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TCL > July 2001 Issue > Summaries of Opinions

July 2001       Vol. 30, No. 7       Page  167
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. The summaries of the Opinions of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge 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 141 for details), as well as 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.


Summaries of Decisions Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge

(April 21, 2001 through May 20, 2001)

People v. Essay, No. 99PDJ125 (consolidated with 00PDJ035), 5/15/01. Attorney Registration.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Edward J. Essay, Jr. from the practice of law. Respondent engaged in a pervasive pattern of misconduct involving violations of Colo. RPC 1.1 (lack of competent representation) on one occasion, Colo. RPC 1.3 (neglect of a client matter) on ten occasions, Colo. RPC 1.4(a) (failure to communicate) on six occasions, Colo. RPC 1.5 (charging an unreasonable fee) on one occasion, Colo. RPC 1.16(d) (failing to return client files) on two occasions, Colo. RPC 1.8(a) (entering into a business transaction with a client) on one occasion, and fifteen separate violations of Colo. RPC 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation). Essay abandoned four separate client matters and caused serious or potentially serious harm to those clients. In each of the eight matters giving rise to the consolidated proceeding, Essay knowingly failed to perform services for his clients and caused serious or potentially serious injury to each of them. There is a consistent pattern of neglect in Essay’s handling of the eight matters. With regard to five separate matters, Essay made knowing misrepresentations to his clients that he was engaged in settlement discussions and that he soon would favorably resolve their disputes. In several cases, while the clients were present in his office, Essay fabricated telephone conferences with the presiding judge and/or opposing counsel in the client’s case, intending the client to believe he was working on their cases when, in fact, he was not. In several cases, he informed the clients that he had negotiated large settlements for them, while in fact, Essay had taken little if any action in their cases. In one matter, the clients, two elderly sisters, paid Essay a monthly amount for his fees, and he knowingly converted this amount to his own use. Disbarment is effective thirty-one days from the date of the Order. Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. p.169.

People v. Post, GC98B102 (consolidated with GC98B122, 99PDJ031, 00PDJ002, and 00PDJ063), 5/15/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Daniel J. Post for conduct arising from nineteen different matters, including Post’s neglect of client matters, failure to communicate with clients, failure to return client property and funds, failure to provide competent representation to clients, engaging in dishonesty and misrepresentations in dealings with clients, and conversion of clients’ funds. Post’s conduct violated Colo. RPC 1.1 (failing to provide competent legal representation), Colo. RPC 1.3 (neglect of a legal matter), Colo. RPC 1.4(a) (failing to communicate with a client), Colo. RPC 1.5(a) (charging an unreasonable fee), Colo. RPC 1.16(d) (failing to surrender papers and property upon termination), Colo. RPC 1.15(b) (failing to account for and provide funds or other property upon request by client), Colo. RPC 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation), Colo. RPC 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice), and Colo. RPC 8.4(h) (engaging in conduct that reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law). Disbarment is effective thirty-one days from the date of the Order. Post was ordered to pay restitution to his clients and pay the costs of the proceeding. p.177.

 

Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admissions of Misconduct

Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge

(April 21, 2001 through May 20, 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.]

Michael Phillip Adams, No. 01PDJ031, 4/24/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended Respondent Michael Philip Adams from the practice of law for a period of ninety days, with forty-five days stayed pending a one-year period of probation subject to conditions. In one matter, Respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.1 by rendering incompetent representation to the client, Colo. RPC 1.3 by neglecting the client’s adoption matter and failing to provide diligent representation, and Colo. RPC 1.4 by failing to keep the client reasonably informed. In another matter, Respondent neglected his representation of the client, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3, failed to keep the client reasonably informed, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.4, and knowingly misrepresented to the client that he had filed a motion to modify child support when, in fact, he had not done so. Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.

People v. Donaldson, No. 00PDJ011, 4/10/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended Respondent James F. Donaldson from the practice of law for a period of ninety days, with all but thirty days stayed, followed by a one-year period of probation subject to conditions. In one matter, Respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.3 by failing to respond to pre-trial motions and failing to timely designate an expert, and Colo. RPC 3.4(c) by failing to comply with a court order regarding a conflict of interest. Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.

People v. Lusero and Wimmershoff, No. 00PDJ070, 5/3/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct as to Respondent James F. Lusero, and suspended him from the practice of law for a period of thirty days, all subject to stay during a one-year period of probation and subject to conditions. Respondent accepted an undocumented loan from his client, in violation of prior DR5-104(A), the predecessor to Colo. RPC 1.7(b), and repaid the loan during the period of his representation, in violation of prior DR5-103(B), the predecessor to Colo. RPC 1.8(e). Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.

People v. Peterson, No. 99PDJ104, 5/2/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended James I. Peterson from the practice of law for a period of eighteen months. Respondent violated Colo. RPC 8.4(h), constituting grounds for discipline, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5(b). Respondent entered a guilty plea to felony menacing with a deadly weapon. He subsequently violated a restraining order against him, constituting a violation of Colo. RPC 3.4(c). The respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.

People v. Stanek, No. 01PDJ056, 5/15/01. Attorney Regulation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and disbarred Respondent William C. Stanek in this reciprocal discipline matter from the state of Nebraska, where respondent voluntarily consented to the entry of an order of disbarment. Respondent endorsed settlement checks with his client’s name without the client’s authorization, used the proceeds from the checks for his own benefit, and failed to inform the client that he had done so until after he utilized the funds in one case. In the other case, respondent failed to inform the client that he had settled the case, received the settlement funds, and utilized them for his own benefit. Respondent’s conduct violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c), Colo. RPC 8.4(d), Colo. RPC 8.4(h), and Colo. RPC 1.15(a) and (b). Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.

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