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TCL > July 2009 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

The Colorado Lawyer
July 2009
Vol. 38, No. 7 [Page  151]

© 2009 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved.

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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 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. 09PDJ003. People v. Bernhardt. 05/11/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Robert Leroy Bernhardt, attorney registration number 28915, from the practice of law for ninety days. The suspension was stayed pending successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective May 11, 2009.

Respondent negligently failed to competently represent a client in certain criminal proceedings and then negligently failed to adequately communicate with the client. Respondent also failed to promptly return his client’s files. Respondent’s 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), and 1.16(d).

No. 08PDJ105. People v. Duggan. 04/27/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Daniel Sean Duggan, attorney registration number 17790, from the practice of law for sixty days. The suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective April 27, 2009.

In three matters, respondent failed to perform services for his clients, failed to adequately communicate with them, and then failed to timely refund the unearned portions of their retainer fees. In one of the matters, respondent failed to enter into a written fee agreement with his client, despite the fact that he had never represented the client in the past, and then deposited the retainer fee into his office account. Respondent’s 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), 1.5(b), 1.15(a), 1.15(g)(8), 1.15(j)(8), and 1.16(d).

No. 09PDJ027. People v. Fischer. 04/22/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Gene E. Fischer, attorney registration number 01961, from the practice of law for six months. The suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a three-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective April 22, 2009.

Respondent is the sole member/manager of an investment company. The investment company loaned money to a customer for his landscaping company. The customer later became respondent’s client in a personal injury lawsuit in which the investment company had a lien in any settlement, as well as in a second lawsuit against the insurance company. Respondent failed to adequately provide written disclosures regarding potential conflicts of interest in either matter, despite the fact that his own interests may have materially limited his representation of his client. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.7(b).

No. 09PDJ036. People v. Hudson. 04/29/ 2009. Attorney Suspended for Sixty Days.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Deborah J. Hudson, attorney registration number 36973, from the practice of law for sixty days. The suspension was effective April 29, 2009.

Respondent failed to competently represent her clients and to adequately communicate with them. In one matter, a case was lost on summary judgment without the client’s knowledge. In another matter, respondent failed to carry through with her client’s representation at a mediation hearing. Another matter was dismissed, causing unnecessary delay. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.3 and 1.4(a).

No. 09PDJ039. People v. Jay. 05/11/2009. Attorney Publicly Censured.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and publicly censured Stuart Adam Jay, attorney registration number 34622. The sanction was effective May 11, 2009.

On November 13, 2008, respondent pled guilty to driving while ability impaired, in violation of CRS § 42-4-1301(1)(b). The county court sentenced him to a twelve-month period of probation and ordered him to pay fees and costs. Respondent’s 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. 09PDJ037. People v. Meaux. 04/29/2009. Attorney Publicly Censured.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and publicly censured Michael R. Meaux, attorney registration number 35658. The sanction was effective April 29, 2009.

On October 8, 2008, respondent pled guilty to unlawful possession of a weapon, a class 1 misdemeanor, in violation of CRS § 18-12-102(4). The district court sentenced him to two years of unsupervised probation and ordered him to complete anger management classes. Respondent’s 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. 09PDJ034. People v. Sanford. 04/22/2009. Attorney Suspended for Sixty Days.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Russell B. Sanford, attorney registration number 17499, from the practice of law for sixty days. The suspension was effective May 26, 2009.

Respondent entered into numerous business transactions with his client. He knowingly failed to advise his business partner/client to put in writing the desire to seek the advice of independent counsel on various transactions. His client also did not provide informed consent, by a signed writing, to respondent’s role in the various transactions. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.8(a).

© 2009 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=2009.


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