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TCL > January 2011 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

January 2011       Vol. 40, No. 1       Page  139
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 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. 10PDJ031. People v. Fickel. 10/26/2010. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Robert Bruck Fickel II, attorney registration number 06689, from the practice of law for ninety days. All ninety days were stayed pending the successful completion of a one-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective October 26, 2010.

On September 29, 2006, respondent directed his non-lawyer assistant to e-file a co-petition for dissolution of marriage, showing his former spouse as the petitioner and himself as co-petitioner. He then directed his non-lawyer assistant to notarize the signature line for his former spouse’s signature, even though she had not signed the petition. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 3.3(a)(1) and 8.4(c).

No. 10PDJ096. People v. Grossman. 11/05/2010. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Robert Mark Grossman, attorney registration number 23980, from the practice of law for eighteen months. All but nine months were stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The suspension was effective November 5, 2010.

Respondent and his co-counsel represented a client charged with multiple felony counts for stealing $1.2 million from her employer. During two in camera conferences held without the client present, respondent and his co-counsel made statements to the prosecutor and the judge related to their disagreement with their client’s decision to reject a plea offer and other statements to preserve their own interests. They failed to maintain the confidences of their client. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.2(a), 1.4(b), 1.6(a), 1.7(b), 1.8(b), and 8.4(d).

No. 10PDJ014. People v. Haynes. 10/29/2010. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Douglas Jay Haynes, attorney registration number 18361, from the practice of law for sixty days. All sixty days were stayed pending the successful completion of a one-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective October 29, 2010.

Respondent failed to ensure that his non-lawyer legal assistant was following court rules concerning returns of service and garnishments, instead allowing her to use his signature stamp, which implied to the court that he had reviewed pleadings and documents when he had not. His failure to supervise led to approximately 300 purported writs of garnishment being served without issuance by the court or payment of the proper fees. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 5.3 and 8.4(d).

No. 10PDJ116. People v. Osborne. 11/09/2010. Attorney Disbarred.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and disbarred David Robert Osborne, attorney registration number 32319, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective November 9, 2010.

In or about the first quarter of 2010, respondent knowingly engaged in dishonest conduct toward his law partners and his client about the status of pending cases. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c). The PDJ considered respondent’s recent prior discipline for substantially similar conduct to be an aggravating factor in accepting a stipulation to disbarment for his conduct.

No. 10PDJ048. People v. Riebesell. 10/26/2010. Attorney Suspended.

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 two years, with reinstatement conditioned on payment of restitution. The suspension was effective October 26, 2010.

Respondent borrowed $149,303.94 from his client without providing any of the disclosures required by Colo. RPC 1.8(a), and then defaulted on the loan. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.8(a).

No. 10PDJ115. People v. Shaw. 10/26/2010. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Jeffrey C. Shaw, attorney registration number 28827, from the practice of law for six months. All but sixty days of the suspension were stayed pending the successful completion of a three-year period of probation with conditions. The suspension was effective November 26, 2010.

Respondent knowingly failed to perform services for two clients and dishonestly represented the status of their cases. Both clients lost their ability to proceed with their cases due to the statute of limitations. 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, 1.5(c), and 8.4(c).

No. 10PDJ120. People v. Webb. 11/05/2010. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Glenn Lowell Webb, attorney registration number 20023, from the practice of law for thirty days. All thirty days were stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation. The sanction was effective November 5, 2010.

From November 2005 through August 2009, respondent signed and submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) five checks drawn on his business/operating account and three electronic fund transfers that were returned for insufficient funds. At all relevant times, respondent did not have a separate account for depositing unearned funds he received from clients. The USPTO found that respondent had violated 37 C.F.R. §§ 10.23(b)(4) and 10.24(b)(6), and suspended him for two years, all stayed pending completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The suspension was effective July 7, 2010.

Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.21(a). However, the parties stipulated that respondent’s negligent misconduct warranted a substantially different form of discipline and agreed on the sanction set forth above.

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