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TCL > March 2001 Issue > Opinions

March 2001       Vol. 30, No. 3       Page  119
From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases

Opinions

The Colorado Supreme Court has adopted a series of changes to the attorney regulation system, including the establishment of the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.16. The Court also made extensive revisions to the rules governing the disciplinary process, repealing C.R.C.P. 241 et seq., and replacing those rules with C.R.C.P. 251 et seq. The Presiding Disciplinary Judge presides over attorney regulation proceedings and issues orders together with a two-member hearing board at trials and hearings. The Rules of Civil Procedure and the Rules of Evidence apply to all attorney regulation proceedings before the Presiding Disciplinary Judge. See C.R.C.P. 251.18(d).

The Colorado Lawyer publishes the summaries and full-text Opinions of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, Roger L. Keithley, and a two-member hearing board, whose members are drawn from a pool appointed by the Supreme Court, and the Opinions of the Appellate Discipline Commission.

These Opinions may be appealed in accordance with C.R.C.P. 251.27.

The full-text Opinions, along with their summaries, are available on the CBA homepage at http://www.cobar.org/tcl/index.htm. See page 115 for details.Opinions are also available on Lexis-Nexis at www.lexis.com/research and then clicking on States Legal U.S./Colorado/Cases and Court Rules/By Court/Colorado Supreme Court Disciplinary Opinions.


 

Case No. 99PDJ085

The People of the State of Colorado,

Complainant,

v.

Pamela Michelle Espinoza,

Respondent.

January 18, 2001

Original Proceeding in Discipline before the
Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge

OPINION AND ORDER IMPOSING SANCTIONS

Opinion by Presiding Disciplinary Judge Roger L. Keithley and Hearing Board members, Daniel A. Vigil and Mickey W. Smith, both members of the bar.

SANCTION IMPOSED: ATTORNEY SUSPENDED FOR SIX (6) MONTHS WITH FORMAL REINSTATEMENT PROCEEDINGS REQUIRED

A trial was held on April 25, 2000, before the Presiding Disciplinary Judge ("PDJ") and two hearing board members, Daniel A. Vigil and Mickey W. Smith both members of the Bar. James C. Coyle, Assistant Attorney Regulation Counsel represented the People of the State of Colorado (the "People"). Pamela Espinoza ("Espinoza"), the respondent, did not appear either in person or by counsel.

The People’s exhibits 1 through 8 were offered and admitted into evidence. The PDJ and Hearing Board considered the People’s argument of counsel, the facts established by the admissions of the respondent deemed admitted,1 the exhibits admitted, and made the following findings of fact which were established by clear and convincing evidence:

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

Pamela Michelle Espinoza has taken and subscribed the oath of admission, was admitted to the bar of this court on May 15, 1997, and is registered upon the official records of the court as attorney registration number 28034. She is subject to the jurisdiction of this court pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.1(b).

Cathy Bowman ("Bowman") hired Espinoza in March 1998 to represent her in connection with a small claims matter which had been filed in county court. Joe Borrego ("Borrego") had filed an action against Bowman in small claims court regarding a dispute over remodeling work. The appearance and answer date for the small claims matter was April 14, 1998. Bowman and Espinoza agreed that the small claims matter would be removed to district court and a counterclaim would be asserted on Bowman’s behalf. Espinoza informed Bowman that she need not appear on the April 14 return date.

On April 4, 1998, Robert Menapace, a friend of Bowman’s, delivered a $1,500 cashier’s check to Espinoza allowing her to proceed with the removal of the small claims action and the assertion of the counterclaim.

On April 13, 1998, Espinoza faxed an Answer, Counterclaim and Motion for transfer to the district court clerk. Although aware that the faxed pleadings would not be accepted until a docket fee was paid, Espinoza did not pay the necessary docket fee, nor did she appear in court on April 14, 1998. The court clerk retained possession of the Answer filed by Espinoza a day or two pending receipt of the required docket fee. When no docket fee was received, the court entered default judgment against Bowman.

The two-page pleading prepared by Espinoza as an Answer/Counterclaim/Motion to Transfer (exhibit 1) and Espinoza’s billing statement to Bowman reflect that Espinoza expended 7.83 hours of time (at $75 per hour) from the initial interview through the submission of the pleading to the court. All remaining charges on the billing statement relate to time expended by Espinoza in connection with unsuccessful efforts to set aside the entry of default and communication with others regarding the garnishment of Bowman’s wages. Espinoza earned no more than $587.50 of the original $1,500 retainer although she maintained in her deposition (exhibit 8) that she thought she had earned all of the retainer.

Espinoza failed to notify Bowman that judgment had been entered against her. Thereafter, Bowman’s employer received a writ of garnishment for the judgment and Bowman became aware that judgment had entered. Espinoza advised Bowman that the court had made a mistake, that Espinoza would take care of the problem and that Bowman should not worry. Espinoza did not tell Bowman that her failure to pay a docket fee caused the entry of default judgment. Notwithstanding Espinoza’s assurances, deductions were made on a regular basis from Bowman’s paycheck until the total judgment in the amount of $1,293.00 was paid.

On July 7, 1998, Larry D. Lee, an attorney selected by Bowman to replace Espinoza, requested that Espinoza forward to his office the file and all materials provided to her by Bowman. Lee also requested that Espinoza return the $1,500 retainer. Espinoza agreed to forward all documentation to Lee, but refused to refund the retainer. Espinoza informed Lee that she believed she had earned the $1,500.

Almost a month later, on August 18, 1998, Lee again wrote to Espinoza, again requesting return of the file and the $1,500 retainer. On August 26, 1998, Espinoza responded stating, "I am in the process of copying Bowman’s file and will send it to you as soon as it is ready." Espinoza did not thereafter return the file or refund any portion of the Bowman retainer.

The Complaint in this matter was originally filed July 16, 1999. On October 15, 1999, as a result of discussions between the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and Espinoza, the parties entered into a Diversion Agreement pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.13 resolving the issues advanced in the Complaint. On December 13, 1999, however, the People filed a motion to terminate the Diversion Agreement based upon Espinoza’s failure to comply with a term of that agreement — the refund of $1,000 to Bowman. Espinoza did not respond to the People’s motion. On February 9, 2000, the PDJ granted the motion to terminate the Diversion Agreement and placed the matter on the court’s active docket. Thereafter, Espinoza neither appeared at the pre-trial conference nor at the trial of this matter.

II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The People’s Complaint charged Espinoza with violations of The Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct ("Colo. RPC") 1.3 (a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to that lawyer); Colo. RPC 1.4(a) (a lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information); Colo. RPC 1.4(b)(a lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation), and Colo. RPC 1.16(d)(upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client’s interests, such as giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refunding any advance payment of fee that has not been earned).

The facts presented clearly establish each of the violations charged. Espinoza agreed to represent Bowman in connection with a contested matter in court. She accepted a retainer to secure her attorney fees and court costs, prepared a responsive pleading, forwarded it to the court for filing but knowingly failed to pay the required filing fee on behalf of her client although she had client funds to do so. Thereafter, Espinoza failed to correct her failure to pay the required fee, failed to keep her client informed of developments in the case, did not attempt to set aside the default judgment, and misinformed her client that the entry of the default resulted from a mistake by the court. Such misconduct constitutes neglect and is a violation of Colo. RPC 1.3. Moreover, Espinoza’s failure to keep her client accurately informed of events as they transpired or to explain the events to Bowman so as to allow Bowman to make informed decisions regarding the case constituted a violation of the provisions of Colo. RPC 1.4(a) and Colo. RPC 1.4(b).

Once the client discovered Espinoza’s deception, terminated the attorney/client relationship and secured replacement counsel, Espinoza failed to deliver the Bowman file to replacement counsel and refused to refund any portion of the retainer. By so doing, Espinoza also violated Colo. RPC 1.16(d).

In addition, following the entry of default judgment against her client, Espinoza concealed from her client the fact that her failure to pay the required docket fee caused the entry of default judgment and affirmatively misrepresented to the client that the entry of default was attributable to a court mistake. Both of these actions reflect conduct involving misrepresentation and dishonest acts and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c).2

III. SANCTIONS/IMPOSITION OF DISCIPLINE

The ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions (1991 & Supp. 1992) ("ABA Standards") is the guiding authority for selecting the appropriate sanction to impose for lawyer misconduct.

ABA Standard 4.42 provides:

Suspension is generally appropriate when:

(a) a lawyer knowingly fails to perform services for a client and causes injury or potential injury to a client

ABA Standard 4.62 provides:

Suspension is generally appropriate when a lawyer knowingly deceives a client and causes injury or potential injury to the client.

Espinoza’s misconduct meets the requirements of both ABA Standards 4.42 and 4.62. Her neglect of Bowman’s case resulted in Bowman’s being deprived of her day in court, the entry of a default judgment against Bowman and garnishment of Bowman’s wages. Espinoza’s misleading statements to Bowman delayed the entry of successor counsel into her case and concealed Espinoza’s misconduct from the client.

Colorado case law also suggests that a period of suspension is an appropriate sanction for the misconduct presented in this case. See People v. Williams, 824 P.2d 813, 815 (Colo. 1992)(attorney suspended for six months with requirement of reinstatement proceeding for continued and chronic neglect of three legal matters and for failing to comply with order compelling discovery in disciplinary proceeding in view of aggravating factors including refusal to acknowledge wrongful nature of conduct); People v. Gaimara, 810 P. 2d 1076, 1080 (Colo. 1991)(suspending the attorney for six months for neglect of a client’s matter and distinguishing other cases warranting a lesser period of suspension for simple neglect of client matters by finding that the attorney engaged in intentional misconduct and deception); People v. Goens, 770 P.2d 1218, 1219 (Colo. 1989)(attorney suspended for six months with a requirement of reinstatement proceedings for continuing pattern of neglect of two client matters involving vulnerable clients); People v. Mayer, 744 P.2d 509, 510 (Colo. 1987)(attorney suspended for six months with a requirement of reinstatement proceeding for neglecting a legal matter, charging an excessive fee, failing to promptly deliver the client’s file and failing to refund a fee to the client).

The PDJ and Hearing Board considered factors in aggravation pursuant to ABA Standard 9.2 and factors in mitigation pursuant to ABA Standard 9.3. In mitigation, Espinoza has had no prior discipline, id. 9.32(a), and she is inexperienced in the practice of law in that she had been licensed as an attorney for approximately one year at the time of her misconduct set forth above, id. at 9.32(f). However, her lack of prior discipline and inexperience in the practice of law are not of sufficient magnitude, especially in light of her nonparticipation in this proceeding, to warrant reducing the indicated sanction of suspension. Moreover, Espinoza’s failure to attend the trial in this matter or otherwise meaningfully participate in these formal proceedings raises serious questions regarding her fitness to practice law.

In aggravation, Espinoza’s deposition reveals that she failed to recognize the wrongful nature of her conduct and has not exhibited any genuine remorse for the injury she imposed upon her client, id. at 9.22(g), she engaged in bad faith obstruction of the disciplinary proceeding by failing to comply with the orders of the disciplinary agency, id. at 9.22(e), and she demonstrated indifference to making restitution, id. at 9.22(j).

IV. ORDER

It is therefore ORDERED:

1. PAMELA MICHELLE ESPINOZA, registration number 28034, is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of six months effective thirty-one days from the date of this Order. Respondent is required to comply with the provisions of C.R.C.P. 251.29(c) and (d) and undergo a formal reinstatement proceeding in order to be reinstated to the practice of law.

2. PAMELA MICHELLE ESPINOZA is ORDERED to pay the costs of these proceedings.

3. The People shall submit a Statement of Costs within ten (10) days of the date of this Order. Respondent shall have five (5) days thereafter to submit a response thereto.


 

1. The People served Requests for Admission on Espinoza on February 24, 2000. Espinoza did not respond. Pursuant to a motion filed by the People and granted by the PDJ, the facts requested to be admitted were deemed admitted in this proceeding. C.R.C.P. 36.

2. The People did not allege or contend that Espinoza abandoned her client.


 

Case No. 00PDJ058

Patrick A. Egbune,

Petitioner,

v.

The People of the State of Colorado,

Respondent.

January 16, 2001

Original Proceeding in Discipline before the
Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING REINSTATEMENT

Opinion by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge Roger L. Keithley and Hearing Board members Kathryn S. Lonowski and Robert M. Maes.

REINSTATEMENT DENIED

This reinstatement matter was heard on November 7, 2000, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.29(b) and (c) before the Presiding Disciplinary Judge ("PDJ") and two hearing board members, Kathryn S. Lonowski and Robert M. Maes, both members of the Bar. James S. Sudler, Assistant Attorney Regulation Counsel represented the People of the State of Colorado (the "People") and Patrick A. Egbune ("Egbune") represented himself. The PDJ and Hearing Board heard testimony on behalf of Egbune from Erich Halvorsen, Carla Shoeboot, Richard Dennis Semakula and Karen Mack. Egbune testified on his own behalf. Neil Weiner, M.D. and David S. Wahl, M.D. testified on behalf of the People. Egbune’s exhibits 1 through 13 and the People’s exhibits 1 through 5 were offered and admitted into evidence by stipulation.

The PDJ and Hearing Board considered the testimony and exhibits admitted, assessed the credibility of the witnesses, considered the argument set forth in the parties’ respective trial briefs, and made the following findings of fact which were established by clear and convincing evidence:

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

Egbune was licensed to practice law in the State of Colorado on May 9, 1991, attorney registration number 20397. He was suspended from the practice of law for one year and one day by Order of the Supreme Court in case no. 98SA120 and case no. 98SA206. In re Egbune, 971 P. 2d 1065 (Colo. 1999), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1115 (1999). The suspension resulting from the Supreme Court’s Order was effective February 20, 1999.

The disciplinary suspension imposed against Egbune arose from two separate events of misconduct. In case no. 98SA206, the more serious of the events, Egbune was found to have violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) by engaging in conduct which would violate § 18-3-404(1)(a), 5 C.R.S. (1998), third-degree sexual assault. Specifically, Egbune was found to have inappropriately touched a female client in his office. In addition, in case no. 98SA120, Egbune was found to have violated Colo. RPC 3.3(a)(1)(making a false statement to a tribunal) by recklessly accusing a judge and opposing counsel of having improper ex parte communications. Egbune was ordered to pay costs in the amount of $2,899.01.

On May 12, 2000, in a separate disciplinary action, case no. GC98A13, involving misconduct which occurred both prior to and concurrently with the misconduct for which the one year and one day suspension was imposed, the PDJ and Hearing Board suspended Egbune from the practice of law for a period of six months commencing upon the expiration of his prior suspension. In that disciplinary action, Egbune assumed responsibility for a contingent fee action from another attorney knowing that the prior attorney claimed a portion of any recovery to satisfy his attorney’s fees. He settled the action on terms which had been secured by the prior attorney, and disbursed funds resulting from the settlement without notifying the prior attorney or segregating the disputed funds in a trust account. Egbune was found to have violated Colo. RPC 1.15(a)(failure to segregate and maintain disputed funds), Colo. RPC 1.15(b)(failure to provide an accounting), Colo. RPC 1.15(c)(failure to keep funds separate), Colo. RPC 1.5(a)(charging an unreasonable fee), Colo. RPC 8.4(c)(engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud deceit or misrepresentation) and Colo. 8.4(h)(other conduct reflecting adversely upon fitness to practice law). Egbune was ordered to pay costs in the amount of $205.22.

Pursuant to C.R.C.P. 241.21,1 which was in effect at the time of Egbune’s suspension, Egbune filed the requisite affidavit following the effective date of his one year and one day suspension. Egbune paid all costs assessed in the respective disciplinary actions. In addition, Egbune reached an agreement in accordance with the Orders issued in the six month suspension case.

In addition to the disciplinary cases set forth herein, Egbune was the subject of a disability action commenced in 1996, case no. 96SA270. On August 29, 1996 the Supreme Court transferred him to disability inactive status. On November 12, 1997, as a result of an agreement reached between Egbune and the People, Egbune was reinstated to the practice of law on the express condition that reports regarding his bi-polar condition be submitted by his treating physician to the People every three months. Until approximately July 30, 1998 Egbune complied with the reporting condition. Thereafter, Egbune failed to submit or cause to be submitted any reports regarding his mental condition as required by the disability reinstatement order.

On July 19, 2000, Egbune filed a Petition for Reinstatement with the PDJ and tendered the $500.00 deposit for the costs of the reinstatement proceeding in accordance with C.R.C.P. 251.29. On July 31, 2000, the People filed an Answer to the Petition. Upon the conclusion of their investigation authorized by C.R.C.P. 251.29(d), the People supplemented their Answer on September 15, 2000 and opposed reinstatement.

During the period of his suspensions, Egbune has been employed as an automobile salesman. Two of his co-workers testified on his behalf that he was of good moral character and had not engaged in any inappropriate conduct of which they were aware. Egbune testified that he has learned from his prior misconduct and discipline and will not engage in similar conduct in the future. Egbune represented to the PDJ and Hearing Board that any future contact with female clients will take place in the presence of a third person so as to eliminate any possibility of improper conduct.2

Egbune directed a significant portion of his testimony to minimizing the significance of his prior misconduct or directly denying it. Although he expressed his acceptance of the prior findings of misconduct and voiced the opinion that he had "learned his lesson," he denied that any sexual misconduct ever occurred between himself and his prior client, disagreed that his conduct in the contingent fee case was at variance with required professional norms, and evidenced no awareness of the seriousness of his prior actions. Egbune acknowledged that he had not sought any professional assistance arising out of the sexual abuse situation nor sought professional input regarding his perception of the incident.

Although evidence was presented that Egbune had completed forty-six hours of continuing legal education credits by home study and four hours by seminar since the date of his first suspension, insufficient evidence was tendered regarding the nature of those courses, apart from the course titles and the distribution of general and ethics credits, from which the PDJ and Hearing Board could compare Egbune’s efforts to educate himself with regard to the specific misconduct previously found.

Both Dr. Wiener and Dr. Wahl gave testimony regarding Egbune’s mental status, their diagnosis and prognosis regarding the impact of his condition on his general fitness to practice law. Neither Dr. Wiener nor Dr. Wahl expressed the opinion that Egbune’s mental condition prevented him from practicing law.

II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

Egbune is subject to the jurisdiction of this court pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.1(b).

C.R.C.P. 251.29(b) provides, in part:

An attorney who has been suspended for a period longer than one year must file a petition with the Presiding Disciplinary Judge for reinstatement and must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the attorney has been rehabilitated, has complied with all applicable disciplinary orders and with all provisions of this chapter, and is fit to practice law.

Thus, an attorney who has been suspended from the practice of law must bear the burden of proving that he or she is: (1) rehabilitated; (2) has complied with all applicable disciplinary orders and all provisions of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure relating to attorney discipline regarding actions required of suspended attorneys, and (3) is fit to practice law. All three of the elements of proof must be established before reinstatement may be authorized.

Imposition of discipline against an attorney includes a determination that some professional or personal shortcoming existed upon which the discipline is premised. The shortcoming may have resulted either from personal deficits or from a combination of personal deficits and professional deficits and/or inadequacies in the professional environment. It necessarily follows that the analysis of rehabilitation should be directed at the professional or moral shortcoming which resulted in the discipline imposed. See C.R.C.P. 251.29(c)(5); Tardiff v. State Bar, 612 P.2d 919, 923 (Cal. 1980)(citing Roth v. State Bar, 253 P.2d 969, 972 (Cal. 1953)(holding that in an application for reinstatement . . . the proof presented must be sufficient to overcome the court’s former adverse judgment of [the] applicant’s character)).

Consideration of the issue of rehabilitation requires the PDJ and Hearing Board to consider numerous factors bearing on the petitioner’s state of mind and professional ability, including character, conduct since the imposition of the original discipline, professional competence, candor and sincerity, present business pursuits, personal and community service, and the petitioner’s recognition of the seriousness of his previous misconduct. See People v Klein, 756 P. 2d 1013, 1016 (Colo. 1988). Under the factors set forth in Klein, the PDJ and Hearing Board find that Egbune did not establish by clear and convincing evidence that he is rehabilitated or possesses the requisite ability and professional competence to practice law.

Neither the mere passage of time nor personal assurances of future compliance, standing alone, should be interpreted as rehabilitation. In re Sharpe, 499 P.2d 406, 409 (Okla. 1972). In the case of Goff v. People, No. 99PDJ 023, slip op. at 8-14 (Colo. PDJ August 4,2000) 29 Colo. Law. 126, 128-130 (October 2000) the PDJ and Hearing Board undertook a thorough analysis of the requirements of C.R.C.P. 251.29. That analysis neither changed nor enhanced the standard of proof required for reinstatement. Rather, it set forth the decisional methodology utilized in determining whether rehabilitation has been accomplished.

The evidence presented in this reinstatement hearing does not meet the required standard of proof that rehabilitation has been achieved. Egbune’s initial suspension from the practice of law arose from serious misconduct involving sexual improprieties with a client and unsupported allegations of misconduct against a judge and opposing counsel. Although Egbune has consistently denied the sexual improprieties, the hearing panel which heard that case determined that the issue turned upon the credibility of the witnesses presented and found the female client’s version of events more credible. The Supreme Court, after reviewing that decision, affirmed its findings. Since that time, Egbune has neither accepted the conclusion of the objective fact finders that his conduct was improper, nor sought insight into his continuing perception that the conduct did not violate professional requirements. Indeed, Egbune’s only response to the sexual misconduct finding is to deny that it ever occurred.

Insufficient evidence was presented in this matter directed to those efforts undertaken by Egbune, if any, to rehabilitate himself from his advancement of unsupported allegations against a judge and opposing counsel. The facts set forth in the Colorado Supreme Court opinion imposing the original suspension reflect Egbune’s willingness to advance allegations of misconduct against others based entirely upon surmise and conjecture without any supportable factual basis. Although it appears from the evidence that Egbune completed fifty hours of continuing legal education courses following his suspension, insufficient evidence was presented from which it may be determined that the courses were focused upon the duties and obligations of attorneys to investigate circumstances before advancing allegations of improper conduct before a tribunal. Moreover, even if one or more of the courses taken did address that issue, there is no evidence indicating that Egbune either understands that responsibility or accepts it.

Egbune’s second suspension arose from the manner in which he handled a contingent fee matter transferred to him from another attorney. The findings in that case reflect a basic misunderstanding by Egbune of his duties and responsibilities both to prior counsel and his client, a willingness to engage in deceptive conduct for personal gain and a lack of knowledge regarding the applicability of The Rules of Professional Conduct to the retention of disputed funds. No evidence was offered by Egbune — apart from his own testimony in which he sought to justify and minimize his misconduct — from which it can be determined that he has made any successful effort to gain a greater understanding of his duties and responsibilities to his client or others who claim an interest in disputed funds or to recognize that The Rules of Professional Conduct, as opposed to his observation and interpretation of the actions of others, govern his professional conduct.t.

Goff, supra, recognizes the principle that rehabilitation requires proof by clear and convincing evidence that the personal and/or professional deficiencies which resulted in the original discipline have, in fact, been eliminated. Goff, case no. 00PDJ023, slip op. at 11, 29 Colo. Law. at 129 (holding that the analysis of rehabilitation should be directed at the professional or moral shortcoming which resulted in the discipline imposed). Neither personal assurances that the conduct will not recur nor passive attendance at Continuing Legal Education courses, without more, meet that standard. There must be evidence of positive and successful efforts to correct the deficits from which the original misconduct arose. No such evidence was presented in this reinstatement hearing.

Because Egbune has failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that he has been rehabilitated, we cannot conclude that he is fit to practice law. See Goff, case no. 00PDJ023, slip op. at 13, 29 Colo. Law. at 130. Moreover, undisputed evidence presented in this proceeding establishes that over an extended period of time, Egbune has failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s Order arising out of his 1996 disability inactive status proceeding. His failure to comply with that Order over the stated period of time, whether through misunderstanding, neglect or conscious choice, precludes any finding of fitness to practice law.3

III. ORDER

It is therefore ORDERED:

Patrick A. Egbune’s Petition for Reinstatement to the practice of law is herein DENIED.


 

1. C.R.C.P. 241.21 was replaced by C.R.C.P. 251.28 effective January 1, 1999.

2. Egbune did not address the impact of this proposed procedure on the integrity of the attorney client privilege.

3. Under C.R.S.P. 251.29(b), Egbune’s disciplinary reinstatement requires proof of compliance with all provisions of the Colorado Rules of Procedure Regarding Attorney Discipline and Disability, Chapter 20.

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