) (Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney represented an employer in an administrative hearing before the Workforce Services Board. After receiving an unfavorable ruling, the attorney represented the employer in an appeal of the unemployment eligibility decision before the Utah Court of Appeals. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed the decision and issued its decision. The attorney sent a letter to the judges involved in the case. The letter was entered on the court’s docket. A copy of the letter was not sent to opposing counsel on the case. The letter criticized the court’s decision and asked the court to reconsider the merits of his arguments. The criticism was made in a disrespectful and condescending manner. At the time the attorney sent the letter to the judges, the time for appealing the decision had passed.
Mitigating factors:
Absence of prior discipline and absence of dishonest or selfish motive.
Aggravating factors:
Refusal to acknowledge wrongful conduct and begrudging acknowledgment that the language could be offensive.
ADMONITION
On March 22, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
An attorney was hired for a bankruptcy matter. The attorney failed to adequately communicate with the client regarding the consequences of the trustees’ objections. The failed communication with the clients resulted in the attorney allowing the conformation hearing to go forward with an unacceptable payment plan for the debtors. The client should have approved the payment in advance. The attorney failed to communicate with the clients regarding the consequences of the hearing and the strategy being employed. The attorney’s behavior was generally negligent and caused injury.
Mitigating factors:
Lack of prior discipline.
ADMONITION
On March 26, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 8.4(c) (Misconduct) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney was hired to represent a client in a custody and child support matter. The attorney received an initial payment with additional payments to be paid in the future. As the representation progressed, the client was unable to make payments and the amount owed to the attorney continued to grow. The client and the attorney exchanged text messages where the attorney indicated the client could pay the bills in “other ways.” In an effort to persuade the client, the attorney indicated they would write off a set amount of the bill for each “visit.” Although it appears that the client considered accepting the attorney’s offer, the client did so only because the client did not want the attorney to withdraw from representation. The client acknowledged that the attorney’s representation was not negatively impacted by the text message exchanges. After the client submitted the complaint to the OPC, the attorney was offered a diversion, with one of the terms being that the attorney would write off the remainder of the client’s bill. The attorney negligently sent an email to the client believing that the client was aware of the diversion proposal. The attorney believed that the terms of diversion were not determined with regard to whether any fee waiver would be less than the total outstanding amount. Little injury was caused.
Mitigating factors:
Personal problems; seeking and receiving counseling; and remorse.
ADMONITION
On March 26, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney failed to review the client’s documentation. The attorney failed to adequately prepare for the client’s administrative hearing. The attorney failed to timely submit evidence and review documents submitted by the client and others. This resulted in little or no injury.
Mitigating factors:
Lack of prior discipline.
ADMONITION
On April 12, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Following the termination of the representation, the attorney knowingly failed to provide the former client a full accounting of the retainer despite requests for such accounting. The attorney negligently failed to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the retainer. The attorney failed to inform the client about circumstances when disgorgement of the retainer might occur by including a disgorgement provision in the fee agreement. There was generally little or no injury because the fee was earned and reasonable in light of the services rendered.
Mitigating factors:
No prior history of discipline; no dishonest or selfish motive; and eventual (although untimely) accounting was provided.
Aggravating factors:
Refusal to acknowledge wrongful conduct; substantial experience in practice; and vulnerability of the client.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On February 28, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Bryan T. Adamson, for violation of Rules 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(b) (Fees), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 7.1 (Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services), 7.2(c) (Advertising), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Adamson and his client entered into a contingency fee agreement wherein Mr. Adamson agreed to represent the client in a medical malpractice case. The client paid Mr. Adamson an advance to cover filing costs. The client later sent Mr. Adamson an email terminating the representation and requesting a return of the filing costs. Mr. Adamson responded that he would not refund any money because he had spent significant hours on the case. Mr. Adamson further told the client that he would place a lien on the case if she took the case to a new attorney. Mr. Adamson told the client her case was not worth pursuing. The client sent three follow up requests for Mr. Adamson to provide an itemization of his fees. Mr. Adamson refused to provide an itemization of his fees. The client again requested that Mr. Adamson document his lien claim so that she could make a decision about whether to proceed with her case. Mr. Adamson did not respond to this request. Mr. Adamson had not done the amount of work on the case to justify the figure he used when threatening to place the lien. Mr. Adamson’s yellow page advertising included a guarantee that he would pay a client $1000 if they did not win their case. Mr. Adamson’s firm website did not contain his name. Mr. Adamson was informed by the OPC that the website did not contain his name, but he failed to take steps to correct it.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On April 9, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Bryan T. Adamson, for violation of Rules 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(b) (Fees), 1.16(b) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Adamson was retained to represent a client in a divorce. The fee agreement was signed by the client’s mother, who also paid the fee. The fee agreement was entitled “Stipulated Divorce Flat Fee Retainer Agreement.” The fee agreement provided that the case would be handled on a flat fee basis, but in the event of trial, the client would pay an hourly rate. Mr. Adamson filed the Petition for Divorce and later sent the client an invoice for an amount over and above the flat fee already paid. Prior to sending the bill, Mr. Adamson did not communicate to the client that he had converted the case from a flat fee to an hourly rate. Later Mr. Adamson told the client he would not complete the case until the fees were paid. Mr. Adamson eventually withdrew from the case. Mr. Adamson admitted that when he withdrew from the case there was only about thirty minutes of work left to do on the case to get the divorce finalized.
SUSPENSION
On April 17, 2012, the Honorable Steven L. Hansen, Fourth District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: One Year Suspension suspending Earl B. Taylor from the practice of law for one year for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 7.3(c) (Direct Contact with Prospective Clients), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Potential clients received a form letter from Mr. Taylor advertising Mr. Taylor’s bankruptcy-related services. The form letter indicated that Mr. Taylor could assist them in preventing foreclosure of their home. The phrase “Advertising Material” was not located on the form letter or the envelope. At their initial consultation, the clients paid Mr. Taylor money toward his advance fee and provided Mr. Taylor with a packet containing their asset and debt information. Later, when the clients sought to pay the remainder of the advance fee, Mr. Taylor asked them to deposit cash directly into his personal bank account. They deposited the money into his account. During the period of the representation, Mr. Taylor did not have a client trust account. Mr. Taylor also did not place the advance fee into a client trust account. The clients were expecting to pay the remaining balance at the next court date. Mr. Taylor filed a Petition for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on behalf of the clients. The clients paid the filing fee. Later, the clients were notified that Mr. Taylor failed to submit numerous required documents to further their Bankruptcy. Mr. Taylor had to provide the documents or the Petition would be dismissed. Mr. Taylor failed to submit the documents and the Petition was dismissed. After learning of the dismissal, the clients confronted Mr. Taylor who agreed to re-file their Petition. A second Petition was filed. The Bankruptcy Court served Mr. Taylor with a Deficiency Notice identifying numerous documents that he had failed to provide. Later the client’s second Petition for Bankruptcy was dismissed. The clients contacted Mr. Taylor upon learning that their second Petition for Bankruptcy had been dismissed. Mr. Taylor indicated he would pay for and re-file the Petition for a third time. Mr. Taylor failed to file the third Petition for Bankruptcy. The clients repeatedly tried to communicate with Mr. Taylor. Mr. Taylor stopped responding to the client’s telephone calls and emails. The clients were forced to retain another attorney to complete their Bankruptcy. Mr. Taylor was served with a Notice of Informal Complaint (“NOIC”). Mr. Taylor failed to submit a response to the NOIC.
SUSPENSION
On March 29, 2012, the Honorable Paul G. Maughan, Third District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Suspension suspending Jeffrey M. Gallup from the practice of law from January 26, 2010 until March 29, 2012 for violation of Rules 8.4(b) (Misconduct), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
On January 22, 2009, Mr. Gallup entered a no contest plea to one count of Violation of a Protective Order, a 3rd degree felony. On April 30, 2009, Mr. Gallup entered a guilty plea to one count of Violation of a Protective Order, a 3rd degree felony. On June 30, 2009, Mr. Gallup entered a guilty plea to one count of Violation of a Protective Order, a 3rd degree felony. On August 18, 2009, Mr. Gallup entered a guilty plea to two counts of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol/Drugs. Mr. Gallup was placed on interim suspension on January 26, 2010 based upon the felony convictions. The suspension was lifted on March 29, 2012 allowing Mr. Gallup to file for reinstatement when he chooses to do so.

RESIGNATION WITH DISCIPLINE PENDING
On March 28, 2012, the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order Accepting Resignation with Discipline Pending concerning Cheri K. Gochberg for violation of Rules 8.4(b) (Misconduct) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct. The effective date of the Order is September 19, 2011.
In summary:
On November 5, 2010, Ms. Gochberg was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs (4 counts), Possession or Use of A Controlled Substance (2 counts), Reckless Driving, and No Proof of Insurance. On March 25, 2011, Ms. Gochberg pled guilty to and was convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, a third degree felony, for that incident.
On March 4, 2011 Ms. Gochberg was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs while an Alcohol Restricted Driver. On March 28, 2011, Ms. Gochberg pled guilty to and was convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, a third degree felony. These felony convictions were Ms. Gochberg’s fourth and fifth related DUI convictions within the last ten years.
Ms. Gochberg was placed on interim suspension on September 19, 2011, as a result of the convictions.
DISBARMENT
On March 27, 2012, Justice Thomas R. Lee, Utah Supreme Court, issued an Opinion disbarring Clayne I. Corey from the practice of law.
In 1999, a client retained Corey & Lund to represent her in a personal injury action. The client signed a fee agreement with Corey & Lund. The fee agreement allowed for a contingent fee of 33.3% of the settlement, unless the case went to trial. The case settled prior to trial. In 2000, the client accepted a settlement offer of $122,500. On February 25, 2000, Mr. Corey spoke with the insurance adjuster. A settlement check in the amount of $122,500 made out to the client and to her attorney, Clayne I. Corey was issued on February 25, 2000. On February 29, 2000, $124,803.60 was deposited into Mr. Corey’s operating account. This amount included the client’s settlement funds. Mr. Corey was the signator on this operating account and had control over the account. Mr. Corey knew early on that the client’s settlement funds went into his operating account. Mr. Corey failed to deposit the client’s settlement funds into a client trust account. Mr. Corey knew that checks were being written against the funds in the operating account. The account balance for the operating account went from $128,916.14 at the end of February, 2000 to $2909.12 at the end of June, 2000. The client did not authorize her settlement funds to be used by Mr. Corey for any purpose. She did not authorize or sign the Trust documents prepared by Mr. Corey and did not authorize or sign the Promissory Note prepared by Mr. Corey.
The client thought that the money was in Mr. Corey’s trust account for safekeeping and agreed to receive $500 payments each month for a period of time. The client received twenty-one payments of $500. The client eventually decided that she wanted to receive the bulk of her settlement funds. The client requested a return of her file, the return of the remaining settlement money, and an accounting of her settlement. Mr. Corey failed to return his client’s file. Mr. Corey failed to return unearned excess funds to his client. Mr. Corey failed to properly account for the settlement funds. Although the case settled in early 2000 Mr. Corey did not pay the majority of the lien holders until December 2000 leaving the client exposed for those bills. Mr. Corey failed to handle the third party claims in a timely way. Mr. Corey failed to protect funds belonging to his client.
Aggravating factors:
Prior discipline, pattern of carelessness relating to the safekeeping of client funds, substantial experience in the practice of law, no good faith effort to make restitution.
Mitigating factors:
Medical problems, absence of dishonest or selfish motive, remorse.
On November 23, 2010, the Honorable John Paul Kennedy, Third District Court, suspended Mr. Corey for three years, and stayed the suspension, for violation of Rules 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(b) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
The OPC filed an appeal with the Utah Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s Opinion stated,
We reverse the district court and conclude that Corey should be disbarred for intentional misappropriation of [his client’s] funds. We first hold that Corey’s acquisition and use of [his client’s] funds for the operational needs of the firm was knowing and intentional, thereby placing him squarely under a presumptive disbarment standard. Second, we hold that Corey’s mental impairment does not represent truly compelling mitigation evidence sufficient to rebut the presumption of disbarment. We accordingly reverse and order that Corey be disbarred.
DISBARMENT
On January 26, 2012, the Honorable Deno Himonas, Third District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Disbarment against Steven B. Smith for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining Representation), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary there are three matters:
Mr. Smith filed a complaint but did not diligently prosecute the case. Mr. Smith did not inform his clients about milestones or developments in their case. Mr. Smith did not timely file a response to a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the first defendant and did not inform his clients about the court’s order granting partial summary judgment. Shortly thereafter, the first defendant passed away and Mr. Smith did not timely inform his clients about the death. Although Mr. Smith felt incompetent to pursue the claim against the estate of a deceased defendant, he did not withdraw from the representation. He informed his clients he would pursue claims against the defendant’s heirs but he did not pursue the claim nor did he inform his clients that he was not pursuing the claim. Mr. Smith misled his clients about the status of their case. At an Order to Show Cause hearing, the court ordered the parties to certify the case for trial within 120 days or the case would be dismissed. Mr. Smith informed his clients that he met with the court and opposing counsel but did not inform them the meeting was due to the court’s Order to Show Cause. Mr. Smith did not timely proceed with discovery. Mr. Smith did not respond to the second defendant’s motion for Summary Judgment which was granted by the court. Later, Mr. Smith informed his clients that the second defendant’s attorney wanted to take their deposition and did not inform them that the court had granted summary judgment for the second defendant. The owner of the third defendant company filed an answer for the company pro se. Mr. Smith informed his clients that he would move to strike the answer for the third defendant. Mr. Smith did not move to strike the remaining third defendant’s answer and did not pursue the case against the remaining defendant. Mr. Smith did not submit a certificate of readiness for trial and the court dismissed the case for lack of prosecution. Mr. Smith did not inform his clients that the court dismissed the case. Mr. Smith did not respond to the Notice of Informal Complaint served by the OPC.
In the second matter, Mr. Smith wrote a check to be paid from his attorney trust account. The check was presented for payment from funds in Mr. Smith’s attorney trust account. There were insufficient funds in Mr. Smith’s trust account to cover the check. A financial institution sent the OPC a notice of insufficient funds (“NSF”) regarding Mr. Smith’s trust account. The OPC sent Mr. Smith several requests for a written response and documentation supporting his explanation for the NSF. Mr. Smith did not respond to the OPC’s request for a written response regarding the NSF. The OPC served Mr. Smith with a NOIC. Mr. Smith did not timely respond to the NOIC.
In the last matter, a client sustained severe injuries while at work. The client had settled with an insurance company; however the payments had not been made. The insurance company had become insolvent and Mr. Smith was working with an insolvency group to obtain payments for his client. The client understood Mr. Smith would be paid one-third of anything they received and would work out any fees owed to Mr. Smith’s old firm from the one-third paid to Mr. Smith. The client received a partial payment from the insolvency group. After the payment was received, Mr. Smith informed the client that he was working on the case and trying to secure the additional settlement funds. Later a check was issued to the client and Steven B. Smith, Esq. as payment of $412,500.00. The check was endorsed by Mr. Smith. The check was deposited into Mr. Smith’s trust account. The client did not endorse the check nor did the client give Mr. Smith permission to endorse the check on the client’s behalf. Mr. Smith did not notify the client that Mr. Smith had received the check. Mr. Smith wrote numerous checks against his account totaling roughly about $405,000.00. Mr. Smith continued to tell the client that he was working on the case. The client had financial difficulties due to his inability to continue his job as a result of his injuries. The client asked Mr. Smith if it was possible to get some of the settlement at that time. During the time Mr. Smith was purportedly working on the client’s matter, Mr. Smith advanced the client payments that were to be deducted from the settlement monies once the settlement monies were received. Mr. Smith did not inform the client he had received the settlement funds. Mr. Smith helped the client find a third party lender to lend the client additional funds. Mr. Smith did not inform the client he had previously received the check when he helped the client find a lender. The client eventually called the insolvency group directly and was informed that two years previously a check had been issued to him and Steven B. Smith, Esq. When the client confronted Mr. Smith about the check, Mr. Smith initially indicated there had been a mistake. The client has not received the monies from the check from Mr. Smith. The client’s new counsel requested the file from Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith did not timely provide the file to the client or the client’s new counsel.

Attorney Discipline

Utah State Bar Ethics Hotline
Call the Bar’s Ethics Hotline at (801) 531-9110 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for fast, informal ethics advice. Leave a detailed message describing the problem and within a twenty-four hour workday period a lawyer from the Office of Professional Conduct will give you ethical help about small everyday matters and larger complex issues.
More information about the Bar’s Ethics Hotline may be found at www.utahbar.org/opc/opc_ethics_hotline.html. Information about the formal Ethics Advisory Opinion process can be found at www.utahbar.org/rules_ops_pols/index_of_opinions.html.

ADMONITION
On March 1, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney held personal funds in the attorney’s client trust account in excess of the minimal amount allowed to maintain the account.
ADMONITION
On January 26, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney failed to respond to requests for admissions served on the client which resulted in the facts being deemed admitted. The attorney failed to respond to the Office of Professional ConductÕs Notice of Informal Complaint. The attorney’s conduct caused little harm as it is not clear whether the judge considered the deemed admissions. The attorney’s conduct was negligent.
Mitigating factors:
Remorse; absence of prior record of discipline; absence of a dishonest or selfish motive.
ADMONITION
On January 26, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney failed to timely prepare documents needed to finalize a client’s divorce decree. The attorney failed to diligently pursue child support issues raised by his client. The attorney failed to keep the client informed about the status of the finalization of the divorce decree. The attorney failed to inform the client about opposing counsel’s motion seeking the release of the monies held in escrow that the client wanted held until the child support dispute was resolved. The attorney failed to respond to the Office of Professional Conduct’s Notice of Informal Complaint. The attorney’s conduct was negligent and caused little injury.
Mitigating factors:
Remorse; absence of prior record of discipline; absence of a dishonest or selfish motive.

PROBATION

On February 8, 2012, the Honorable Deno G. Himonas, Third Judicial District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Probation against Holly J. Mahoney for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Ms. Mahoney was hired to represent a client regarding the special education needs of the client’s son. The client paid Ms. Mahoney a retainer fee and signed a retainer agreement. Ms. Mahoney failed to file a due process request with the school on behalf of the client’s son. The attorney failed to respond to numerous e-mails and telephone calls from the client over a nine month period. Ms. Mahoney did not send monthly billing statements to the client as outlined in the retainer agreement. Due to Ms. Mahoney’s lack of diligence and communication, the client terminated her services and sought new counsel. The client asked Ms. Mahoney for his file and a refund. After the client submitted his complaint to the OPC, Ms. Mahoney returned his file, but did not refund his fees. Ms. Mahoney indicated to the client that he owed additional fees but that she was willing to waive the fees and call it even.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On February 28, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Douglas A. Baxter, for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(b) Fees, and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Baxter failed to prosecute a case. Mr. Baxter failed to advise his client on the status of the case and failed to express his views on the merits of the case. Mr. Baxter failed to discuss the effect of the dismissal without prejudice. Mr. Baxter failed to have a clear communication on fees. In this respect, the client thought the amount paid was the total fee and Mr. Baxter thought it was a retainer. Mr. Baxter’s mental state was generally negligent behavior. Mr. Baxter caused actual injury to the client in the form of stress and in the form of the dismissal of the action. Mr. Baxter’s actions also damaged the legal system generally.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On January 26, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Jeanne T. Campbell, for violation of Rules 5.5(a) (Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Ms. Campbell assisted a non-lawyer in the unauthorized practice of law when she returned phone calls to his clients while he was in the hospital. Ms. Campbell was aware that the non-lawyer was doing legal work for individuals and, at the very least, should have been aware that his preparation of bankruptcy petitions in Colorado without supervision violated the professional standards in that jurisdiction. Ms. Campbell’s mental state was generally negligent in that she failed to heed a substantial risk that the non-lawyer was practicing law without a license in violation of Colorado’s professional standards. Ms. Campbell’s conduct did not cause injury to the client, but did cause some injury to the legal profession by allowing a non-lawyer, who failed to meet a client’s needs, purport to be an attorney. Ms. Campbell failed to respond to the Office of Professional Conduct’s Notice of Informal Complaint. The Notice of Informal Complaint was sent to Ms. Campbell’s address of record which she did not consistently occupy. It was Ms. Campbell’s obligation to take steps to ensure she received correspondence from the Bar.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On February 28, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Marlin G. Criddle, for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(c) (Fees), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Criddle was hired to represent the Complainant in pursuing a wrongful death case on a contingency fee basis. No fee agreement was signed. Mr. Criddle failed to provide competent representation by accepting and attempting to litigate a medical malpractice/wrongful death case, for which he lacked knowledge, experience, and competence. Mr. Criddle failed to pursue the medical malpractice/wrongful death action in a reasonable time frame. Mr. Criddle failed to reasonably consult with his client regarding his client’s objectives. Mr. Criddle failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of the action. Mr. Criddle failed to explain the dismissal options to his client so that the client could make an informed decision regarding the dismissal. Mr. Criddle’s communication failures and dismissal of his client’s case without consent caused injury to the public, the legal system, and his client’s right to make decisions regarding the prosecution of the case.
Aggravating factors:
Vulnerability of victim; substantial experience in the practice of law; and failure to satisfy conditions of a Diversion Agreement.
Mitigating factors:
Absence of prior discipline; absence of a dishonest or selfish motive; personal or emotional problems; remorse; and acceptance of responsibility.
SUSPENSION
On January 31, 2012, the Honorable Samuel D. McVey, Fourth Judicial District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Suspension suspending Allen F. Thomason from the practice of law for a period of one year for violation of Rules 3.3(a) and (d) (Candor Toward the Tribunal), 4.4(a) (Respect for Rights of Third Persons), 8.4(b), (c), (d), and (e) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The Complainant and his wife, had been having domestic problems and were seeking a divorce. Mr. Thomason befriended the wife and attempted to assist her with a DUI. Mr. Thomason went to the marital home on one occasion and had words with the husband. After a domestic dispute in which police were called and the wife was told to leave the home, Mr. Thomason went to the marital home on behalf of the wife and removed the locks from the doors. The husband went to the home to see if his wife was gone and saw the locks had been removed. He went into the home and encountered Mr. Thomason. After the two had words again, the husband left the home and called the police. The husband then asked his mother if she would go to the marital home and retrieve his camcorder and camera. When the mother went to the marital home to pick up the camera, Mr. Thomason confronted her and blocked her from leaving the room. Mr. Thomason told her that he was a judge and she was under arrest. After several minutes, the mother put down the camcorder and was allowed to leave the room. When the officers arrived Mr. Thomason refused to wait near the curb as instructed by the police. Mr. Thomason declared several times that the responding police officers were “under arrest.” Mr. Thomason made threats against the officers, claiming that he was a judge, and held more arrest authority than the officers. Mr. Thomason was cited for “Interfering w/Legal Arrest”, a violation of Utah Code Section 76-8-305, for his interference with the officers’ investigation. The Provo City Justice Court held a trial where Mr. Thomason was found guilty of interfering with a legal arrest. Mr. Thomason appealed the conviction and later entered into a Diversion. After the incident at the marital home, Mr. Thomason filed an Ex Parte Stalking Injunction against the husband, claiming that he had been assaulted when the evidence did not support this. The Ex Parte Stalking Injunction obtained by Mr. Thomason caused harm to the husband. Mr. Thomason exhibited a lack of candor in his filings with the court. Mr. Thomason attempted to delay the stalking injunction hearing so that the husband would not be able to participate in hunting season. Mr. Thomason also sent several e-mails to the husband’s divorce attorney that contained numerous misrepresentations. Mr. Thomason threatened to file Judicial Conduct complaints against the police officers when he had no grounds to do so. Mr. Thomason threatened to file civil suits against the Complainants unless they dropped their Bar complaint. Mr. Thomason made unfounded accusations of unethical conduct against the husband’s attorney.
DISBARMENT
On January 10, 2012, the Honorable Steven Hansen, Fourth District Court, entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order of Disbarment against Ross K. Moore for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(b) (Misconduct), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary, there are several matters:
Mr. Moore agreed to hold in escrow a large sum of money for investors. The money was transferred by wire to Mr. Moore by a client, who was assisting with the investment of the funds. The funds were to be invested in a franchise in a particular location. Mr. Moore failed to place the funds in a separate trust account, but rather put the money in his own account. A month later, the investors requested the return of the money because the deal did not materialize and the investors wanted the money back to secure another building for the investment. Mr. Moore returned some of the funds but retained the rest. Over the next several weeks the investors demanded an accounting of the funds and demanded return of the remaining funds. Mr. Moore sent an e-mail letter to the investors stating that the money has been “illegally seized” by a bank when it had not. He told the investors that if they complained to the Bar, it would take longer and cost the investors more to get the money back. Months later, Mr. Moore had not returned the remaining funds and the investors again demanded the money. Mr. Moore continued to promise to pay but failed to pay the money. The investors called Mr. Moore several times, but the calls were not answered and messages were not returned by Mr. Moore. Mr. Moore finally met with the investors and agreed to pay an additional amount of money at a specified time. Mr. Moore indicated that the funds already paid to the investors came from funds owned by other clients. As part of a settlement agreement between Mr. Moore and the investors, the Complainant was to withdraw his Bar Complaint in exchange for the return. The investors wrote to Mr. Moore that they were in serious trouble because of the delay in the return of the money. Mr. Moore then represented that he was getting the money from a wealthy client to pay the investors. After the investors hired an attorney to assist in collecting the funds, Mr. Moore paid the investors by cashiers check. Mr. Moore had not earned any of the money entrusted to him to be held in escrow. Mr. Moore did not provide an accounting to the investors.
Mr. Moore was retained to represent a homeowner in warranty claims against her home builder. The homeowner paid Mr. Moore to prepare a demand letter listing the defects she wanted corrected. The homeowner’s only contact with Mr. Moore’s office was through a paralegal. Mr. Moore never completed the letter. The homeowner left several voicemails in an attempt to contact Mr. Moore or his paralegal by telephone. Mr. Moore did not return the phone calls. Mr. Moore did not respond to several e-mails sent to him and his paralegal. Eventually, all communication between the homeowner and Mr. Moore’s office ceased. The homeowner tried to obtain a copy of her file, which contained original closing documents, but Mr. Moore did not return the file. When the homeowner went to Mr. Moore’s office, she found it vacant.
Mr. Moore represented a client in a criminal matter. A pretrial conference was held and Mr. Moore failed to appear, although his client did appear. Another pretrial conference was held and again Mr. Moore failed to appear even though his client did appear. When the court issued an Order to Show Cause for Mr. Moore to appear and show cause why he should not be held in contempt. Mr. Moore failed to respond. The court issued a bench warrant against Mr. Moore.
Mr. Moore was retained initially to assist with the wind down of a client’s company. As part of the representation, Mr. Moore was to respond in a civil case and to file petitions for personal bankruptcy for the owner and his son. Mr. Moore was paid for the work. After the wind down of the company and after cashing out insurance policies, the owner put money in a bank account for further negotiations. Mr. Moore advised the owner to give him the money to put in his trust account for safe keeping; the owner agreed and the money was given to Mr. Moore. After retaining Mr. Moore to file a personal bankruptcy for him, the son became concerned because he had not heard from Mr. Moore. The son contacted Mr. Moore; and Mr. Moore responded by giving him a case number and stating that his bankruptcy petition had been filed. After many attempts to contact Mr. Moore without a response, the son hired a new attorney to pursue the bankruptcy. The son’s new attorney discovered that no Petition for Bankruptcy had been filed and that the case number given by Mr. Moore was not valid. Mr. Moore had also failed to file an Answer in the civil matter and Judgment was entered against the owner’s company in the civil case. The owner became concerned about the money he had given Mr. Moore to hold in trust and told Mr. Moore that he wanted the money returned. Mr. Moore did not respond, so the owner went to Mr. Moore’s home. Mr. Moore sent a text message stating that he would send the owner the address of a bank where the owner could get the money that day. The owner did not receive the bank address and demanded his money and his files to be returned that day. In response to the demand, Mr. Moore admitted that he had not deposited the money in trust but had deposited the money into his account to secure a short term line of credit for some “deals” that Mr. Moore was making. Mr. Moore stated “if you are willing to wait six weeks without making any waves, I will happily pay you an additional $5K for your trouble.” Mr. Moore stated that he would pay some of the funds and left a portion of the money in a drain spout at the owner’s home texting him about where the money was. The owner asked Mr. Moore to provide an accounting of what he had done with the money; Mr. Moore did not respond. The owner’s son made several attempts to get Mr. Moore to return the money, but Mr. Moore did not return calls. The owner then hired an attorney to assist in obtaining the money from Mr. Moore and to assist with his company’s legal representation. The new attorney sent a letter to Mr. Moore demanding that the money be returned and that Mr. Moore provide an accounting; Mr. Moore did not respond. To date, Mr. Moore has returned only a small portion of the original funds.
The OPC served a Notice of Informal Complaint on Mr. Moore, requesting information from him in all of the matters. Mr. Moore did not respond in writing to these requests. Mr. Moore also failed to appear at the Screening Panel Hearing in two of the matters.
Aggravating factors:
Refusal to acknowledge the wrongful nature of the misconduct; dishonest or selfish motive; a pattern of misconduct; multiple offenses; vulnerability of victims; and illegal conduct.

Attorney Discipline

Utah State Bar Ethics Hotline
Call the BarÕs Ethics Hotline at (801) 531-9110 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for fast, informal ethics advice. Leave a detailed message describing the problem and within a twenty-four hour workday period a lawyer from the Office of Professional Conduct will give you ethical help about small everyday matters and larger complex issues.
More information about the BarÕs Ethics Hotline may be found at www.utahbar.org/opc/opc_ethics_hotline.html. Information about the formal Ethics Advisory Opinion process can be found at www.utahbar.org/rules_ops_pols/index_of_opinions.html.

ADMONITION
On January 5, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney missed a trial setting by failing to attend the trial. The attorney did not promptly inform the client of the missed trial. The attorney also tried to cover up the reason for missing the trial.
ADMONITION
On January 6, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.7(a) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients), 1.7(b)(4) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney represented a client in a claim against a woman. At a supplemental proceeding hearing in the case, the woman informed the attorney that she objected to the amount of the claim against her and indicated she was trying to collect money owed to her by her ex-husband from their divorce settlement. The attorney filed a complaint on behalf of the woman against her ex-husband to obtain payment for his client. The attorney did not give the woman a chance to comment on the complaint. The attorney did not provide the woman a copy of the complaint after it was filed. The attorney did not alert the woman to the Motion to Dismiss filed in the case, even though it might adversely affect her rights. The attorney did not consult the woman as to the opposition of the Motion to Dismiss. Based on the brief conversation at the supplemental proceeding, the attorney did not communicate adequate information and explain about the material risks of and reasonably available alternatives to the representation necessary for the woman’s informed consent. The attorney did not obtain the woman’s informed consent and therefore had an impermissible conflict. Even if the attorney had obtained the woman’s informed consent to the conflict of interest, that consent was not confirmed in writing. The attorney’s violations were negligent. The woman has suffered little injury.
ADMONITION
On December 21, 2011, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney and partner in a firm were representing a client. The firm dissolved and the attorney and the partner divided the cases that were pending. Upon dissolution of the law firm, the attorney should have, but did not, communicate with the client concerning who would be representing the client in the future. The attorney should have, but did not, ascertain who had the client’s file. The attorney should have, but did not, see what, if any, fee should have been refunded as unearned to the client. The attorney who had appeared in the client’s case should have formally withdrawn from the case.
ADMONITION
On January 11, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.7(a) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients), 1.7(b) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney represented a client in two collection actions. The attorney failed to adequately respond to the client’s requests for information. The attorney also represented the client’s daughter. The attorney did not obtain a waiver based on informed consent for the concurrent representation. The attorney did not explain the implications of the concurrent representation. The implications were highlighted during a hearing where the attorney could not fully respond to the complaint and could not disclose information about future problems facing his client because one of the clients had not consented, even though the information was obtained, at least in part, pursuant to the representation. To the extent that the attorney obtained waivers, the waivers were not confirmed in writing. The attorney did not promptly return his client’s file when requested. The attorney’s violation of the Rules was negligent and caused little or no injury beyond the toll on his professional relationship with his client.
Aggravating factors:
Length of time it took for the attorney to return the file and the attorney’s position with respect to attorney-client privilege.
Mitigating factors:
Most of the work performed was uncompensated and this was the attorney’s first offense.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On December 21, 2011, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against James F. Nichols, for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.5(b) (Fees), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
At no time did Mr. Nichols and his client discuss the ultimate fee agreement or reach an agreement concerning fees and expenses. Mr. Nichols failed to communicate with his client about the true scope of the representation or how the fees and expenses were to be paid. Mr. Nichols did not possess the requisite legal knowledge, skills, and competence to properly advise the client concerning foreclosure matters and Mr. Nichols did not acquire those skills during the representation. There was actual injury in that the client expended unnecessary sums in attorney fees. Mr. Nichols acted negligently.
Aggravating factors:
No remorse and excuses contradicted by the Respondent’s own evidence.
Mitigating factors:
Absence of prior record of discipline; personal or emotional issues; and inexperience in the practice of law.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On December 21, 2011, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against James F. Nichols, for violation of Rules 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Prior to his withdrawal as counsel, Mr. Nichols failed to inform his client of a pending Order to Show Cause that had been issued in the case. Since Mr. Nichols did not complete the work to be performed in this case, his retainer was unreasonable and excessive. Even though Mr. Nichols knew how to contact his client, Mr. Nichols took no steps for two months to withdraw. When Mr. Nichols did finally withdraw, he failed to inform his client of the withdrawal. Mr. Nichols did not advise his client concerning the status of the case. Mr. Nichols did not prepare, file and serve a “Notice to Appear or Appoint” as directed by the Court. There was actual injury in that Mr. Nichols’s client had to hire new counsel and may have incurred additional fees. Mr. Nichols’s mental state was negligent.
Aggravating factors:
No restitution; no sincere remorse; excuses contradicted by the evidence; and refusal to acknowledge wrongful conduct.
Mitigating factors:
Absence of prior record of discipline; personal or emotional issues; and inexperience in the practice of law.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On January 9, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Philip C. Patterson, for violation of Rules 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer), Rule 1.4(a)(5) (Communication), 1.5(c) (Fees), 1.16(a)(1) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Patterson knowingly failed to consult with his client and obtain her consent before he stipulated to the opposing party’s Summary Judgment Motion and thereby failed to abide by his client’s decision concerning the merits of the case. Mr. Patterson’s conduct caused injury to the public and the legal system because he deprived his client of the opportunity to have her case considered on the merits as she wished. Mr. Patterson failed to communicate to his client his belief that opposing the Summary Judgment Motion would be a violation of the rules. Mr. Patterson’s failure to so communicate was knowing and such failure to communicate caused injury. Mr. Patterson negligently failed to enter into a written contingent fee agreement with his client. Mr. Patterson knowingly failed to withdraw from the representation when he knew that he and his client had fundamentally conflicting views concerning the merits of the case and Mr. Patterson believed that his continuing representation would violate the rules. Mr. Patterson’s conduct caused injury to the public and to the legal system because it denied his client the opportunity to engage new counsel or represent herself and have her case decided on the merits.
Aggravating factors:
Vulnerability of the complainant due to her lack of legal knowledge and experience.
Mitigating factors:
Absence of prior discipline; absence of a dishonest or selfish motive; cooperative attitude in disciplinary proceedings; remorse and acceptance of responsibility.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On December 8, 2011, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Shawn D. Turner, for violation of Rules 5.5(a) (Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Turner utilized as a paralegal a person he thought was a retired California attorney when the paralegal came to Mr. Turner with a legal problem of a friend. It was agreed that the paralegal would do as much “ministerial” work as possible to keep costs down and that Mr. Turner would review, correct, and sign pleadings and generally act as counsel. The paralegal prepared and Mr. Turner made “stylistic” changes to an Answer and thereafter an Answer, Counterclaim, and Third-Party Complaint. Mr. Turner communicated with the client through the paralegal. The client paid the paralegal for services rendered believing that the paralegal would pass the money to Mr. Turner. The client viewed the paralegal as his attorney. As a product of the client learning that the paralegal was not paying Mr. Turner and also learning that the paralegal was not a California attorney, the client terminated the services of the paralegal and Mr. Turner. Mr. Turner knew that the paralegal was not admitted to practice law in the State of Utah.
SUSPENSION
On December 8, 2011, the Honorable John R. Morris, Second Judicial District Court, entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order of Discipline suspending Bradley N. Roylance from the practice of law for a period of three years for violation of Rules 8.4(b) (Misconduct) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
On March 11, 2010, Mr. Roylance entered guilty pleas to two counts of Sexual Abuse of a Minor, class A misdemeanors. Mr. Roylance was sentenced to serve 180 days in the Davis County Jail, pay a $400.00 fine, serve 24 months probation, complete DNA testing with payment of the fee, and abide by Group A sex offender conditions.
The Court found that the crimes of which Mr. Roylance has been convicted reflect adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.
Aggravating factors:
Prior record of discipline; dishonest or selfish motive; multiple offenses; vulnerable victim; substantial experience in the practice of law; and illegal conduct.
Mitigating factors:
Good faith efforts to make restitution or rectify the consequences of his misconduct; cooperative attitude toward disciplinary proceedings; good character and reputation; interim reform; criminal penalties and sanctions; and remorse.
DISBARMENT
On December 16, 2011, the Honorable Thomas Low, Fourth District Court entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order of Disbarment against Nelson A. Moak for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(b) (Misconduct), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary, there are two matters:
Mr. Moak was hired to represent clients in a bankruptcy matter. At their initial meeting the clients signed a Flat Fee Payment Agreement. After their initial meeting, the clients called Mr. Moak several times to see if their Bankruptcy Petition (“Petition”) had been filed. Mr. Moak changed his office phone number without notifying his clients. Mr. Moak filed the Petition several months after the initial meeting. Mr. Moak failed to provide the Court with all the necessary documents for their bankruptcy filing. Mr. Moak did not appear at the Meeting of Creditors. Mr. Moak failed to perform sufficient work to earn the fee that he collected. Mr. Moak did not submit a response to the Notice of Informal Complaint (“NOIC”). Mr. Moak did not appear at the Screening Panel Hearing.
The OPC received three notices of insufficient funds from a financial institution regarding Mr. Moak’s attorney trust account. Several checks had been written on Mr. Moak’s attorney trust account causing insufficiencies. The OPC sent letters to Mr. Moak requesting a response. Mr. Moak never submitted a response to the OPC. Mr. Moak mismanaged his client trust account by allowing his attorney trust account to go into the negative. Mr. Moak either failed to deposit unearned fees into his trust account and/or withdrew funds that were not earned. The OPC sent a NOIC to Mr. Moak for all three notices of insufficient funds. Mr. Moak did not submit a response to the OPC. Mr. Moak did not appear at the Screening Panel Hearing.
Aggravating factors:
Dishonest or selfish motive; Obstruction of the disciplinary proceeding by intentionally failing to comply with rules or orders of the disciplinary authority; and substantial experience in the practice of law.

Attorney Discipline

Utah State Bar Ethics Hotline
Call the BarÕs Ethics Hotline at (801) 531-9110 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for fast, informal ethics advice. Leave a detailed message describing the problem and within a twenty-four hour workday period a lawyer from the Office of Professional Conduct will give you ethical help about small everyday matters and larger complex issues.
More information about the BarÕs Ethics Hotline may be found at www.utahbar.org/opc/opc_ethics_hotline.html. Information about the formal Ethics Advisory Opinion process can be found at www.utahbar.org/rules_ops_pols/index_of_opinions.html.

ADMONITION
On July 28, 2011, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney failed to maintain the client trust account where the funds were kept separate or clearly identified at all times. The attorney’s conduct was negligent. There was little to no injury.
Mitigating factors:
Personal or emotional problems; Cooperative attitude toward proceedings; Substance abuse.
ADMONITION
On July 28, 2011, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 8.4(d) (Misconduct) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney charged a client for representation after the attorney had been appointed to represent the client because the client was indigent. The attorney failed to file a Motion to Withdraw once the attorney discovered that the client was no longer indigent. The attorney’s conduct was negligent. The injury caused by the attorney’s conduct was minimal.
Mitigating factors:
Absence of prior record; Imposition of other penalties or sanctions; Belief by attorney that filing client Affidavit of Indigency would cause him to reveal confidential client communications and expose the client to possible criminal charges.
ADMONITION
On June 30, 2011, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney sought an ex-parte temporary restraining order to stop a trustee’s sale that was scheduled to take place the next day. The court determined that the motion was facially defective, since it did not certify in writing what efforts the attorney had made to contact opposing counsel and did not include an affidavit or verified complaint addressing how the plaintiff might suffer irreparable injury before a hearing could be held. The judge denied the motion without prejudice so that the attorney could correct its deficiencies and issued a written order shortly after reading the motion describing its defects.
After receiving the ruling the attorney attempted to give notice to the defendant by faxing the motion and memorandum to the office and to another attorney’s office; although the attorney was not sure whether the other attorney was representing the defendant. The attorney attempted to contact the other attorney by phone but was unable to reach the other attorney. The attorney was unable to fax the documents to the other attorney but eventually was able to send them by email.
The evening before the attorney sent an email to the opposing attorney advising that opposing attorney that the attorney had filed a motion for a TRO and per the judge’s request, “I sent notice to you and advised you that you will have an opportunity to be heard on” a set date and time. No hearing had, in fact, been set for that day and time. The opposing attorney received the email message regarding the purported hearing and both attorneys were at the courthouse the following morning. The attorney did not provide the court a certificate describing his efforts of the preceding evening to provide notice to the opposing attorney but did file a verified copy of the complaint that morning.
The attorney stated that they did not intend that this be a full hearing but simply a chance for the attorney to talk to the court in the presence of opposing counsel to clarify what the attorney should do to perfect the motion. The attorney believed, based on what the court clerk said, that the attorney could discuss the matter with the court the next day if opposing counsel was present.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On July 8, 2011, the Honorable Tyrone E. Medley, Third District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Jared L. Bramwell, for violation of Rules 1.5(a) (Fees), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Bramwell was hired to represent a client in pending civil matters. Opposing counsel, in one of the cases filed a Motion for Prejudgment Writ of Attachment (“Motion”) and supporting Memorandum. Mr. Bramwell filed a Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion for Prejudgment Writ of Attachment. Judge Robert P. Faust heard argument on the Motion. Judge Faust ruled as follows:
“After reviewing the file and now being fully informed, the court grants the motion for the prejudgment writ of attachment against the [client’s] Utah house only. The prejudgment writ of attachment is NOT against their house in Texas. The house can be sold, but the proceeds must be held in an account in Utah and cannot be distributed.”
Opposing counsel mailed Mr. Bramwell a proposed Order documenting Judge Faust’s ruling. Opposing counsel mailed a Prejudgment Writ of Attachment (“Writ”) to Mr. Bramwell stating what Judge Faust had ruled. A Trust Deed between Jared Bramwell and the client was recorded in Salt Lake County. The stated purpose of the Trust Deed was to: (a) secure payment of attorney’s fees, costs and interest in the principal sum of $500,000.00; and (b) to secure indebtedness evidenced by an attorney retainer agreement between Mr. Bramwell and the client. At the time Mr. Bramwell recorded the Trust Deed he was not owed $500,000 in attorneys fees. At most, at the time the Trust Deed was recorded, the client owed Mr. Bramwell and his firm less than $75,000. Mr. Bramwell did not send notice to opposing counsel or to the Court that the Trust Deed had been recorded. Mr. Bramwell executed and recorded the Trust Deed without notice to the opposing counsel, and during the time period after the Court had issued its ruling but before the Order had been signed. Partly because of Mr. Bramwell’s actions with respect to the Trust Deed, the Court held a two-day Contempt Hearing, but declined to hold Mr. Bramwell in contempt.
DISBARMENT
On August 1, 2011, the Honorable L.A. Dever, Third District Court, entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of law, and Order of Disbarment against Thomas V. Rasmussen for previously violating the Court’s Order of Sanction. Mr. Rasmussen has appealed the sanction to the Utah Supreme Court.
In summary:
A Sanction Order was issued by the Court on July 21, 2010. The Order provided that Rasmussen was suspended for one year with all but 181 days suspended. Pursuant to Rule 14-526(a) of the Rules of Discipline and Disability, the effective date was thirty days later on August 20, 2010. The thirty-day period provided by the Rule is to allow Mr. Rasmussen the time to wind down his practice and cease representing clients.
Mr. Rasmussen continued to practice beyond the August 20th deadline. During the period of suspension Rasmussen made thirty-six appearances in seventeen courts. There were eleven cases where Rasmussen entered an appearance on the case after the effective date of his suspension and there were nine cases where he appeared where charges were not even filed against his clients until after the effective date of his suspension. This establishes Mr. Rasmussen was taking on new matters during his suspension.
Rasmussen filed with the Court an affidavit stating that during the period of suspension he had not practiced law. The affidavit was not truthful.
Rasmussen stated in Court that he violated the suspension Order. His position was that because he needed money he had to violate the Order and practice law.
RESIGNATION WITH DISCIPLINE PENDING
On July 14, 2011, the Honorable Christine M. Durham, Chief Justice, Utah Supreme Court, entered an Order Accepting Resignation with Discipline Pending concerning Gary W. Nielsen for violation of Rules 8.4(b) (Misconduct), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
On March 22, 2010, Mr. Nielsen entered a guilty plea to one count of Theft, a second degree felony. Mr. Nielsen was sentenced to one year in the Summit County Jail with six years probation with Adult Probation and Parole, restitution in the amount of $346,248.58, and to not practice law in the State of Utah without the approval of the Utah State Bar.
SUSPENSION
On August 8, 2011, the Honorable Kate A. Toomey, Third District Court, entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order of two-year suspension against John McCoy, for violation of Rules 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property), 8.1(d) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. McCoy did not promptly withdraw earned fees from the trust account and therefore some portion of the money in the trust account belonged to him. By failing to promptly withdraw his earned fees from his trust account, he commingled his funds with client funds. Mr. McCoy had a line of credit attached to the trust account that initiated regular and automatic withdrawals in the amount of $25 per month from his trust account. Such an arrangement is improper. Mr. McCoy did not eliminate the automatic “ready credit” withdrawals until after he had appeared before a Screening Panel of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court.
In December 2008, Mr. McCoy issued a check written against his trust account. On January 29, 2009, there were insufficient funds in the trust account to cover a check Mr. McCoy wrote against the account. Funds belonging to his clients were used to pay monthly automatic loan withdrawals and to pay the fee for the check written against insufficient funds. Mr. McCoy failed to maintain complete account records for the funds in his trust account. There are no trust account ledgers and no client ledgers, and relying on the bank statements is insufficient because they do not provide sufficient information to appropriately manage the trust account.
Mr. McCoy suffered a near-catastrophic injury on January 5, 2009, that rendered him at least partially incapacitated for weeks. Mr. McCoy failed to respond to three demands for information from the OPC. His lack of initial response to the bank notice may be explained to some extent by his January injury, but by the time the OPC contacted him in February, he had returned to work, and by July, Mr. McCoy could have provided additional information, but did not.
Aggravating factors:
Prior record of discipline, multiple offenses, obstruction of the discipline proceedings, refusal to acknowledge the wrongful nature of the misconduct, substantial experience in the practice of law, and lack of a good faith effort to rectify the consequences of the misconduct.
Mitigating factors:
Lack of dishonest or selfish motive, good reputation in the legal community.

Attorney Discipline

Utah State Bar Ethics Hotline
Call the BarÕs Ethics Hotline at (801) 531-9110 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for fast, informal ethics advice. Leave a detailed message describing the problem and within a twenty-four hour workday period a lawyer from the Office of Professional Conduct will give you ethical help about small everyday matters and larger complex issues.

More information about the BarÕs Ethics Hotline may be found at www.utahbar.org/opc/opc_ethics_hotline.html. Information about the formal Ethics Advisory Opinion process can be found at www.utahbar.org/rules_ops_pols/index_of_opinions.html.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On November 4, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Kerry F. Willets for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Willets was hired to seek relief under Chapter 7 of the US Bankruptcy code. Mr. Willets received from his client an executed Reaffirmation Agreement. Mr. Willets claims that the Reaffirmation Agreement was sent to the bank, however, Mr. Willets admitted that he failed to confirm that the bank (1) had received the necessary document and (2) filed it. The failure of having the Reaffirmation filed caused the client to have his car unnecessarily repossessed, to miss work, and to re-open and remedy his bankruptcy action pro se. When notified by the client that the bank repossessed the vehicle, Mr. Willets failed to take any action to rectify the situation and failed to communicate with his client. Mr. Willets did not respond to the OPC’s Notice of Informal Complaint (“NOIC”).
Mitigating factors:
After the client re-opened his own bankruptcy case, Mr. Willets reimbursed fees and costs paid and worked with the client and the bank to relieve the client of any penalties.
Aggravating factors:
Prior record of discipline for similar rule violations; Obstruction of the disciplinary proceeding by failing to comply with the Rules to respond to the OPC’s NOIC.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On October 29, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against James H. Alcala for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Alcala was hired to represent a client in legal matters. Mr. Alcala failed to follow-up with any regularity regarding the scheduling of an interview for his client with the Mexican Consulate, resulting in the client failing to appear. Mr. Alcala failed to return any calls or emails to his clients, demonstrating a severe lack of diligence. Mr. Alcala failed to keep his clients reasonably informed of the status of their immigration case. Mr. Alcala failed to return phone calls. Mr. Alcala required the paralegals in his office to communicate with his client rather than Mr. Alcala having some level of direct contact with his clients. Mr. Alcala failed to timely return the client’s file after it was requested numerous times.
Mitigating factors:
Remoteness and relatively low level of severity of prior offenses and absence of a dishonest or selfish motive.
Aggravating factors:
Prior record of discipline; multiple offenses; and vulnerability of the clients.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On October 29, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against James H. Alcala for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Alcala was hired to represent a client in matters relating to the consular process and obtaining an I-601 waiver. Mr. Alcala failed to act with reasonable diligence in advancing the client’s case. Mr. Alcala failed to timely communicate critical information to the clients, including the fact that the immigration case had been closed. Mr. Alcala failed to keep his client reasonably informed of the status of his immigration case. Mr. Alcala failed to keep his client informed of the progress on his case, including that an interview at the Mexican Consulate had been scheduled, and later, that the case had been dismissed. Mr. Alcala failed to keep his client informed, so that the client could make necessary informed decisions.
Mitigating factors:
Remoteness and relatively low level of severity of prior offenses; absence of a dishonest or selfish motive; and Respondent refunded fees to the Complainants.
Aggravating factors:
Prior record of discipline; multiple offenses; and vulnerability of his client.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On October 29, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against James H. Alcala for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(b) (Communication), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Alcala was hired to provide legal services to a client and the client’s husband in a family-based immigration petition and adjustment of status. The client later signed a second agreement for an appeal on the adverse decision issued in the first matter. Mr. Alcala failed to offer evidence that the labor certification filed by the client’s husband’s employer was approvable when filed, as required by applicable statute. Mr. Alcala failed to provide the court with updated tax returns for the individuals sponsoring the client’s husband, which should have been submitted prior to the trial. Mr. Alcala refused to take the continuance offered by the judge to obtain the necessary tax returns and evidence related to the certification. Mr. Alcala failed to act with diligence by failing to obtain and present the necessary documentation in advance of the trial. Mr. Alcala failed to adequately explain the decisions available to the clients at trial, including failing to explain the consequences of their decisions.
Mitigating factors:
Remoteness and relatively low level of severity of prior offenses; absence of a dishonest or selfish motive; and legitimate belief in the correctness of the legal position taken at trial.
Aggravating factors:
Prior record of discipline; multiple offenses; and vulnerability of the clients.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On October 1, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Matthew G. Nielsen for violation of Rules 8.4(b) (Misconduct), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Nielsen forged prescriptions for a controlled substance. Mr. Nielsen pleaded no contest to a crime of forging prescriptions. Mr. Nielsen’s plea was held in abeyance. Mr. Nielsen successfully completed Drug Court and completed all his urine tests, and Mr. Nielsen attended all hearings. Mr. Nielsen did not harm any clients by his prior drug addiction.
Mitigating factors:
No prior criminal history; no prior discipline history with the OPC; remorse; commitment to continuing drug treatment; and plan for recovery.
RECIPROCAL DISCIPLINE
On October 27, 2010, 2010, the Honorable Keith Kelly, Third Judicial District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.16(a) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. This was a reciprocal discipline order based upon an Order from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
In summary:
An individual filed a pro se notice of appeal and a case was opened with the attorney designated as counsel of record. The attorney was sent a case opening letter containing specific directives with regard to the filing of an entry of appearance, payment of the filing fee, filing a docketing statement, and filing a transcript order form. Instructions were provided as to the obligations under Appellate rules and the attorney was encouraged to contact the court with any questions about operating procedures. No action was taken by the attorney. Later, the court sent the attorney a notice that the attorney had not complied with the court’s directives. The attorney was advised that the attorney had not filed a copy of the transcript order form or a statement of why a transcript was not ordered in compliance with the Appellate rules; the attorney had not filed an entry of appearance as required by the Appellate rules; that the attorney had not filed a docketing statement as required by the Appellate rules; and that the prescribed fee for the appeal had not been paid. The attorney was given an extension of time to perform these obligations. Again, no response of any kind was forthcoming. Later, the court issued an order to the attorney directing the attorney to the attorney’s obligations or be subject to the risk of a disciplinary sanction. Again, no response of any kind was filed. The court subsequently removed the attorney as counsel of record in the appeal due to neglect of the case and failure to comply with court orders. The attorney subsequently filed a response to the show cause order by counsel. The attorney did not dispute the facts that resulted in the Appellate disciplinary proceeding. The attorney asserted, however, that other circumstances should be taken into consideration. Specifically, the attorney asserted that the attorney was under the impression that the attorney had been discharged by the client and that there were no further obligations as to the representation of the client. Respondent acknowledged that the attorney’s understanding of the attorney’s duties was erroneous.
In mitigation the OPC considered the following: personal problems.
INTERIM SUSPENSION
On October 20, 2010, the Honorable Keith Kelly, Third Judicial District Court, entered an Order of Interim Suspension Pursuant to Rule 14-519 of the Rules of Lawyer Discipline and Disability, suspending Gary W. Nielsen from the practice of law pending final disposition of the Complaint filed against him.
In summary:
On March 22, 2010, Mr. Nielsen entered a guilty plea to one count of theft, a 2nd degree felony. Based on that guilty plea, on July 26, 2010, a Judgment and Commitment was entered against Mr. Nielsen. The interim suspension is based upon the felony conviction.
INTERIM SUSPENSION
On October 18, 2010, the Honorable Denise P. Lindberg, Third Judicial District Court, entered an Order of Interim Suspension pursuant to Rule 14-519 of the Rules of Lawyer Discipline and Disability, suspending Stephen T. Hard from the practice of law pending final disposition of the Complaint filed against him.
In summary:
On December 3, 2009, Mr. Hard was found guilty of one count of conspiracy and eight counts of wire fraud, aiding and abetting, all felonies. The Judgment and Probation/Commitment Order based on the guilty verdict was entered June 23, 2010. The interim suspension is based upon the felony convictions.
PROBATION
On October 13, 2010, the Honorable Denise P. Lindberg, Third District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Probation against Nathan Drage for violation of Rules 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.7(a)(2) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients), 1.8(a)(1) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules), 1.8(a)(2) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(b) (Safekeeping Property), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Drage and an individual have had an attorney-client relationship on previous legal matters. Mr. Drage and the individual have had business dealings in the past where there was no attorney-client relationship. The individual and his wife were served with a Complaint from a credit card company. Mr. Drage agreed to represent the individual and his wife in the credit card matter. Mr. Drage decided on a strategy allowing entry of a Default Judgment against the individual and his wife. Mr. Drage did not inform or explain the basis of his strategy to the individual or his wife. Mr. Drage also represented the individual in connection with a merger. The individual was promised 15,000 shares of stock from the merger. The individual received 10,000 shares. The individual sued for the remaining 5000 shares. The suit could not be handled by Mr. Drage because Mr. Drage had business dealings with the principals involved in the merger. Mr. Drage did not clarify the terms of his various business transactions with his clients. Mr. Drage did not disclose in writing information necessary to clarify the business relationships in a manner that could be understood by his clients. Mr. Drage did not inform his client in writing of the desirability of seeking independent legal counsel on the business transactions. Mr. Drage did not keep client funds related to a legal matter in a separate account. Mr. Drage intermingled his own funds with his legal client’s funds. Mr. Drage did not segregate business funds from funds related to his legal practice; examples of this are nine checks written on Mr. Drage’s trust account were returned for insufficient funds.
DISBARMENT
On September 16, 2010, the Honorable Robert Faust, Third District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Disbarment against Reed R. Braithwaite for violation of Rules 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 8.4(b) (Misconduct), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Braithwaite represented a client’s son in a personal injury case. Mr. Braithwaite effectuated a settlement in the personal injury case and received settlement funds. Mr. Braithwaite deposited the settlement funds in his attorney trust account. Mr. Braithwaite then proceeded to transfer the settlement funds from his attorney trust account to his operating account. Mr. Braithwaite transferred money to pay his attorneys fees. Mr. Braithwaite transferred money to pay a medical lien regarding the client’s case. Mr. Braithwaite anticipated money from his federal income tax refund. Mr. Braithwaite removed the remaining settlement funds from his trust account to pay operating expenses. Mr. Braithwaite loaned himself money from his trust account with the intent of paying back the money from his receipt of his tax refund. The tax refund was intercepted due to Mr. Braithwaite’s delinquent student loan accounts, thus Mr. Braithwaite never received his federal income tax refund. Mr. Braithwaite was unable to give his clients the amount due to them under the settlement agreement. Mr. Braithwaite transferred the client’s remaining settlement amount from his trust account to pay his expenses without the permission of the client.

Attorney Discipline

RESIGNATION WITH DISCIPLINE PENDING
On April 14, 2010, the Honorable Christine M. Durham, Chief Justice, Utah Supreme Court, entered an Order Accepting Resignation with Discipline Pending concerning R. Bradley Neff for violation of Rules 8.4(b) (Misconduct), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
On September 23, 2008, Mr. Neff entered into a plea in abeyance to three Class A Misdemeanor counts of Attempted Failure to Render a Proper Tax Return. Mr. Neff was required to complete 40 hours of community service and pay restitution of $13,936.37 in addition to the $197,139.57 previously paid.
SUSPENSION
On March 11, 2010, the Honorable Denise Lindberg, Third District Court entered an Order of Discipline: Suspension for one year and Probation for one year against David VanCampen for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.5(b) (Fees), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary there are two matters:
In the first matter, Mr. VanCampen was retained to file modification papers in a divorce and custody case. Mr. VanCampen was paid and provided with the client’s information. Almost a month later, the client initiated contact with Mr. VanCampen at which time he reported that he lost the information that his client had provided and requested it be provided again. The client provided the information to Mr. VanCampen a second time. Mr. VanCampen failed to file any papers with the court on the case. The client attempted to contact Mr. VanCampen on numerous occasions. Mr. VanCampen failed to return all but three of her calls. During the three calls, Mr. VanCampen provided no real assistance and made promises to perform services that were never performed. Mr. VanCampen failed to return his client’s file, provide an accounting, or return unearned fees to his client. Mr. VanCampen failed to provide meaningful legal services necessary to prosecute his client’s case. Mr. VanCampen was served a Notice of Informal Complaint (“NOIC”), but failed to timely respond.
In the second matter, Mr. VanCampen was hired to file documents to seal the client’s case and attempt to negotiate an expungement. The client called Mr. VanCampen’s office several times, but did not receive a call back. Mr. VanCampen’s assistant told the client that there was a hearing scheduled. When the client appeared for the hearing, Mr. VanCampen did not appear. Mr. VanCampen failed to contact the client to explain what was going on in the case despite numerous calls by the client to speak with him. Mr. VanCampen failed to return unearned fees to his client, failed to return his client’s file, and failed to provide the legal services for which he was hired. Mr. VanCampen was served a NOIC, but failed to timely respond.
Aggravating circumstances include: prior record of discipline; pattern of misconduct; multiple offenses; and substantial experience in the practice of law.
Mitigating circumstances include: personal or emotional problems.
ADMONITION
On May 10, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 5.3(a) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), 5.3(b) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney was informed by a friend that a couple wanted to petition the Court to obtain the excess proceeds from a foreclosure sale. The attorney was never retained by the couple. The attorney prepared a pleading and signed it as if he were representing the couple. The attorney delegated to the attorney’s non-lawyer assistant the responsibility of filing the pleading. The attorney used the non-lawyer’s address and phone number on the pleading. The attorney made no reasonable efforts to ensure the non-lawyer acted responsibly under the Rules of Professional Conduct. By failing to supervise the nonlawyer, the attorney exposed another party and the legal system to potential injury by causing a contested action where there was no dispute. The attorney had adequate time and opportunity to correct the misconduct, but did not.
ADMONITION
On May 10, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property), 7.5(a) (Firm Names and Letterheads), 7.5(d) (Firm Names and Letterheads), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
An attorney retained a law firm to assist in a case involving division of real estate transaction fees. The attorney handled the client’s matter due to the partner in the firm going on inactive status. The attorney failed to timely prepare, file and provide to the client, a complaint in the matter. The attorney failed to alert the client that the attorney would be unavailable or unable to complete the complaint in the specified time period. The attorney failed to notify to the client that the attorney had removed part of the retainer from the trust account as earned fees. The attorney had earned those fees; however, the attorney failed to timely account for the fees and provide invoicing to the client. The attorney’s letterhead and firm name that were utilized were somewhat misleading because the partner was not practicing in a partnership at that time.
ADMONITION
On May 10, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 7.5(a) (Firm Names and Letterheads), 7.5(d) (Firm Names and Letterheads), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
A client spoke to a partner in a firm about retaining the partner to assist in a legal matter. The partner was going on inactive status and referred the case to the other partner within the firm. At the time of initial contact with the client, the attorney utilized a letterhead and firm name indicating two partners within the firm. The attorney used that letterhead a significant portion of the time during which time the attorney was in contact with the client. The attorney’s letterhead and firm name were somewhat misleading, due to the partner not being in a partnership.
SUSPENSION
The United States District Court for the District of Utah has entered an order suspending D. Scott Berrett from the practice of law in the federal court for a period of 90 days, commencing June 10, 2010. Mr. Berrett failed to communicate with a client in a criminal case and failed to respond to the request of the magistrate judge to meet regarding the criminal case.
CLARIFICATION
There are two Bruce Nelsons licensed with the Utah State Bar. In the last edition of the Bar Journal, the attorney discipline listed a Public Reprimand for Bruce L. Nelson, not to be confused with Bruce J. Nelson who has not been disciplined.

Attorney Discipline

Since the publication of the Jan/Feb issue of the Utah Bar Journal, there has been some discussion among members of the Bar regarding a notice in the Attorney Discipline section. That notice concerned a respondent’s reliance upon an opinion issued by the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee. To provide some clarification to this discussion, the OPC is printing this letter, which was the source material for the disciplinary note:

April 5, 2007
Augustus G. Chin, President
Utah State Bar
Dear Gus:
At a recent court conference, the justices discussed the treatment of opinions issued by the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee of the Utah State Bar and reviewed your letter of December 8, 2006, as well as the memoranda prepared by Gary Sackett and Billy Walker.
As you know, lawyer discipline is a Supreme Court responsibility. The Office of Professional Conduct (ÒOPCÓ) works under the CourtÕs direction and regularly reports to it. The Court expects the OPC to take action whenever it believes a disciplinary rule has been violated. It is the CourtÕs view that the OPC cannot adequately perform this function if it is bound by the opinions issued by the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee.
The Court values and appreciates the excellent work of the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee. It has relied upon the committeeÕs analysis and substantive research in the past, and it will continue to do so in the future. As I stated in my letter to you of August 10, 2006, the Court believes that a lawyer who acts in accordance with an opinion issued by the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee should enjoy a rebuttable presumption of having abided by the Rules of Professional Conduct. However, that presumption should not be conclusive, and it is important for the Court to have the opportunity to address interpretations of the Rules of Discipline about which there may be uncertainty.
In view of its position, the Court requests the Bar Commission to make whatever changes are necessary to the rules governing the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee to provide that the committeeÕs opinions are advisory only.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Sincerely,
Christine M. Durham
Chief Justice
cc: Billy Walker
John Baldwin
ADMONITION
On March 24, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.8(h) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules), 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
A client retained an attorney to assist in having the clientÕs sister appointed as personal representative of the clientÕs late fatherÕs estate and to help resolve estate issues. The attorney did not act with reasonable diligence or promptness in accomplishing these objectives. The attorney claimed the lack of diligence was because the client did not want to pay the attorney to accomplish this task. The attorneyÕs claim was undermined by the fact that within days of the client obtaining a new lawyer, the clientÕs sister was appointed the personal representative of the estate. The attorney did not accomplish in four months what the clientÕs new attorney did in three days. The attorneyÕs fee agreement with the client contains a provision that prospectively limits the attorneyÕs potential liability for malpractice. The client had no opportunity to seek advice of separate counsel on that provision. In this case, the attorney charged the client a retainer, which was deposited in the attorneyÕs operati g account.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On February 10, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Brian W. Steffensen for violation of Rules 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.5(b) (Fees), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Steffensen met with a potential client for a free consultation. The client met with Mr. Steffensen for a second time and paid for the consultation. Mr. Steffensen did not explain the terms of his retention. Mr. Steffensen charged his client and failed to perform any meaningful work on the case. In this respect, Mr. Steffensen did not file a response to a lawsuit that had been filed against his client and failed to file for a continuance of an upcoming court hearing.
Aggravating factor: dishonest or selfish motive.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On February 9, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Bruce L. Nelson for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 4.2(a) (Communications with Persons Represented by Counsel), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Nelson was hired to represent a client in a divorce matter. Mr. Nelson failed to respond to a counterclaim made against his client. Mr. Nelson failed to respond to a Motion for Entry of the Divorce Decree and a Default Judgment was entered against his client. Mr. Nelson counseled his client to give up certain rights with respect to a Protective Order. Mr. Nelson failed to communicate with his client when representing the client and then tried to contact his former client without the consent or permission of his clientÕs new attorney after the client hired someone else. The client incurred significant attorneyÕs fees as a result of Mr. NelsonÕs actions. Mr. Nelson also failed to respond to OPCÕs lawful request for information.
Aggravating factors: failure to cooperate with the OPC, prior record of discipline.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On February 9, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Franklin R. Brussow for violation of Rules 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. On March 11, 2010, Mr. Brussow filed a Petition/Request for Review with the Utah Supreme Court.
In summary:
Mr. Brussow was hired to represent a client in court. Mr. Brussow failed to provide an accounting to his client when one was requested. Mr. Brussow could not completely account for his fees and did not know how much his client had paid. Mr. BrussowÕs billing records were inadequate and incomplete. Mr. Brussow failed to provide his client the file upon request. Mr. Brussow failed to provide his clientÕs file to his clientÕs new attorney when it was requested of him. Mr. Brussow held his clientÕs file while demanding payment of a third-party bill by his client in exchange for the file.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On March 18, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Roberto G. Culas for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 5.3(a) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), 5.3(b) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Culas was the managing attorney in many cases he had with the Workers Compensation Fund. Mr. Culas admitted that he lacked the requisite skill and knowledge to handle Worker Compensation cases. Mr. CulasÕ paralegal was assisting Mr. Culas in the Workers Compensation matters. Mr. Culas failed to have sufficient measures and training in place to ensure his paralegalÕs conduct was professional and compatible with the Rules of Professional Conduct. The paralegalÕs conduct included holding himself out as an attorney. The paralegal demanded information he was not entitled to by law.
Aggravating factor: Mr. CulasÕ prior disciplinary history.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On March 24, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against J. Kent Holland for violation of Rules 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Holland received funds from a client who hired an associate in his office. Mr. Holland deposited the funds into his client trust account. At one point the associate attorney left the office and took the client and client file with him. The young associate requested the unearned funds left in the account. Mr. Holland sent the check to the associate but did not let the client know what had happened to the funds. The client, on several occasions, requested accounting of the funds from Mr. Holland. Mr. Holland failed to provide the client with an accounting or refund. Mr. Holland failed to explain to the client what had happened to the funds in the trust account or provide any documentation for more than a year. Mr. Holland failed to respond to the OPC after requests were made and failed to provide the necessary documentation establishing what happened to the clientÕs funds, until he presented the documentation to the Screening Panel of the Ethics and Discipline Committee.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On March 24, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against S. Austin Johnson for violation of Rules 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Johnson was hired to assist a client in obtaining a labor certification. Mr. Johnson failed to communicate with his client. Mr. Johnson failed to keep his client informed about the progress of the case. The client tried repeatedly to reach Mr. Johnson, but was never successful. Mr. Johnson only communicated with the client after the client filed the Bar complaint against him. Mr. Johnson failed to notify his client of the relocation of his office. Mr. Johnson failed to comply with reasonable requests for filing materials. Mr. Johnson did not provide key documents to the client until the day of the Screening Panel Hearing of the Ethics and Discipline Committee. Mr. Johnson failed to provide the entire file to the client as requested. The Panel found injury in that the client has had to hire another lawyer and pay additional, substantial fees.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On March 24, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against S. Austin Johnson for violation of Rules 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Johnson represented several patients of a clinic in connection with vehicular accidents. Mr. Johnson failed to timely notify the doctor at the clinic of settlements with clients for which the doctor had provided medical services. Mr. Johnson failed to disburse funds owed to the doctor and the clinic when the cases were settled by his office and only provided funds to the clinic after the Bar complaint was filed against him. Mr. Johnson failed to provide an accounting to the doctor even after several requests. Mr. Johnson failed to respond to the OPCÕs request for information. Mr. Johnson caused injury to the clinic, the doctor, and to his clients by his failure to disburse the funds in a timely fashion.
INTERIM SUSPENSION
On January 26, 2010, the Honorable Paul G. Maughan, Third Judicial District Court, entered an Order of Interim Suspension Pursuant to Rule 14-519 of the Rules of Lawyer Discipline and Disability, suspending Jeffrey M. Gallup from the practice of law pending final disposition of the Complaint filed against him.
In summary:
On January 22, 2009, Mr. Gallup entered a no contest plea to one count of Violation of a Protective Order, a 3rd degree felony. On April 30, 2009, Mr. Gallup entered a guilty plea to one count of Violation of a Protective Order, a 3rd degree felony. On June 30, 2009, Mr. Gallup entered a guilty plea to one count of Violation of a Protective Order, a 3rd degree felony. On August 18, 2009, Mr. Gallup entered a guilty plea to two counts of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol/Drugs. The interim suspension is based upon the felony convictions.
RESIGNATION WITH DISCIPLINE PENDING
On February 24, 2010, the Honorable Christine M. Durham, Chief Justice, Utah Supreme Court, entered an Order Accepting Resignation with Discipline Pending concerning Richard D. Wyss II for violation of Rules 8.4(b) (Misconduct), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
On December 1, 2008, Mr. Wyss pleaded guilty to one count of Making a False Statement, a felony, pursuant to United States Code 18 ¤ 1001(a)(2). Mr. Wyss was sentenced to 36 months probation, $100 assessment, $188,548.92 in restitution, and the performance of 300 hours of community service.
SUSPENSION
On March 9, 2010, the Honorable Bruce Lubeck, Third District Court entered an Order of Discipline: Suspension for three years against Brian R. Rayve for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Rayve was retained by a client to perform some trademark work. Mr. Rayve was paid but failed to perform any substantive work on the case. Mr. Rayve failed to provide an accounting to his client. Mr. Rayve sent his client an email asking for information so he could do the work on the case. The client had previously provided all of the information necessary to do the work. When his client requested a refund of the fee paid, Mr. Rayve refused to refund any portion of the fee. Mr. Rayve failed to respond to the Notice of Informal Complaint. Mr. Rayve failed to attend the Screening Panel Hearing of the Ethics and Discipline Committee.
Aggravating circumstances include: a pattern of misconduct; refusal to acknowledge the wrongful nature of the misconduct; a lack of good faith effort to make restitution or to rectify the consequences of the misconduct involved (including filing papers with a tribunal while suspended); substantial experience in the practice of law; a prior record of discipline; and obstruction of the disciplinary proceeding by intentionally failing to comply with rules or orders of the disciplinary authority.
SUSPENSION
On February 24, 2010, the Honorable Tyrone E. Medley, Third District Court entered an Order of Discipline: Suspension for three years beginning June 1, 2010, against Justin K. Roberts for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.15(b) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 3.2 (Expediting Litigation), 8.1(a) and (b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary there are six matters:
Mr. Roberts was hired to represent clients in a lawsuit, to raise counterclaim issues, and to bring a different civil lawsuit against another party. Mr. Roberts failed to enter his appearance in one of the civil matters. Mr. Roberts did not pursue the other civil matter and did not timely explain his case strategy to his client. The client contacted Mr. Roberts for a status update. Mr. Roberts failed to keep his client informed about the status of his cases. When the representation was terminated, the client requested a refund and an accounting of the retainer. Mr. Roberts failed to timely provide his client with an accounting of the retainer fees. Mr. Roberts did not refund any of the retainer. Mr. Roberts failed to file a notice of withdrawal in one of the civil cases. Mr. Roberts did not forward notice of the Order to Show Cause to his former client which Mr. Roberts received after his services were terminated. Mr. Roberts failed to timely respond to the OPCÕs Notice of Informal Complaint (ÒNOICÓ).
In another matter, Mr. Roberts was hired to defend a client against a domestic violence charge and represent the client in a divorce. Mr. Roberts informed the client that he would reset the arraignment hearing. At the next meeting, Mr. Roberts advised the client he did not need to attend the arraignment and gave the client a new court date. Mr. Roberts did not obtain an Order from the court continuing the arraignment. Mr. Roberts did not attend the arraignment and the court issued a bench warrant for his client. After reaching a stipulated settlement in the divorce, the court directed Mr. Roberts to file an Affidavit of Jurisdiction and Grounds along with the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decree of Divorce. Mr. Roberts did not timely file the paperwork needed to finalize the divorce matter. Mr. Roberts failed to return his clientÕs calls for status information about the divorce. When the client was able to find Mr. Roberts, Mr. Roberts informed the client that he filed the documents requested by the court but the court lost the documents and he would re-file them. By the time of the filing of the informal Bar complaint against Mr. Roberts, the documents requested by the court had not been filed with the court. Mr. Roberts failed to timely respond to the OPCÕs NOIC.
In another matter, Mr. Roberts was hired to represent a client in a divorce. Mr. Roberts did not timely file a petition for divorce and serve it. Mr. Roberts informed the client that he would reset the Order to Show Cause Hearing for another date with the court. Mr. Roberts informed the client that he changed the hearing date with the court and that he did not need to appear in court. Mr. Roberts did not file a Motion to Continue the Order to Show Cause Hearing with the court and did not appear for the hearing. At the Order to Show Cause Hearing, the court granted the requests of the clientÕs spouse based on Mr. RobertsÕ clientÕs failure to appear. Mr. Roberts failed to answer his clientÕs requests for information about the case. Mr. Roberts failed to explain to his client the options regarding setting aside the Order from the Order to Show Cause Hearing. The client gave Mr. RobertsÕ office a letter from the Office of Recovery Services (ÒORSÓ) regarding unpaid child support. Mr. Roberts failed to timely contact his client about the ORS letter. Mr. Roberts failed to timely respond to the OPCÕs NOIC.
In another matter, Mr. Roberts was hired to pursue a tort claim. Since his clientÕs claims were based on repressed memories of abuse as a child, an expert witness would be needed to testify concerning the clientÕs repressed memories to prove the claim. Mr. Roberts failed to fully research expert witnesses to prepare the case prior to filing the complaint. Mr. Roberts requested that the prison officials serve the defendant in prison but he failed to timely follow up to ensure that the correct inmate had been served. Mr. Roberts failed to obtain a certificate of service of the summons or other proof of service on the defendant. Mr. Roberts failed to file any proof of service of the summons in the case. Mr. Roberts failed to return his clientÕs telephone calls for information about the status of the case. The court dismissed the complaint for failure to prosecute. Mr. Roberts failed to inform his client about the dismissal of his complaint. Without consulting with his client about the dismissal and re-filing of the complaint, Mr. Roberts re-filed the complaint. Mr. Roberts failed to take the steps necessary to perfect service of process within the 120 days after the filing of the second complaint. Mr. Roberts failed to explain to the client the ramifications of failing to timely complete service of process of the second complaint. Mr. Roberts failed to timely respond to the OPCÕs NOIC.
In another matter, Mr. Roberts was hired to continue work on a pending tort case. Opposing counsel filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to prosecute. The client paid Mr. Roberts a flat fee for the tort case. The client gave Mr. Roberts a signed and notarized statement for Mr. Roberts to immediately file with the court. Mr. Roberts did not file the notarized document with the court. Mr. Roberts did not enter an appearance of counsel for the tort case and failed to respond to the Motion to Dismiss to preserve his clientÕs claim. Mr. Roberts did not request an extension of time to respond to the Motion to Dismiss from opposing counsel or the court. Mr. Roberts did not keep his client informed about the case. The client called Mr. Roberts several times for information about the case. Mr. Roberts did not return his clientÕs voicemail messages. The client learned from the court that the case had been dismissed with prejudice for failure to prosecute. The client requested that Mr. Roberts refund the attorneyÕs fees that were paid and return the clientÕs file. He did not refund any of the attorneyÕs fees he collected, nor did he return the file to the client. Mr. Roberts made material misrepresentations to the Screening Panel of the Ethics and Discipline Committee in response to the clientÕs complaint regarding discussions he had with his client and documents he claimed to have given to his client.
In the last matter, Mr. Roberts was hired to represent a client in an adoption and termination of parental rights matter for a child in the clientÕs care. Mr. Roberts verbally agreed to handle the case for a flat fee plus costs. During the initial meeting, Mr. Roberts discussed filing a motion with the court for alternate service. Mr. Roberts misrepresented to the client that he filed the adoption petition and a Motion for Alternate Service for the birth parents with the Third District Court around February 2007. The client called Mr. Roberts multiple times to inquire when the birth mother would be served. Mr. Roberts failed to return most of his clientÕs requests for information about the case. Mr. Roberts misrepresented to the client that the judge had approved the motion for alternate service before it was filed. Mr. Roberts did not give his client the case number or the judge assigned to the case upon the clientÕs request. Months later, Mr. Roberts informed his client that the court clerks had lost the paperwork, so he would have to re-file the case. The client paid Mr. Roberts cash for publication of the summons upon Mr. RobertÕs request. Mr. Roberts did not place the legal notice. The client terminated Mr. RobertsÕ representation. By the time the representation was terminated, Mr. Roberts had filed the petition and alternate service motion and was awaiting the courtÕs ruling regarding the motion. The client requested a full refund of the fees paid for Mr. RobertsÕ legal fees and the costs paid for publication of the summons. The client also requested the return of the file. Mr. Roberts refused to refund any of the fees and failed to refund the money paid for the publication of the summons. Mr. Roberts failed to provide his client the file.

Attorney Discipline

ADMONITION
On September 17, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 4.2(a) (Communication with Persons Represented by Counsel) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct).

In summary:
An attorney was contacted by a minor whose parents were involved in a divorce proceeding in district court. The minor informed the attorney that the minor had been appointed a Guardian ad Litem (GAL), though the minor had not heard from the GAL in over two years. The minor asked the attorney for representation in the district court proceeding. The attorney researched the possibility of representation, and reviewed Ethics Advisory Opinion 07-02. That opinion addresses the situation that the attorney was presented with, and advises that in the case of a mature minor, an attorney may speak with the minor even without the permission of the GAL and not violate Rule 4.2. The attorney spoke again to the minor after conducting research. The attorney filed a Notice of Appearance in the case. The GAL filed a Motion to Strike Notice of Appearance of Counsel. The attorney conducted further research to determine if the minor was a “mature minor” as described in the ethics opinion. The attorney filed a response to the motion to strike. A pretrial hearing was held where the attorney’s representation was discussed. The attorney asked to withdraw from the case after the representation was challenged by the father’s counsel and the GAL. The court removed the attorney from the case, struck all of the pleadings that had been filed, and chastised the attorney for what had been done. The court stated that the attorney’s actions were “wrong,” “out of line,” “unethical,” and “inappropriate.” The attorney followed all orders of the court.
The Rules of Procedure for the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee (“EAOC”) state: “A lawyer who acts in accordance with an ethics advisory opinion enjoys a rebuttable presumption of having abided by the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.” The Utah Supreme Court has advised that it expects the OPC to take action whenever it believes a disciplinary rule has been violated and that the OPC cannot adequately perform that function if it is bound by the opinions issued by the EAOC. As was the case in this matter, the opinions are advisory, and the presumption that an attorney who follows an opinion has not violated a Rule is rebuttable and inconclusive.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On November 13, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Larry N. Long for violation of Rules 5.3(a) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), Rule 5.5 (Unauthorized practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Long was hired by the complainant to represent a client on a violation of a Protective Order. The complainant originally met with a non-lawyer working for Mr. Long, on April 18, 2007. The complainant paid a $750 retainer fee to the non-lawyer. After Mr. Long failed to appear at a court hearing the complainant called Mr. Long to inquire about his failure to appear and spoke to the non-lawyer. After Mr. Long failed to appear at the next hearing scheduled, the complainant called to speak with Mr. Long and again only spoke with the non-lawyer. At one point, the non-lawyer planned to serve as a mediator for the parties in this dispute, while Mr. Long represented the client and while the non-lawyer was employed by Mr. Long. The non-lawyer prepared a mediation settlement document and sent it to opposing counsel for signature. The complainant was led to believe that the non-lawyer was an attorney. Mr. Long failed to effect measures to make reasonably certain that the non-lawyer as his employee complied with the Rules of Professional Conduct. Mr. Long failed to adequately supervise the non-lawyer’s activities to insure the non-lawyer was not engaging in the Unauthorized Practice of Law. Mr. Long allowed the non-lawyer to appear in court, contact an opposing party and conduct mediation proceedings at Mr. Long’s office.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On November 10, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against David C. VanCampen for violation of Rules 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. VanCampen represented a client who was charged with three misdemeanors. Mr. VanCampen failed to appear at two bench trials. Mr. VanCampen failed to notify his client that he was leaving the firm where he had been employed and that he was no longer representing the client. Mr. VanCampen failed to withdraw as counsel and failed to make sufficient arrangements to protect his client after terminating the representation. Mitigating factors included: Respondent’s stated intent not to resume the practice of law and Respondent’s apparent lack of intent to harm his client. Aggravating factors included: Respondent’s extensive disciplinary history and pattern of misconduct.
RECIPROCAL DISCIPLINE
On July 23, 2009, the Honorable Kate A. Toomey, Third District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Timothy Barnes for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (Communication), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. This was a reciprocal discipline order based upon a Nebraska Supreme Court order of discipline.
In summary:
The Nebraska Supreme Court found that Mr. Barnes accepted a flat-fee of $1500, plus $500 for expenses to obtain tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in February 2006. Mr. Barnes never completed the application. After several months had gone by, Mr. Barnes contacted the corporation to request additional information. When the corporation attempted to get clarification, they found that Mr. Barnes had moved to Utah without notifying the corporation. In January 2007, the corporation asked for Mr. Barnes to refund the money.
The Nebraska Counsel for discipline filed formal charges against Mr. Barnes in June 2007. After charges were filed Mr. Barnes refunded $1500 and promised to refund the remainder, however at the time of the hearing he had not refunded the remainder.
The Nebraska Supreme Court found that Mr. Barnes failed to complete the matter and failed to notify the non-profit corporation that he was unable to do so. He failed to return any of the money the corporation paid for his fees and expenses until after the Counsel for Discipline had filed formal charges against him. The Nebraska Supreme Court also found that the evidence did not show that Mr. Barnes repaid the full amount of his unearned fee. In mitigation, the Nebraska Supreme Court found that during some of the time that Mr. Barnes neglected his client’s legal matter, he was contending with a series of personal and family health issues and that he cooperated with the Counsel for Discipline, admitted most of the allegations in the formal charges and acknowledged responsibility for his actions. There was no record of other complaints against Mr. Barnes and he was no longer engaged in the private practice of law.
INTERIM SUSPENSION
On October 20, 2009, the Honorable Vernice S. Trease, Third Judicial District Court, entered an Order of Interim Suspension Pursuant to Rule 14-519 of the Rules of Lawyer Discipline and Disability, suspending Richard D. Wyss II from the practice of law pending final disposition of the Complaint filed against him.
In summary:
On December 1, 2008, Mr. Wyss pleaded guilty to Making a False Statement, a felony, United States Code Annotated § 1001(a)(2). The interim suspension is based upon the felony conviction.=

Attorney Discipline

Attorney Discipline
ADMONITION
On August 10, 2009, the Vice-Chair of the Ethics and Discipline
Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of
Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules
1.1 (Competence), 1.6(a) (Confidentiality of Information), and
8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
An attorney was hired to represent a client in a domestic matter
even though the attorney had not practiced in that area for over
two decades. The attorney did not have sufficient skills to provide
the representation necessary in the domestic case. When the
attorney filed a Motion to Withdraw, the attorney attached a
letter in which confidential and possibly prejudicial information
was disclosed.
ADMONITION
On August 1, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline
Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of
Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of
Rules 1.8(a) (Conflict of Interest: Prohibited Transactions) and
1.8(b) (Conflict of Interest: Prohibited Transactions) of the
Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:

An attorney had a tax and estate-planning practice, and upon
learning that several of the clients were seeking investments,
the attorney referred those clients to an investment fund as a
viable investment opportunity. As fund manager, the attorney
had a business or financial interest in the fund, since the fund
manager’s proposed compensation was based on the value
of fund assets, or investments. Every investor, including the
client-investors, was required to execute standard investment
agreements prior to investing in the fund. The attorney failed to
advise client-investors, in a separate writing, of the desirability
of seeking advice from independent counsel and failed to allow
them a reasonable opportunity seek such independent advice.
The attorney failed to obtain client-investor’s informed consent
to essential terms of the transaction, in a separate writing.

ADMONITION

On August 1, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee
of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline:
Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.15(a)
(Safekeeping Property), 1.15(b) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(c)
(Safekeeping Property), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), and
8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The Office of Professional Conduct received notice from a financial
institution that a check written against an attorney’s client trust
account created an overdraft against the trust account. The check
was not written on behalf of a client, but was instead written
against either fees earned or expenses incurred, and was used
by the attorney to purchase personal or business items. A
review of the attorney’s trust account records indicates that there
have been occasions in the past, when there existed significant
discrepancies between the expected balance and actual balance
of funds held in the client trust account. The attorney failed to
hold the clients’ advanced payments of fees separate from the
attorney’s property. The attorney failed to maintain complete
and accurate records of funds held in the client trust account.
The attorney failed to clearly identify the funds held in the trust
account as funds belonging to, and being held on behalf of,
each of the clients. The attorney failed to properly manage the
trust account. The attorney kept personal funds in the client
trust account in an amount exceeding that necessary to pay
regular bank service charges on the account. The attorney failed
to hold advance fees in the trust account, and to withdraw funds
only as fees were earned, or as expenses were incurred.

ADMONITION

On August 1, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee
of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline:
Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 4.2(a)
(Communication with Persons Represented by Counsel) and
8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney represented a client in a divorce proceeding. The
attorney was aware that the opposing party was represented by counsel. The attorney contacted the opposing party on two
occasions without consent from that party’s attorney.

RECIPROCAL DISCIPLINE

On August 14, 2009, the Honorable Bruce Lubeck, Third District
Court entered an Order of Discipline: Suspension for two years
against Brian R. Rayve for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence),
1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.3 (Diligence), 8.4(b)
(Misconduct), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and
8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
On October 8, 2008, the United States Patent and Trademark
Office (“USPTO”) through its disciplinary process entered an
Order suspending Mr. Rayve from practicing law for two years.
On February 17, 2009, the Supreme Court of Ohio through its
disciplinary process issued an Order of reciprocal discipline
against Mr. Rayve suspending him from the practice of law for
two years. Mr. Rayve was the attorney of record for numerous U.S.
Patent applications, which he filed with the USPTO on behalf
of a client. Along with the petitions and other filings, Mr. Rayve
mailed checks made payable to the order of “Commissioner
for Patents.” Fifteen checks that Mr. Rayve sent to the USPTO
were returned unpaid due to insufficient funds. On numerous
occasions the USPTO mailed Mr. Rayve notices of abandonment
of the applications for having failed to file a timely response to
notices of abandonment, Mr. Rayve failed to respond timely and
pay the application fees. In one case, Mr. Rayve filed a notice of
appeal and a “Petition for Revival of Unintentionally Abandoned
Patent Application.” According to the petition, Mr. Rayve contacted
the USPTO and learned that the application had become abandoned
based on his failure to include the proper fee in his petition.
Upon information and belief, the client did not consent to the
abandonment of the application or other filings. In one case, the
USPTO granted the petition and informed Mr. Ryave of the two-month
period for filing an appeal brief. The USPTO later informed Mr.
Rayve that the appeal had been dismissed because he did not
timely file the appeal brief, and, consequently, (the application
had become abandoned because there were no allowable claims).
Upon information and belief, the client did not consent to the
abandonment of the application or other filings.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On August 1, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline
Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of
Discipline: Public Reprimand against David G. Turcotte for
violation of Rules 1.15(b) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(c)
(Safekeeping Property) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules
of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
A company represented by Mr. Turcotte, entered into a third
party security agreement (“the Agreement”) with a bank. The
Agreement assigned a security interest to the bank and rights
to proceeds received by the company in a lawsuit wherein the
company was a plaintiff. Mr. Turcotte represented the company
throughout the lawsuit. Mr. Turcotte was aware of the existence,
terms and conditions of the Agreement. Even so, Mr. Turcotte
obtained a judgment in the lawsuit in favor of the company and
received funds on behalf of the company. Mr. Turcotte determined
that the bank was not owed any monies from the settlement proceeds
and disbursed the remainder of the settlement proceeds to third
parties other than the bank. In one case, he disbursed funds
that directly benefited entities owned or in the control of Mr.
Turcotte. Mr. Turcotte disbursed the money without notifying the
bank of receipt of the settlement funds.
DISBARMENT
On July 2, 2009, the Honorable James R. Taylor, Fourth District
Court entered an Order of Discipline: Disbarment against Richard J.
Culbertson for violations of Rules 8.4(b) (Misconduct), 8.4(c)
(Misconduct) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional
Conduct.
In summary:
On June 19, 2008, Mr. Culbertson pled guilty to three counts of
Communications Fraud, in violation of Utah Code section 76-10-1801,
second-degree felonies, and one count of Pattern of Unlawful
Activity, Utah Code section 76-10-1601, a second-degree felony.
Mr. Culbertson was sentenced to incarceration for a period of not
less than one year nor more than fifteen years in the Utah State
Prison. Mr. Culberston was ordered to pay restitution in the
amount of $1,149,544.89 plus interest.

Attorney Discipline

ADMONITION
On April 17, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 5.3(b) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In Summary:
An attorney was hired to represent a client in a Social Security Administration matter. After the briefing schedule was set, the attorney missed the first deadline to file the brief on behalf of
the client. The attorney asked for an extension and was givenone. The attorney missed the deadline and asked for extensions six additional times. Ultimately, when the brief was not filed after the seventh extension of time, the Commissioner filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to prosecute the claim. The attorney did not respond to the Motion to Dismiss on behalf of the client. The attorney failed to notify his client of the Motion to Dismiss. The case was dismissed. Although the attorney filed an appeal of the dismissal, the U.S. District Court upheld the dismissal. The attorney’s explanation for not filing the pleadings was that he
had delegated preparation of the documents to his paralegal.

ADMONITION
On April 10, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 5.3(a) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), Rule 5.5(a) (Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In Summary:
An attorney assisted a nonlawyer in the unauthorized practice of law. The attorney acknowledged that the nonlawyer had been in trouble in the past for the unauthorized practice of law. The attorney was aware that the nonlawyer was using business cards with the words “Legal Representative” on them. In spite of this, the attorney agreed to meet with the “clients” of the nonlawyer. The attorney was aware of at least one letter sent to a client
which by the letterhead implied that the nonlawyer was a lawyer and wherein the nonlawyer purports to provide legal advice to a client. The nonlawyer was clearly associated with the attorney. The attorney failed to supervise the nonlawyer’s activities.
INTERIM SUSPENSION
On March 30, 2009, the Honorable James R. Taylor, Fourth Judicial District Court, entered an Order of Interim Suspension Pursuant to Rule 14-519 of the Rules of Lawyer Discipline and
Disability, suspending Richard J. Culbertson from the practice of law pending final disposition of the Complaint filed against him.
In Summary:
On June 19, 2008, Mr. Culbertson pleaded guilty to and was convicted of three counts of Communications Fraud – 2nd Degree Felony, Utah Code Annotated § 76-10-1801, and one count of Pattern of Unlawful Activity – 2nd Degree Felony, Utah Code Annotated § 76-10-1601.
The interim suspension is based upon the felony convictions.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On March 16, 2009, the Honorable Kevin K. Allen, First District Court, entered an Order of Public Reprimand against Raymond N. Malouf for violation of Rules 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority between Client and Lawyer) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Mr. Malouf was further ordered to attend Ethics School, pay attorneys fees and costs to the OPC, and turn over disputed funds held in his trust account
to a bankruptcy trustee for resolution of ownership of the funds.
In Summary:
After a car accident, Mr. Malouf was hired to pursue a personal injury action on his client’s behalf. Mr. Malouf received an offer from the attorney for the opposing party’s insurance company to settle the matter for the policy limits. Mr. Malouf advised his client to accept the settlement offer but his client rejected the offer. In a later meeting, the client informed Mr. Malouf that he would get back to Mr. Malouf on whether to or not to settle the matter. Before the client responded back to Mr. Malouf, Mr. Malouf accepted the settlement and deposited the settlement funds into his trust account. Mr. Malouf believed that a better resolution was not possible. Mitigating factor: Absence of a dishonest or selfish motive. The Court found that Mr. Malouf acted in what he thought was in the best interest of his client.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On April 10, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against R. Bradley Neff for violation of Rules 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In Summary:
Mr. Neff’s attorney trust account was deficient when a check was presented for payment. The account was deficient again one week later. Mr. Neff and his employee each wrote checks from
the account for the same amount. Only one check should have been written. Mr. Neff determined he was entitled to the excess money as earned fees. Mr. Neff made this determination without verifying the account balance or the amount owed to him. Therefore, Mr. Neff failed to keep his funds separate from those of his client. Mr. Neff failed to maintain accounting records for the account. Mr. Neff failed to respond to the OPC’s lawful request for information.

Attorney Discipline

ADMONITION
On February 25, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.9(a) (Conflict of Interest: Former Clients) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
An attorney was hired to represent a client in a divorce matter. The attorney’s office sharing arrangement was the functional equivalent of being in the same firm as a family member. The attorney took a case against a former client of his family member.

RESIGNATION WITH DISCIPLINE PENDING
On February 11, 2009, the Honorable Matthew B. Durrant, Associate Chief Justice, Utah Supreme Court, entered an Order Accepting Resignation with Discipline Pending concerning David W. Snow for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary there are three cases:
Mr. Snow was hired to help his client resolve various debt issues. Mr. Snow was given a large sum of money to resolve the client’s outstanding debt. Mr. Snow was to receive 15% of the amount he was able to reduce his client’s debt. Mr. Snow failed to pursue the work he was hired for in a timely matter. Mr. Snow failed to communicate with his client and failed to return the unused funds that should have remained in his trust account. Mr. Snow commingled his client’s funds with his own funds and used his client’s funds to pay his own expenses.
In another matter, Mr. Snow was given a large sum of money to assist a client in resolving various debts. Mr. Snow was to receive 15% of the amount he was able to reduce his client’s debt. Mr. Snow negotiated with a creditor and the client approved payment to settle the debt. Mr. Snow did not mail the check to the creditor until after the settlement offer had expired. Mr. Snow’s client expressed frustration communicating with Mr. Snow. Many of the client’s creditors had not had contact with Mr. Snow. A new fee arrangement was negotiated with Mr. Snow and his client. After some time had passed, and Mr. Snow had only settled one more account, the client indicated he would handle the remaining accounts himself. Mr. Snow has yet to return the unused portion of his client’s money. Mr. Snow failed to keep his client’s money in his trust account and used the client’s money to pay his own debts.
In the last matter, Mr. Snow was hired to represent a client in a bankruptcy proceeding. Mr. Snow filed the bankruptcy petition and then had no contact with his client for several months. Mr. Snow filed an objection to the trustee’s Motion to Dismiss and stated the failure to file the declaration was because of his delay. Mr. Snow failed to timely file notices of two creditors, causing his clients to be unable to include the two creditors in their bankruptcy, and failed to respond to his client’s inquiries.
DISBARMENT
On January 14, 2009, the Honorable David N. Mortensen, Fourth Judicial District Court, entered an Order of Disbarment disbarring Paul J. Young from the practice of law for violations of Rules 8.4(b) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
On December 27, 2005, Mr. Young was found guilty of one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in violation of 18 United States Code, section 371. Mr. Young was sentenced to incarceration for a period of 45 months, followed by supervised release for a period of three years.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On January 28, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Daniel V. Irvin for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Irvin failed to appear at a previously scheduled trial in a client’s case. Mr. Irvin failed to appear at a previously scheduled pretrial hearing in another client’s case. Mr. Irvin failed to take necessary steps to follow-up on client matters after his computer crashed and he lost computer data regarding upcoming hearing dates.

Attorney Discipline

PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On November 26, 2008, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Roy D. Cole for violation of Rules 1.8(a) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Cole was hired by a client that gave Mr. Cole Power of Attorney entrusting items of personal property to Mr. Cole. Mr. Cole accepted property from his client without the proper safeguards in place; without keeping records; and without keeping the client’s property separate from his property. Mr. Cole did not provide an accounting which was full, accurate, and timely to his client. Mr. Cole failed to take steps to protect his client’s interests upon termination of the representation.

SUSPENSION
On November 26, 2008, the Honorable David L. Mower, Sixth District Court entered an Order of Discipline: Suspension for one year against Stony V. Olsen for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.5(b) (Fees), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Olsen was hired to represent a client’s interests in a bankruptcy action by objecting to the debtors’ discharge on the basis of fraud. Mr. Olsen was paid $1000. Mr. Olsen failed to provide his client with written notification of the basis or rate of his fee. Mr. Olsen attended the creditors’ meeting but did not file the objection. Mr. Olsen did not inform his client that he did not file the objection and of the subsequent discharge. After the client received the notice from the bankruptcy court, the client attempted to reach Mr. Olsen but was not immediately successful.
Later, Mr. Olsen filed a lien against the debtors’ property on behalf of his client even though the debtors had filed a bankruptcy action and their obligations had been discharged. The debtors’ counsel sent a letter to Mr. Olsen and his client informing them that the lien was improperly filed and demanded its release. Mr. Olsen’s client was at first unsuccessful in reaching him regarding the lien. Mr. Olsen did finally release the lien but did not return unearned attorney fees.
SUSPENSION AND PROBATION
On November 19, 2008, the Honorable Randall N. Skanchy, Third District Court entered an Order of Discipline: Suspension of two years and Probation of one year against Russell S. Hathaway for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(a)(2) (Communication), 1.4(a)(3) (Communication), 1.4(a)(4) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.15(b) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(a) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 3.2 (Expediting Litigation), 3.4(c) (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel), 3.4(d) (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary there are six matters:
The six matters involved representation in two post divorce matters; two civil matters; a civil litigation matter; and a Qualified Domestic Relations matter. In the Qualified Domestic Relations matter, Mr. Hathaway did nothing after approximately seven months of representation.
In the divorce matters, Mr. Hathaway had inadequate communication with his clients; he had none in one case and a failure to notify of discovery requests in the other case. He also failed to respond to the discovery requests and motion to compel in the one divorce case.
In the two post divorce matters he was less than diligent in his work on the cases and his communication with the clients. In one case he sent a demand letter to the defendant’s wrong address and after having issues with an assistant, which affected his communication with clients and representation; he ceased work on the case; returned the file to the client but failed to return the retainer. In the second post divorce case, Mr. Hathaway mailed a demand letter but failed to communicate to the client on the status of anything else subsequent, including the failure to give an accounting.
In the civil litigation matters, Mr. Hathaway failed to file a counterclaim or answer in the case; failed to respond to discovery and failed to notify his client about the subsequent order compelling discovery and judgment for attorney fees. Mr. Hathaway’s client learned of a Default Judgment entered in the case from the client’s subsequent attorney.
In four of the six matters, Mr. Hathaway failed to timely respond to the Office of Professional Conduct’s Notice of Informal Complaint.
CLARIFICATION
There are two Bruce Nelsons licensed with the Utah State Bar. In the last edition of the Bar Journal, the attorney discipline listed a Public Reprimand for Bruce L. Nelson, not to be confused with Bruce J. Nelson who has not been disciplined.

Attorney Discipline

Attorney Discipline
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On October 23, 2008, the Honorable Robert K. Hilder, Third District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Samuel J. Conklin for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.5(b) (Fees), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
Mr. Conklin was hired to protect his client’s current wife’s assets. Mr. Conklin was given a retainer. Mr. Conklin set up a trust but would not relinquish the trust documents until he was paid additional money.
Mr. Conklin was also hired to do paperwork to establish his client’s current wife’s business. Mr. Conklin made errors in the Limited Liability Company (LLC) papers. However, Mr. Conklin failed to address the mistakes he made in establishing the LLC. Mr. Conklin requested and received additional money. Mr. Conklin did not give his clients a receipt for the monies. On numerous occasions Mr. Conklin’s clients requested an accounting of their funds, but were never given one. Mr. Conklin also failed to timely respond to the OPC’s Notice of Informal Complaint.
DISBARMENT
On October 17, 2008, the Honorable James R. Taylor, Fourth District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Disbarment against Troy L. Crossley for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (Communication), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 3.1 (Meritorious Claims and Contentions), 3.3(a) (Candor Toward the Tribunal), 3.4(a) (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel), 3.4(c) (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
In one matter, Mr. Crossley was hired to file a bankruptcy. Mr. Crossley’s clients asked that the equipment they purchased for their restaurant be listed in the bankruptcy. Mr. Crossley informed his clients that the bank could not collect on the equipment after it was discharged. His clients sold the equipment back to the dealer they had purchased it from. The bank had a lien against the equipment and filed an adversary proceeding seeking a judgment against Mr. Crossley’s clients. Mr. Crossley put the incorrect amount of the equipment on the bankruptcy. Mr. Crossley did not explain to his clients how this error could effect their bankruptcy. Mr. Crossley notified his clients of the adversary proceedings. Mr. Crossley left the law firm he was working for and did not notify his clients. Mr. Crossley sent his clients discovery requests that had been served on him by the bank. His clients responded and sent the documents back to Mr. Crossley. Mr. Crossley failed to answer the bank’s discovery requests and failed to conduct any discovery on behalf of his clients. Mr. Crossley failed to meet with the bank’s counsel to discuss the pretrial orders. Mr. Crossley failed to respond to the proposed Pretrial Order and the subsequent motion to compel. Mr. Crossley was present when the trial date was set. Three days before trial Mr. Crossley filed a motion to continue. One day before trial Mr. Crossley filed a motion to set aside the pretrial order arguing that his mistakes were excusable neglect under the federal rules. Mr. Crossley stipulated, via telephone conference, that his clients owed the bank over $20,000.00. Judgments were entered against Mr. Crossley’s clients. The clients did not approve of the stipulation. Mr. Crossley’s clients learned of the judgment when they were closing on their home. When confronted by his clients, Mr. Crossley indicated they had lost and there was nothing they could do about it.
In the second matter, Mr. Crossley was hired to pursue a discrimination suit and a bankruptcy. Mr. Crossley failed to include the discrimination suit as an asset in the bankruptcy. After the bankruptcy was discharged, the court granted a motion from the trustee to reopen the case. The client attempted to reach Mr. Crossley several times but Mr. Crossley failed to return the calls. Mr. Crossley faxed his client the signature page of the interrogatories. The client requested a complete copy of the interrogatories but was never given one. During a deposition, the client was provided a copy of the interrogatories, and it was discovered that the signature on the interrogatories was not that of the client. Mr. Crossley had forged the signature and notarized the document. Thereafter, Mr. Crossley was dismissed as counsel from the discrimination suit. Mr. Crossley failed to provide his client’s file to the new counsel.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On October 20, 2008, the Honorable John P. Kennedy, Third District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against F. Kevin Bond for violation of Rules 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.8(a) (Conflict of Interest: Prohibited Transactions), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(b) (Safekeeping Property), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Bond represented a client in a divorce and other legal matters. Mr. Bond deposited money from his client into his firm’s trust account for unpaid legal work and a non-refundable flat fee for a slander and libel suit the client was contemplating filing in the future. Mr. Bond did not timely withdraw the earned attorney fees from his client trust account. Given the work performed, Mr. Bond collected an excessive fee in the slander matter. Mr. Bond performed some initial work on the slander matter but the client told him to hold off on pursuing the matter further. Mr. Bond did not refund any of the non-refundable flat fee to the client. Mr. Bond paid a couple of his client’s support payments to the client’s former spouse as loans to his client. Mr. Bond did not inform his client of the loan terms in writing, he did not obtain the client’s written consent to the transactions at the time of the transactions, and he did not inform the client of the client’s right to seek independent counsel concerning the transactions.
Several months later, Mr. Bond’s client petitioned for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Mr. Bond was served a subpoena duces tecum to produce documents related to the funds he received from his client when he was deposed as a witness in the bankruptcy matter. Mr. Bond objected to the first deposition because he was not paid the witness fee with the subpoena. Mr. Bond did not file an objection to the subpoena duces tecum for the second deposition or produce all of the documents requested although he asserted that some documents not produced were protected by attorney-client privilege. Mr. Bond did not promptly deliver funds to the Trustee or provide the Trustee an accounting upon the Trustee’s request regarding funds in his trust account. However, about two months later, Mr. Bond accepted a settlement from the Trustee, that was approved by the court, regarding the Trustee’s claim to the funds in Mr. Bond’s trust account. Mr. Bond’s client did not complain about Mr. Bond’s representation.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On September 29, 2008, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against John E. Cawley for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Cawley was hired to represent a company in collection matters. In one case, Mr. Cawley was given complete information and asked to file and serve a debt collection action. Mr. Cawley had the case for over a year and within that time did not file or serve a complaint. During the time that Mr. Cawley had the file, the statute of limitations ran. During the course of the representation, Mr. Cawley failed to adequately review, diligently keep track of the matter, and files were lost by his office. Mr. Cawley failed to respond to numerous letters from his client requesting status reports on the case. Mr. Cawley did not contact his client’s representative before the statute of limitations ran to tell him of his difficulties in completing the work, thereby giving his client an option to hire another attorney before the statute of limitations ran. Mr. Cawley’s actions caused potential and actual damages to his client.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On August 19, 2008, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Bruce L. Nelson for violation of Rules 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 3.2 (Expediting Litigation), 3.3 (Candor Toward the Tribunal), 4.1 (Truthfulness in Statements to Others), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Nelson was hired to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against a business associate of his clients. Mr. Nelson did not file an action for a TRO, even though his clients made it clear this was their primary objective. Instead of filing and seeking a TRO, Mr. Nelson got an informal, “hypothetical” opinion from a sitting judge. Mr. Nelson’s clients believed that the opinion was from the same judge that would be hearing the case. Mr. Nelson then told the clients that a hearing date had been set in the matter. Mr. Nelson’s representations that a TRO hearing was scheduled and that he had spoken to the judge deciding the matter were knowingly false. Mr. Nelson failed to correct his clients’ misapprehensions, which he had created by his misstatements. Mr. Nelson charged his clients for work he claimed to have performed but did not perform. Mr. Nelson deposited attorney fees in his personal account without having first earned the fees. Mr. Nelson failed to respond to the requests of the OPC, failed to disclose facts necessary to correct his clients’ misapprehensions, and was less than candid with the Screening Panel.
PROBATION
On September 3, 2008, the Honorable W. Brent West, Second District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Probation against W. Gregory Burdett for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) and 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.16(a), 1.16(c), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating representation), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
In one matter, Mr. Burdett was hired to represent his clients in a property rights dispute. Mr. Burdett quit private practice but did not tell his clients. Mr. Burdett allowed his clients’ case to be dismissed by the court and Mr. Burdett failed to notify his clients that their case had been dismissed. Additionally, Mr. Burdett failed to promptly give his clients their file and failed to respond to the OPC’s Notice of Informal Complaint.
In another matter, Mr. Burdett was hired to represent a client in a suit filed by beneficiaries of her father’s trust, of which his client is trustee. Mr. Burdett failed to respond to the motion for summary judgment filed against the client and failed to withdraw in a manner that protected his client’s interests. Additionally, Mr. Burdett failed to promptly comply with his client’s reasonable requests for information regarding her case, including repeatedly failing to respond to communication from his client and notifying his client that a motion for summary judgment had been filed. Mr. Burdett’s client terminated his representation in mid-August 2005, but Mr. Burdett failed to make any attempt to withdraw until October 20, 2005. Mr. Burdett failed to return his client’s file as requested and failed to refund to his client the unearned portion of the attorney’s fees that she paid him in advance. Mr. Burdett also failed to respond to the OPC’s Notice of Informal Complaint.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On September 23, 2008, the Honorable Jon Memmott, Second District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Brent E. Johns for violation of Rules 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.4(a) and 1.4(b) (Communication), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Johns received a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for his approval as to form related to a divorce case in which he had represented the husband about nine years prior. After the divorce case had ended, Mr. Johns had no further contact with his former client. The ex-wife’s new attorney left the QDRO with Mr. Johns’s office for his signature even though the ex-husband had represented himself pro se in the last court matter between the parties. Mr. Johns’ office later called opposing counsel to pick up the QDRO with Mr. Johns’s approval as to form. Mr. Johns did not contact his client before or after approving the QDRO as to form. The QDRO was filed with the Court leading to an increase in the amount of retirement benefits received by the ex-wife.
After the former client retired and became aware of the QDRO, he confronted Mr. Johns about the QDRO and later pursued the matter in small claims court. Mr. Johns stated that he did not believe the signature on the approval as to form of the QDRO was his signature. Mr. Johns failed to investigate the signature on the QDRO which led him to negligently make a false statement to the small claims court that was prejudicial to the administration of justice.
STAYED DISBARMENT
On September 22, 2008, the Honorable Samuel D. McVey, Fourth District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Stayed Disbarment, including license suspension of three years, and Probation against Craig M. Bainum for violation of Rules 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(b) (Fees), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping of Property), 5.3(b) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistance), 5.4(a) (Professional Independence of a Lawyer), 8.1(b) (Bar Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary there are eight cases:
In two of the cases, while at a law firm Mr. Bainum was hired by clients and accepted a retainer fee. In one of the cases, he deposited the retainer fee into his own trust account and in the other case he deposited the retainer into his personal account. In neither case did Mr. Bainum deposit the money into the lawfirm’s trust account.
In two of the cases, one in which Mr. Bainum was hired to seek post-conviction relief on behalf of his client’s son and one in which Mr. Bainum was hired to help corporate counsel prosecute a case in federal court, Mr. Bainum was paid $5,000.00 in fees. However, in the post-conviction relief case, Mr. Bainum failed to communicate to the client in writing the basis or rate of his fees; only met with the client’s son several times at the prison; and upon termination of the representation failed to justify his fee. And, in the corporate counsel case, after a return of the file, there was no evidence that Mr. Bainum had performed any work. Mr. Bainum also failed to timely respond to the OPC’s Notice of Informal Complaint in both cases.
In two of the cases, one involving the representation of a client in an assault defense and one involving the criminal defense of a client, Mr. Bainum failed to appear at scheduled court hearings. More specifically, Mr. Bainum did not appear at the trial in the assault case forcing the court to reschedule, and in the criminal defense case, Mr. Bainum failed to appear at two status conference hearings and an Order to Show Cause hearing. In the criminal defense case, Mr. Bainum made no effort to check the correctness of his address or the status of the matter with the court.
In one case, Mr. Bainum was hired to pursue a claim arising from an assault. The client tried to contact Mr. Bainum regarding the status of the case, however, Mr. Bainum did not notify the client of his departure from his law firm, did not provide the client with new business contact information, and failed to return the client messages left on his cell and home phones.
In another case, Mr. Bainum was performing credit repair services for clients and contracted with a non-attorney to assist him with these services. Mr. Bainum had direct supervising authority over the non-lawyer, yet failed to meet with each of the clients at the start of the representation. Some clients signed engagement agreements without first meeting with Mr. Bainum and Mr. Bainum did not meet with the clients to explain the legal consequences of the engagement agreement and the legal work to be performed. In fact, Mr. Bainum never met with some of the clients he performed legal work for and Mr. Bainum paid the non-lawyer 90% of the fees that he collected from credit repair clients.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On November 10, 2008, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Kent Snider for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Snider was hired to pursue a domestic matter for his client. When the case settled, Mr. Snider failed to timely prepare the order reflecting the parties’ settlement. Mr. Snider submitted the order to the court without permitting the client to review it for inaccuracies. Mr. Snider also failed to respond timely and candidly to the OPC’s inquiries and to the NOIC.
The Panel found mitigating circumstances as follows: respondent was candid with the tribunal and seemed to accept responsibility for his conduct. The Panel found aggravation of: the respondent had prior discipline history.
ADMONITION
On November 10, 2008, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.7(a)(2) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients), 1.7(b) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients), 1.9(a) (Duties to Former Clients. Conflict of Interest: Former Clients), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
An attorney represented two clients concurrently and sent a demand letter on behalf of one client while representing the other. Consent of both clients was obtained; however, the consent that was obtained was belated and uninformed. Additionally, at the same time the attorney’s firm represented one client, the firm represented the opposing client at a deposition. It was unclear when the representation of the adverse client ended.
The Panel found mitigating circumstances as follows: lack of prior disciplinary history, absence of any improper motive, and attorney’s relative lack of experience.

Attorney Discipline

Attorney Discipline
ADMONITION
On July 18, 2008, the Vice-Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.2(c) (Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer), 1.2(d) (Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
An attorney represented a client in a real estate transaction. Attorney was left alone with the closing documents after the documents, including a deed, had been executed. The attorney removed the original, two-page version of the legal description and attached an altered version of the property’s legal description to the quit claim deed. The attorney made the changes while alone with the executed documents. The attorney altered a signed deed, delivered to be recorded, by changing property description, and by whiting out the stated number of pages on the deed’s face. The attorney did not intend to misrepresent or defraud anyone, but was attempting to correct what he understood to be a ministerial error that had been made when the wrong description was attached.
PROBATION
On July 16, 2008, the Honorable Dino Himonas, Third District Court entered an Order of Discipline: Probation for one year against Mark R. Emmett for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Emmett represented a debtor in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy matter. Mr. Emmett failed to file papers required to advance the bankruptcy matter, including the Statement of Financial Affairs and Schedules. Mr. Emmett did not inform his client that he had ceased work on her case. Due to Mr. Emmett’s failure to file the required papers, the court dismissed his client’s bankruptcy case, and Mr. Emmett failed to inform his client of the dismissal. Mr. Emmett suffered from depression. Mr. Emmett did not withdraw from his representation of his client once it became apparent his mental condition was impairing his ability to pursue the matter.
Resigned with Displine Pending
On May 16, 2008, the Honorable Christine M. Durham, Chief Justice, Utah Supreme Court, entered an Order Accepting Resignation with Discipline Pending concerning Wesley F. Sine.
In summary:
On February 4, 2005, Mr. Sine was found guilty of four counts of mail fraud pursuant to United States Code, Title 18, section 1341. Mr. Sine was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $2,294,000.00 in restitution to the victims.

Attorney Discipline

Attorney Discipline
ADMONITION
On June 23, 2008, the Vice-Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 3.2 (Expediting Litigation), 3.3(d) (Candor Toward the Tribunal), 7.3(a) (Direct Contact with Prospective Clients), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
The attorney solicited professional employment from a person in a nursing home without invitation and without contacting the person’s family members. The attorney filed an Ex-Parte Motion for Appointment of Counsel along with a Request for Guardianship and Conservatorship for the person in the nursing home. The attorney did not disclose all material facts to the tribunal in his ex-parte communications including how the attorney was in contact with the client; the fact that Adult Protective Services (APS) was not investigating all of the children of the client, and that his client was not in imminent harm. The attorney continued to fight over the appointment of counsel with his client’s children after APS determined there was no exploitation. The attorney’s response to the OPC and personal attacks toward his client’s children were unprofessional and detrimental to the administration of justice.
Mitigating factor: isolated incident and not a pattern.
ADMONITION
On May 22, 2008, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 4.4(a) (Respect for Rights of Third Persons), 8.4(e) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
The attorney’s client, a government agency, inadvertently sent confidential information to a person who had an open case with the agency. When the person did not return the documents on request, the attorney called the person leaving a message that threatened to have the police come to retrieve the documents, to seek criminal charges or to get a warrant in order to affect the return of the documents, however the attorney had no creditable legal recourse for these threats. The Committee determined that the attorney’s voicemail was inappropriate and unprofessional.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On May 12, 2008, the Honorable Robert P. Faust, Third District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Jeanne T. Campbell Lund for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.16(a) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 3.2 (Expediting Litigation), 5.3(a) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
On or around October 2002, Ms. Lund and her husband were retained to pursue a personal injury case. On April 17, 2003, the Utah Supreme Court accepted her husband’s resignation with discipline pending from the Utah State Bar. Ms. Lund’s husband became her office manager and/or legal assistant. Ms. Lund did not timely pursue settlement or litigation of her client’s personal injury case. During the representation, Ms. Lund failed to timely communicate with her client concerning the status of his case. At the end of 2003 or the beginning of 2004, Ms. Lund left the practice of law to work in the mortgage business. Ms. Lund failed to notify her client that she was not pursuing his personal injury case. Ms. Lund did not notify the insurance company for the opposing party that she was withdrawing as counsel from the case. After Ms. Lund began working in the mortgage business, she failed to supervise her husband’s access to the client’s file. In or around March 2004, her husband engaged in settlement negotiations with the insurance company in the personal injury case. Her husband accepted a settlement offer for the client, but did not inform the client of the settlement offer. Her husband did not receive the client’s authorization for the settlement offer prior to accepting the final settlement. On or about March 16, 2004, the insurance company issued a settlement check payable to Ms. Lund’s husband and the client. Although the settlement check was endorsed and cashed the client did not endorse the settlement check and did not receive any of the monies from the settlement check. At the time of the settlement negotiations with the insurance company, Ms. Lund did not directly supervise her husband’s work.
RECIPROCAL DISCIPLINE
On May 12, 2008, the Honorable Eric A. Ludlow, Fifth District Court entered a Reciprocal Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Rulon J. Huntsman for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 5.3 (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), 5.5 (Unauthorized Practice of Law), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, based upon his conduct in Nevada.
In summary:
Mr. Huntsman and a non-lawyer presented to the public as a single business entity, being housed in the same building and lacking signs indicating that they were separate businesses. One client hired the non-lawyer believing that the non-lawyer was an attorney. When the client requested his attorney appear on his behalf, Mr. Huntsman appeared, but was not familiar with the case. Mr. Huntsman relied on the non-lawyer to collect the fee and prepare documents for the client.
On September 6, 2007, a Public Reprimand was issued in Nevada by the State Bar of Nevada Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board. Based on the findings of the Nevada Board, the Fifth District Court entered an order of equivalent discipline.
SUSPENSION
On May 30, 2008, the Honorable Sandra N. Pueler, Third Judicial District Court, entered Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Order of Discipline: Suspension against Frank J. Falk for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 3.2 (Expediting Litigation), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The suspension is effective June 30, 2008. Mr. Falk is suspended for three years.
In summary:
In one case, Mr. Falk was hired to initiate an action against Salt Lake County (County) for injuries his client sustained in an automobile accident. The client hired Mr. Falk on or around January 2, 2003. During four years of representation, Mr. Falk had infrequent contact and did not routinely make himself available for telephone calls from his client. Mr. Falk failed to consult with his client concerning the process of the case, settlement of the case or what was necessary for trial. He also failed to prepare her case and to prepare her to testify. When an offer was made, Mr. Falk failed to notify his client who eventually found out from a third party months later.
In another matter, Mr. Falk was retained to handle some collection matters. Mr. Falk was the responsible attorney on the cases. During the course of Mr. Falk’s representation, Mr. Falk handled at least 11 cases. Mr. Falk received checks for fees and costs to be performed on the cases. The files were removed by the client because of inaction and failure to communicate. In some cases the statute of limitations were missed due to the inactivity of Mr. Falk.
DISBARMENT
On June 24, 2008, the Honorable Judith S. Atherton, Third Judicial District Court, entered a Reciprocal Order of Disbarment disbarring Dennis F. Olsen from the practice of law in Utah based upon his disbarment in Washington.
In summary:
On September 19, 2006, the Supreme Court of Washington (“Washington”) entered an Order disbarring Mr. Olsen from practicing before that court based on his conduct in violation of Rules 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 3.2, 8.4(b), 8.4(c), 8.4(i), and 8.4(l).
The findings of the Washington adjudicatory body are summarized as follows:
Mr. Olsen knowingly withheld taxes from an employee but did not remit the withheld taxes to the proper federal and state agencies. Mr. Olsen also committed theft by not remitting the withheld taxes to the proper authorities in that he did not return the money to the employee. After Mr. Olsen fired the employee, Mr. Olsen attempted to coerce the employee into taking a case, using the withheld taxes as leverage. Thereafter, the employee filed a complaint with the Washington State Bar. During the investigation of the Bar complaint, Mr. Olsen attempted to mislead the Bar concerning his wrongful conduct with regard to the taxes.