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TCL > October 2001 Issue > Summaries of Opinions

The Colorado Lawyer
October 2001
Vol. 30, No. 10 [Page  195]

© 2001 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved.

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From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases

Summaries of Opinions

Summaries of Disciplinary Opinions


Summaries of opinions appear on a space-available basis. The summaries for the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and hearing board are prepared by the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, and the summaries for the Appellate Discipline Commission are prepared by the Office of the Appellate Discipline Commission. The summaries of the opinions of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and the Appellate Discipline Commission are provided as a service by the Colorado Bar Association and are not the official language of the Opinion. The Colorado Bar Association cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the summaries.

Unless otherwise noted, full copies of the opinions follow the summaries pages. The summaries and full-text opinions are also available on the CBA homepage at http://www.cobar.org/tcl/index.htm. See page 112 for details


 

Summaries of Decisions Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge

(July 19, 2001 through August 20, 2001)

People v. Adkins, No. 00PDJ095, 8/20/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Marilyn Biggs Adkins from the practice of law. Adkins violated Colo. RPC 1.15(a) by failing to hold a client’s property in her possession separate from her own property, and Colo. RPC 8.4(c) by knowingly converting funds belonging to the estate. Disbarment was effective thirty-one days from the date of the Order and Adkins was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings within ten days of the Order. p.197.

People v. Barringer, No. 99PDJ052, 7/19/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Montie L. Barringer from the practice of law in this default proceeding. Barringer represented a client concerning a workers’ compensation matter and criminal and traffic matters. He entered into a contingency fee agreement that failed to comply with the requirements of C.R.C.P. Ch. 23.3, and charged an unreasonable fee in violation of Colo. RPC 1.5(a). Barringer violated Colo. RPC 1.4(b) by failing to consult with the client about the workers’ compensation settlement to an extent reasonably necessary for the client to make an informed decision about the settlement. Barringer violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) by knowingly making false statements to his client that the workers’ compensation matter had not settled, when in fact it had, and knowingly misrepresenting that the settlement funds were in his trust account, when, in fact, Barringer had spent the funds. Barringer’s signing the settlement document, endorsing the settlement check with the client’s signature, and notarizing the settlement document as a notary public also violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c). Barringer violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) by knowingly converting at least $2,266.26 of the client’s funds. Barringer committed forgery by signing the client’s name to the settlement document and endorsing his name on the settlement check, constituting a violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(b) and grounds for discipline, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5(b). Barringer also violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) by knowingly and willfully impersonating a notary public by affixing his signature and notary seal to the settlement documents when his commission had been expired for fifteen years. Disbarment was effective thirty-one days from the date of the Order and Barringer was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. p.199.

People v. DeRose, No. 99PDJ098, 8/13/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent James M. DeRose from the practice of law. DeRose pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to: one count of a violation of 31 U.S.C. §§ 5322(a) (1986) and 5324(a)(3) (1986) on an aiding and abetting theory; criminal charges of structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements; and 18 U.S.C. § 2 (1948) (aiding and abetting), constituting a violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(b) and C.R.C.P. 251.5(b). Disbarment was effective thirty-one days from the date of the Order and respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. p.203.

People v. Garrow, No. 00PDJ006, 7/30/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board suspended Respondent William F. Garrow from the practice of law for a period of seven months in this default proceeding. Garrow violated Colo. RPC 1.15(b) and Colo. RPC 1.16(d) by failing to provide files to his client despite the client’s demand that he do so, and Colo. RPC 8.1(b) by knowingly failing to respond to a demand for information from the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. Garrow was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. p.205.

People v. Hambric, Jr., No. 00PDJ003 (consolidated with 00PDJ011 & 00PDJ024), 7/31/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent William Thomas Hambric, Jr. from the practice of law in this default proceeding. In two matters, Hambric knowingly converted funds belonging to his clients, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c), and abandoned his clients, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3. In another matter, Hambric failed to communicate with a client, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.4(a). In a separate matter, Hambric neglected the client’s legal matter, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3. Hambric knowingly failed to respond to a request for information from the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.1(b). Disbarment was effective thirty-one days from the date of the Order. Hambric was ordered to pay restitution to two different clients within twelve months from the date of the Order and he was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. p.207.

People v. Miller, No. 99PDJ095 (consolidated with 00PDJ029), 8/8/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Gregory A. Miller from the practice of law. In six matters, Miller violated Colo. RPC 1.3 by neglecting his clients’ legal matters, and Colo. RPC 1.4(a) and Colo. RPC 1.4(b) by failing to keep his clients reasonably informed about the status of their legal matters and failing to promptly comply with their reasonable requests for information. In two matters, Miller violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) by engaging in dishonesty, deceit, or misrepresentation by informing his clients he had taken action on their behalf when he had not. In three matters, Miller violated Colo. RPC 1.15(b) by failing to deliver to the client funds or other property that the client was entitled to receive and render a full accounting regarding the property. In two matters, Miller violated Colo. RPC 1.16(d) by failing, upon termination of representation, to take reasonable steps to protect the client’s interests, such as surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refunding advance payment that has not been earned. In one matter, Miller violated Colo. RPC 1.1 by failing to provide competent representation to the client, and failing to explain the matter to an extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make an informed decision. Miller violated Colo. RPC 8.1(b) by knowingly failing to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority. Miller was ordered to pay restitution and the costs of the proceedings. Disbarment is effective thirty-one days from the date of the Order. p.209.

People v. Milner, Nos. 99PDJ030 & 99PDJ093, 8/7/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Karen S. Milner in this default proceeding. This proceeding involved numerous matters. In two matters, Milner violated Colo. RPC 1.1 by failing to provide competent legal advice to the client; in four matters, Milner violated Colo. RPC 1.15(b) by failing to deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person was entitled to receive, and upon request, provide a full accounting regarding such property; in three matters, Milner violated Colo. RPC 1.16(d) by taking reasonable steps to protect the client’s interests upon termination; in ten matters, Milner violated Colo. RPC 1.3 by failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing the client, and by neglecting legal matters entrusted to her; in eleven matters, Milner violated Colo. RPC 1.4(a) by failing to keep her clients reasonably informed about the status of their matters and failing to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; in two matters, Milner violated Colo. RPC 1.5(a) by charging an unreasonable fee; in one matter, Milner failed to comply with the requirements of Colo. RPC 1.5(b) requiring that she communicate the basis or rate of her fee in writing before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation of the client; in three matters, Milner knowingly disobeyed an obligation under the rules of a tribunal; in four matters, Milner violated Colo. RPC 5.3(b) by acting as a supervisory lawyer over a nonlawyer and failing to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the non-lawyer’s conduct was compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer; in one matter, Milner violated Colo. RPC 5.5(b) by assisting a person who is not a member of the Colorado bar in the performance of an activity that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law; in four matters, Milner violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) by engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; in three matters, Milner violated Colo. RPC 8.4(d) by engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(h) by engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law. Respondent was ordered to pay restitution and the costs of the proceedings. p.212.

People v. Nelson, No. 99PDJ102, 7/26/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board suspended Respondent Jean S. Nelson from the practice of law for a period of eighteen months in this default proceeding. Nelson violated Colo. RPC 3.4(c) by failing to comply with a court order to pay child support, Colo. RPC 8.1(b) by knowingly failing to respond to a demand for information from the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, and Colo. RPC 8.4(d) by engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice by interfering with the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel’s obligation to investigate an attorney’s non-compliance with court orders. Nelson was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. p.219.

People v. Schmeiser, No. 01PDJ002, 7/27/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Larry W. Schmeiser from the practice of law in this default proceeding. In one matter, Schmeiser represented the personal representative in settling an estate. Schmeiser collected funds from the sale of real estate belonging to the estate and, for four years thereafter, without the authority of his client or the court, wrote more than twenty checks to himself from the trust account, totaling more than $24,000 of the estate funds. Schmeiser violated Colo. RPC 1.3, Colo. RPC 1.16(d), Colo. RPC 8.4(c), and Colo. RPC 1.4(a). In a separate matter, Schmeiser neglected a client’s legal matter, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3. Schmeiser was ordered to pay restitution to the client and pay the costs of the proceedings. p.221.

 

 

Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admissions of Misconduct

Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge

(July 21, 2001 through August 14, 2001)

[The Presiding Disciplinary Judge’s approval of Conditional Admissions of Misconduct does not result in a written opinion but only a brief order, which does not constitute precedent. Conditional Admissions of Misconduct are public record and are available for review at the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, 600 17th St., Suite 510-South, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 825-2797. They are also available on Lexis-Nexis at www.lexis.com/research by clicking on States Legal U.S./Colorado/Cases and Court Rules/By Court/Colorado Supreme Court Disciplinary Opinions.]

 

People v. Koelsch, No. 01PDJ073, 8/14/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended John Carl Koelsch from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day. Koelsch violated Colo. RPC 1.1 while representing a client in a bankruptcy matter. In another matter, Koelsch failed to prepare a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, which he was required to do pursuant to a stipulation in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3. In a third matter, Koelsch violated Colo. RPC 1.15(a) by negligently failing to keep his clients’ funds in a trust account. Koelsch was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.

© 2001 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved. Material from The Colorado Lawyer provided via this World Wide Web server is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and may not be reproduced in any way or medium without permission. This material also is subject to the disclaimers at http://www.cobar.org/tcl/disclaimer.cfm?year=2001.


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