Vol. 39, No. 5
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. 08PDJ002. People v. Fain. 01/25/2010. Attorney Suspended for One Year and One Day.
Following a sanctions hearing, the PDJ suspended Caroline Fain, Wyoming attorney registration number 6-4026, from the practice of law in the state of Colorado for one year and one day. The suspension was effective February 25, 2010.
Respondent, a Wyoming attorney, charged a Colorado client an unreasonable fee, disclosed client confidences, and published false statements about her client to third parties. She also failed to present mitigating evidence or otherwise participate in these proceedings. Her misconduct, admitted by default, constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.5(a), 1.6(a), and 8.4(c).
No. 09PDJ022. People v. Gallegos. 02/03/2010. Attorney Disbarred.
Following a sanctions hearing, the PDJ disbarred Alex Frank Gallegos, attorney registration number 24144, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective March 6, 2010.
Respondent converted trust funds while serving as a trustee, and caused injury to the sole beneficiary of the trust. He also failed to present mitigating evidence or otherwise participate in these proceedings. His misconduct, admitted by default, constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.15(a) and 8.4(c).
Summaries of Decisions Regarding
Conditional Admission 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. 09PDJ104. People v. Hansen. 03/18/2010. Attorney Publicly Censured.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and publicly censured David Oman Hansen, attorney registration number 29363. The sanction was effective March 18, 2010.
Respondent sought to represent certain homeowners who had purchased their homes from class members in a previous class action lawsuit in a malpractice suit against class counsel. He solicited and interviewed these potential clients while his law firm concurrently served as corporate general counsel for the home-building company. Respondent therefore violated his duty of candor and loyalty to the potential clients he misleadingly solicited and interviewed. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.7(b), 7.1(a)(1), 7.3(a), and 8.4(c).
No. 09PDJ059. People v. Lederman. 03/18/2010. Attorney Suspended Six Months.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Edward L. Lederman, attorney registration number 23629, from the practice of law for six months, with requirement of petitioning for reinstatement pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.29(c)–(e). The suspension was effective March 18, 2010.
Respondent failed to competently handle a dissolution of marriage action for an active-duty client. He failed to prepare his client for hearings, to forward discovery requests to his client, to provide his client with exhibits for his review before a hearing, and to forward financial information to opposing counsel. He also failed to adequately communicate with his client and violated the rules of tribunal by failing to comply with C.R.C.P. 16. His 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 1.4, and 3.4(c) and (d).
No. 09PDJ049. People v. Osborne. 03/18/2010. Attorney Suspended Three Years—All But One Year and One Day Stayed Pending Completion of Two-Year Probation.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended David Robert Osborne, attorney registration number 32319, from the practice of law for three years, all but one year and one day stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The suspension was effective April 18, 2010.
Respondent knowingly engaged in conduct involving dishonesty and fraud by working as a partner at one law firm while also working with another firm without disclosing to either firm his status at the other firm. He thereafter knowingly made numerous misrepresentations and false statements to partners from both firms, as well as clients, regarding his employment status. He also unilaterally transferred client matters to his new firm and misrepresented and/or "wrote-off" bills on several matters with his old firm. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) and 4.1(a).
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