Vol. 30, No. 6
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
(March 21, 2001 through April 20, 2001)
People v. Brock, No. 00PDJ091, 4/19/01. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge reinstated Kenneth F. Brock, attorney registration number 25972, to the practice of law. Reinstatement is effective May 10, 2001. p.123.
Sims v. People, No. 00PDJ062, 4/12/01. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge reinstated Karen Lee Sims, attorney registration number 19406, to the practice of law. Reinstatement is effective immediately. (No Opinion issued.)
Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admissions of Misconduct
Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(March 21, 2001 through April 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.]
People v. Herring, No. 01PDJ028, 4/6/01. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended Respondent Joseph C. Herring from the practice of law for a period of six months, subject to conditions. Respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.3(a), Colo. RPC 1.4(a), and Colo. RPC 8.4(c) by entering into an attorney/client relationship with a client with regard to a patent application and received payment for his professional services. Respondent was notified by the patent office that the application he had prepared had not been accepted resulting in its abandonment. Respondent took no action to remedy the abandoned application, and failed to notify the client of the problem. The client did not discover that the patent application had been abandoned for a significant amount of time in part due to respondent’s failure to communicate with the client and his effort to conceal the problem from the client. Respondent failed to provide the file to the client or replacement counsel for nearly three years thereafter. Respondent has negotiated a payment plan with the client and is current in his monthly payments. Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.
People v. Hurd, No. GC98B079 (consolidated with 00PDJ090), 4/05/01. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended Respondent Linda Wade Hurd from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day, with all but ninety days stayed during a two-year period of probation subject to certain conditions. In one matter, respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.3 by failing to correct information from opposing counsel regarding child support due her client even after her client made her aware of the error. The information then was used as a basis for a court order, resulting in a shortfall in child support to the client. In a second matter, respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.3, Colo. RPC 3.4(c), and Colo. RPC 8.4(d) by failing to submit a draft order for child support arrearages when directed by the magistrate to do so, resulting in the magistrate deeming the motion abandoned and assessing attorney fees against the respondent. Respondent then failed to take steps to have the motion for arrearages reinstated. In a third matter, respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.3 when the court directed respondent to submit a proposed order and respondent failed to do so in a timely manner. In a fourth matter, respondent failed to provide wage and income information to the court, and opposing counsel by a date certain after being directed to do so by the court, causing opposing counsel to file a motion to compel. Subsequently, respondent failed to timely file a motion to withdraw, and failed to provide the client’s file to replacement counsel. Respondent’s actions violated Colo. RPC 1.16(d), Colo. RPC 1.3, Colo. RPC 3.4(c), and Colo. RPC 8.4(d). Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.
People v. Lujan, No. 99PDJ092, 4/03/01. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and disbarred Respondent Angela M. Lujan from the practice of law. Respondent pled guilty to two misdemeanor theft charges in December 1997. In May 1999, respondent pled guilty to one count of felony theft, a class four felony. In each case, respondent was convicted of knowingly obtaining or exercising control over a thing of value of another without authorization, and intending to deprive the other person permanently of the thing of value. Respondent did not report any of the three convictions to the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel or its predecessor, despite her knowledge that she had a duty to do so. Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.
People v. Nagrich, No. 01PDJ030, 3/30/01. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and issued a public censure against Respondent Nicholas Nagrich in this reciprocal discipline matter from the state of Alabama. Respondent represented the plaintiff in one matter and, despite having been provided with eight months’ notice by the court of the disclosure deadlines and pretrial conference date, respondent failed to comply with pretrial disclosures and failed to attend the pretrial conference. In a second related matter, respondent filed a separate complaint on behalf of the same client against the same defendant. Four days later and less than four weeks prior to the pretrial conference in the second matter, respondent moved to Missouri, without requesting leave of court to withdraw in either case. Respondent failed to file a motion to withdraw, he failed to adequately represent his client’s interests in either case until the court had allowed him to withdraw, and he failed to comply with court orders. Respondent’s conduct violated Colo. RPC 1.1, Colo. RPC 1.3, and Colo. RPC 1.4(a). Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.
People v. O’Donnell, No. 00PDJ066, 4/05/01. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended Respondent Declan J. O’Donnell from the practice of law for a period of six months, with the full period of suspension stayed subject to certain conditions. Respondent violated Colo. RPC 3.4(c) by knowingly disobeying a court order by failing to timely pay child support arrearages. Respondent is proceeding in the child support action to modify the amount of arrearages due and is negotiating a payment plan. Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.
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