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TCL > May 2009 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

May 2009       Vol. 38, No. 5       Page  131
From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases

Disciplinary Case Summaries

The 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, when published by the PDJ, 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. 07PDJ012. People v. Bardulis. 03/13/2008. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board disbarred Ligita S. Bardulis, attorney registration number 32027, from the practice of law. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the hearing board’s sanction on February 6, 2009.

Respondent, an employee of a law firm, kept fees she collected instead of submitting them to the firm as provided in her employment agreement. She engaged in this conduct without authorization and without disclosing it to the firm. Her misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) and 1.8(e). p.133.

No. 06PDJ038 (consolidated with No. 06PDJ104). People v. Fisher. 10/30/2007. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Two-Year Probation.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board suspended Robert Scott Fisher, attorney registration number 14996, from the practice of law for six months, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the hearing board’s sanction on February 9, 2009.

Respondent secured a deed of trust from his client to assure payment of his fees while representing her in a divorce proceeding. He thereafter exercised his rights in the deed, but failed to follow through with the steps necessary to secure court-ordered benefits for his client. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.1, 1.3, and 1.8(a) and (j). p.138.

No. 06PDJ088. People v. Rasure, Jr. 05/30/2007. Attorney Suspended One Year and One Day.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board suspended Charles W. Rasure, Jr., attorney registration number 25569, from the practice of law for one year and one day. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the hearing board’s sanction on May 19, 2008.

Respondent brought claims against persons who previously reported his misconduct, in violation of C.R.C.P. 251.32(e). Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(d). p.143.

No. 08PDJ007. People v. Trogani. 11/18/2008. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Probation.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board suspended Lari Jean Trogani, attorney registration number 20008, from the practice of law for one year and one day. All but ninety days of the suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The suspension was effective January 31, 2009.

Respondent knowingly violated an order from a county court judge when she tendered a global plea agreement to a district court judge. She then withheld information from the district court judge when he asked about the county court judge’s position on it. Her misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 3.3(a)(1), 3.4(c), and 8.4(c) and (d). p.147.

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. 09PDJ013. People v. Gumaer. 03/03/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Rebecca Irene Gumaer, attorney registration number 37367, from the practice of law for one year and one day, all stayed pending the successful completion of a thirty-month period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective March 3, 2009.

On June 23, 2008, as a result of events that took place on November 2, 2007, respondent pled guilty to second-degree burglary (F3), in violation of CRS § 18-4-203(1) and (2)(a); criminal mischief (F4), in violation of CRS § 18-4-501; and harassment (M3), in violation of CRS § 18-9-111(1)(f). The district court imposed a deferred sentence of two years on the burglary and criminal mischief felony charges, with supervision by the adult diversion program. On the misdemeanor count, the district court imposed a one-year period of probation, to run concurrent with the first two counts, with supervision by the adult diversion program. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated C.R.C.P. 251.5(b) and Colo. RPC 8.4(b).

No. 09PDJ017. People v. Isaac. 03/20/2009. Attorney Suspended Three Years.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended John L. Isaac, attorney registration number 11387, from the practice of law for three years. The suspension was effective March 20, 2009.

On December 11, 2008, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approved a settlement agreement proposed by respondent and the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline, and agreed that respondent could not petition for reinstatement to the USPTO for five years. Several clients had retained respondent to prepare and prosecute patent applications on their behalf. In several cases, applications became abandoned without the consent of the clients, due to respondent’s failure to provide a timely reply to a USPTO action. Respondent thereafter failed to take adequate steps to inform his clients or revive the abandoned applications.

During the relevant time period, respondent and members of his family suffered serious health issues. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.21(d), and violated Colo. RPC 1.3, 4.1, and 8.4(c).

No. 09PDJ002. People v. Riebesell. 03/20/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of One-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Harold F. Riebesell, attorney registration number 00719, from the practice of law for thirty days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a one-year period of probation, with conditions. The sanction was effective March 20, 2009.

Respondent knowingly failed to comply with an order approving a conditional admission of misconduct in case No. 07PDJ021, which required him to repay funds he had borrowed from a client. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 3.4(c) and 8.4(d).

No. 08PDJ112. People v. Sanchez. 02/25/2009. Attorney Suspended One Year and One Day.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Gordon D. Sanchez, attorney registration number 12919, from the practice of law for one year and one day. The suspension was effective February 25, 2009.

On October 31, 2008, respondent pled guilty to tax evasion, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201 and 18 U.S.C. § 2. He was sentenced to four years of probation for his criminal conviction. The PDJ considered significant factors in mitigation in approving this stipulation. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated C.R.C.P. 251.5(b) and Colo. RPC 8.4(b).

No. 09PDJ018. People v. Whelan. 03/20/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of One-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Todd R. Whelan, attorney registration number 33866, from the practice of law for thirty days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a one-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective March 20, 2009.

Respondent failed to provide competent representation and to adequately communicate with a client with regard to her workers’ compensation claim. His client ultimately lost the opportunity to contest her claim, was forced to accept the amount of the insurer’s admitted liability, and is now liable for a part of her treatment. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.1 and 1.4.

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