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TCL > May 2008 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

The Colorado Lawyer
May 2008
Vol. 37, No. 5 [Page  119]

© 2008 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved.

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From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases

Disciplinary Case Summaries

These summaries of disciplinary case Opinions and Conditional Admissions of Misconduct are prepared by the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge (PDJ) and are provided as a service by the Colorado Bar Association (CBA). The CBA cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the summaries.

The full text of the disciplinary Opinions follows the summaries page(s). The summaries and full-text Opinions also are accessible from the CBA website: www.cobar.org (click on "Opinions/Rules/Statutes"). Opinions, including exhibits, complaints, amended complaints, and summaries, also are available at the PDJ website, www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PDJ/pdj.htm, and on LexisNexis.®


Summaries of Decisions Issued by the PDJ

No. 07PDJ024. People v. Biddle. 12/17/2007. Attorney Suspended Three Years.

Following a sanctions hearing, the PDJ suspended Grafton Minot Biddle, attorney registration number 09638, from the practice of law for a period of three years. Suspension was effective January 17, 2008.

While serving as a magistrate and later as a judge for the Douglas County Court, respondent engaged in an affair with a deputy district attorney who practiced in his courtroom. When judicial officials inquired about the affair, respondent denied it. He also failed to participate in these proceedings. The facts admitted by default constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5 and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(a), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d). p.123.

No. 06PDJ083. Doering v. People. 02/29/2008. Attorney Readmitted to Practice Law.

Following a reinstatement hearing, a hearing board granted a Petition for Reinstatement filed by David M. Doering, attorney registration number 08259. Petitioner was reinstated to the practice of law immediately on the date of the order, subject to certain conditions.

A hearing board suspended petitioner on October 22, 2001, after he neglected three clients while suffering from depression and defaulted in the subsequent disciplinary proceedings. At the reinstatement hearing, petitioner provided substantial evidence that demonstrated his fitness to practice law and an overwhelming change in his character and mental health since the time of his original discipline. The hearing board therefore concluded that he met his burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence. Petitioner was ordered to pay costs of the disciplinary proceedings. p.125.

No. 06PDJ037. People v. Feather. 03/06/2007. Attorney Publicly Censured.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board publicly censured Gerald B. Feather, attorney registration number 05996. Sanction was effective March 6, 2007. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the hearing board’s sanction on November 5, 2007.

Respondent and his client entered into a written contingent fee agreement "to collect back child support" in 1990. He thereafter reduced the child support arrearages to judgments and used $4,000 from one judgment to purchase an oil and gas royalty for his client in 1993. Respondent then claimed a perpetual one-third interest in the monthly payment from the oil and gas royalty. The hearing board found that his misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5 and violated Colo. RPC 1.5(a). p.128.

No. 04PDJ112. People v. Haines. 04/21/2006. Sanction of Attorney Disbarmarment Affirmed.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board disbarred Susan G. Haines, attorney registration number 05996. Disbarment was effective May 22, 2006. The Colorado Supreme Court stayed the sanction pending appeal on May 19, 2006. The hearing board’s sanction was affirmed on February 25, 2008.

Respondent knowingly misappropriated funds of her client’s estate and acted deceitfully. The hearing board found that her misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5 and violated Colo. RPC 1.4(b), 1.15(a), 1.15(c), 1.15(f)(1), and 8.4(c). The hearing board did not find clear and convincing evidence that she violated Colo. RPC 1.1.

The effective date of disbarment is thirty-one days from the date of the Order. Respondent was ordered to pay costs of the disciplinary proceedings and restitution. p.131.

No. 06PDJ035. LaQuey v. People. 02/29/2008. Attorney Readmitted to Practice Law.

Following a readmission hearing, a hearing board granted a Petition for Readmission filed by Timothy LaQuey. Petitioner was readmitted to the practice of law subject to certain conditions.

The Colorado Supreme Court previously disbarred petitioner on November 15, 1993, after he engaged in two instances of criminal conduct. At the readmission hearing, petitioner provided substantial evidence that demonstrated his fitness to practice law and an overwhelming change in his character since the time of his original discipline. The hearing board concluded that he met his burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence.

Petitioner was ordered to comply with all conditions of admission relative to a "newly admitted attorney." Also, petitioner will submit to monthly practice monitoring for one year and comply with all conditions the Supreme Court deems necessary. Petitioner will pay costs of the disciplinary proceedings. p.136.

No. 06PDJ094. People v. Rosenfeld. 11/21/2007. Six-Month Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of One-Year Probation.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board suspended Alan David Rosenfeld, attorney registration number 30317, from the practice of law for a period of six months. The six-month suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a one-year period of probation, with conditions.

Respondent failed to complete discovery and adequately communicate with his clients. As a result of respondent’s lack of diligence, the trial court entered a default judgment against his clients. Respondent thereafter failed to obey the trial court’s order to pay the opposing party’s costs for obtaining the default judgment and failed to comply with a proper discovery request from opposing counsel.

His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5 and violated Colo. RPC 1.3, 1.4(d), 1.16(a), 3.4(c), and 3.4(d). The hearing board did not find clear and convincing evidence that respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.7(b), 3.5(c), or 8.4(c), as alleged in the complaint. p.140.

No. 06PDJ067. People v. Rymer. 05/25/2007. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board disbarred Dewayne Dell Rymer, attorney registration number 28946, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective June 25, 2007. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the hearing board’s sanction on December 3, 2007.

Respondent, as Trustee, transferred and used approximately $200,000 from the trust corpus for his own purposes and without authority. The hearing board found that this misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c). p.145.

No. 07PDJ039. Score v. People. 03/04/2008. Attorney Readmitted to Practice Law.

Following a readmission hearing, a hearing board granted a Petition for Readmission filed by Gertrude A. Score and readmitted her to the practice of law subject to certain conditions. The Colorado Supreme Court previously disbarred petitioner on July 12, 1988, after she engaged in several instances of misconduct while serving as co-guardian and co-conservator for a mentally incompetent person with a "sizable estate."

At the readmission hearing, petitioner provided substantial evidence that demonstrated her fitness to practice law, as well as an overwhelming change in her character since the time of her original discipline. The hearing board concluded that she met the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence.

Petitioner was ordered to comply with all conditions of admission relative to a "newly admitted attorney." Also, petitioner will be subject to quarterly practice monitors and trust account monitors for three years, and was ordered to pay costs of the disciplinary proceedings. p.148.

No. 05PDJ074. Todd v. People. 08/09/2006. Petition for Reinstatement Denied.

Following a reinstatement hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.29, a hearing board denied a Petition for Reinstatement filed by Vincent C. Todd, attorney registration number 12955, on August 9, 2006. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the hearing board’s decision on June 28, 2007.

The hearing board found that petitioner failed to provide clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation from the conduct that led to his suspension as required by C.R.C.P. 251.29. Petitioner was ordered to pay costs of the disciplinary proceedings. p.151.


Summaries of Decisions Regarding
Conditional Admissions of Misconduct
Issued by the PDJ

The PDJ’s approval of a Conditional Admission 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 PDJ, 1560 Broadway, Ste. 675, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 866-6658; www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PDJ/pdj.htm. They also are available on LexisNexis.®

No. 08PDJ019. People v. Beaty. 03/05/2008. Thirty-Day Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Three-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Jill Beaty, attorney registration number 27605, from the practice of law for thirty days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a three-year period of probation. Sanction was effective March 5, 2008.

On April 25, 2007, respondent was convicted of driving under the influence, after she drove while intoxicated on December 1, 2006. On August 6, 2007, respondent entered into a plea agreement—disturbing the peace, domestic violence—following an incident with her boyfriend on May 31, 2007. Her misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) and C.R.C.P. 251.5(b).

No. 08PDJ026. People v. Hall. 03/17/2008. Sixty-Day Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Two-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Todd J. Hall, attorney registration number 33281, from the practice of law for sixty days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. Sanction was effective March 17, 2008.

Respondent knowingly neglected a client matter and failed to communicate with his clients with regard to their case for several months. His clients ultimately may suffer actual harm if a court declines to reinstate their lawsuit that was dismissed for failure to prosecute.

Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5. His misconduct violated Colo. RPC 1.2(a), 1.3, 1.4(a), and 1.4(b).

No. 08PDJ005. People v. Haroldson. 03/05/2008. Six-Month Suspension.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Delwyn Haroldson, attorney registration number 23211, from the practice of law for six months, with the requirement of a Petition for Reinstatement. Suspension was effective March 5, 2008.

Respondent neglected a client matter and then improperly settled a claim for malpractice liability without advising his former client, in writing, that independent representation is appropriate in such a matter. Further, respondent engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice by including a requirement that his client waive any right to file a complaint with the People. Finally, respondent failed to communicate the basis of his fee to his client in writing. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.3, 1.8(h), 8.4(d), and 1.5(b).

No. 07PDJ061. People v. Henry. 03/05/2008. Thirty-Day Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of One-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Thomas Eugene Henry, attorney registration number 04504, from the practice of law for thirty days, all stayed on the successful completion of a one-year period of probation. Sanction was effective March 5, 2008.

Respondent hired a doctor to perform two independent psychological evaluations and never paid the doctor for either expert evaluation. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(d).

No. 08PDJ017. People v. Murphy. 03/06/2008. One-Year-and-One-Day Suspension, all but Ninety Days Stayed Pending Completion of Two-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Daniel Michael Murphy, attorney registration number 25507, from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day. Except for ninety days, the suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. Sanction was effective April 6, 2008.

Respondent negligently mishandled six client matters. He lacked diligence in attending to and communicating with clients about their matters. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.15(b), 1.16(d), 3.4(c), 5.5, and 8.4(d).

No. 08PDJ014. People v. Reaves. 02/25/2008. Attorney Publicly Censured.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and publicly censured Robert J. Reaves, attorney registration number 16675. Sanction was effective February 25, 2008.

In a motion to withdraw filed with the court, respondent negligently revealed confidential client information (a doctor’s report) without the client’s consent. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.6(a).

 

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