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TCL > November 2001 Issue > Summaries of Opinions

The Colorado Lawyer
November 2001
Vol. 30, No. 11 [Page  129]

© 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 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

 

(September 18, 2001 through September 20, 2001)

People v. Abelman, No. 01PDJ003, 9/18/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Allan David Abelman from the practice of law in this default proceeding. In one matter, Abelman represented the clients in a personal injury matter, deposited the settlement proceeds into his law office trust account, paid a portion of the proceeds to the clients, and retained a specific amount to pay medical providers and two other accounts. Rather than paying these entities, Abelman knowingly misappropriated the funds to his own use and benefit without the clients’ authority, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c). Abelman failed to promptly pay persons holding liens on the settlement proceeds, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.15(b). In a separate matter, Abelman represented the client to rectify an error in orders entered in a dissolution of marriage action. Abelman failed to fully understand the legal issue presented by his client, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.1, and failed to pursue his client’s claim diligently, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3. Abelman failed to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of his legal matter and failed to promptly comply with the client’s reasonable requests for information, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.4(a). Disbarment is effective thirty-one days from the date of the Order, and Abelman was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. p.131.

People v. Breingan, No. 00PDJ067, 9/20/01. Attorney Regulation.

In this reciprocal discipline action from the state of New Jersey, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred respondent Charles R. Breingan from the practice of law. Breingan knowingly converted funds belonging to one client, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c); he neglected two clients’ matters, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3; he failed to communicate with one client, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.4(a); he misrepresented the status of the legal matter to another client, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c); and he failed to take steps to protect both clients’ interests upon termination by providing them with their files and refund their retainers upon request, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.16(d). He failed to cooperate with the disciplinary board in New Jersey, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(a) and Colo. RPC 8.4(d). Disbarment is effective thirty-one days from the date of the Order, and Breingan was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding. p.133.

People v. Doering, No. 01PDJ012, 9/19/01. Attorney Regulation.

In this default proceeding, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board suspended respondent David M. Doering from the practice of law. In two matters, Doering failed to communicate with his clients, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.4(a). In one matter, the failure to communicate was particularly egregious due to the fact that it transpired over a period of time in which the client expected immediate action. Doering neglected a legal matter, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3, and failed to protect three separate clients’ legal matters upon termination, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.16(d). In one matter, Doering failed to timely withdraw from the case, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.16(a)(3), and in another matter, he failed to provide an accounting when requested to do so, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.15(b). Suspension is for one year and one day, effective thirty-one days from the date of the Order, and Doering must undergo a reinstatement hearing prior to being reinstated to practice law. Also, Doering was ordered to pay restitution and the costs of the proceeding. p.135.

People v. Jaramillo, No. 99PDJ056, 9/20/01. Attorney Regulation.

In this default proceeding, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Benjamin Antonio Jaramillo from the practice of law. In one matter, Jaramillo knowingly converted his client’s funds, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c). He neglected three client matters, and in one of the three matters, his neglect rose to the level of abandonment, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3. In four matters, Jaramillo failed to communicate with his clients and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.4(a). In three matters, Jaramillo’s conduct resulted in prejudice to the administration of justice, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(d). In one matter, Jaramillo knowingly disobeyed the rules of a tribunal, in violation of Colo. RPC 3.4(c). In all eight matters giving rise to this disciplinary proceeding, Jaramillo failed to respond to a request for information from the Attorney Regulation Counsel, in violation of C.R.C.P. 251.5(d). Jaramillo was ordered to pay restitution and the costs of the proceeding. Disbarment is effective thirty-one days from the date of the proceeding. p.136.

 

Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admissions of Misconduct

Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge

 

(September 18, 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. Cousins, 01PDJ007, 9/18/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended the respondent, Kevin M. Cousins, from the practice of law for a period of six months. In one matter, Cousins neglected the client’s legal matter by failing to attend a conference with an expert witness and failing to appear at a motions hearing on behalf of the client, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3. Cousins failed to promptly provide the file to the client upon termination, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.16(d), and failed to provide the client with an accounting upon request, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.15(b). Cousins was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.

People v. Todd, No. 00PDJ080, 9/18/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and placed Vincent C. Todd on an additional one-year period of probation upon completion of the sanction imposed upon Todd in Case No. 99PDJ077 (consolidated with 99PDJ110), which consisted of a one-year and one-day period of suspension, with all but thirty days stayed, followed by a two-year period of probation. Todd violated Colo. RPC 1.16(a) by failing to withdraw from representation when continuing to represent the client resulted in a violation of the rules of professional conduct.

© 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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