The Colorado Lawyer
Vol. 40, No. 7 [Page 141]
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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 Issued by the PDJ
No. 10PDJ104. People v. Alexander. 04/15/2011. Attorney Suspended.
Following a sanctions hearing, the PDJ suspended William A. Alexander, Jr., attorney registration number 09610, for two years. The suspension was effective May 16, 2011.
In two workers’ compensation matters, respondent neglected his clients’ cases, which ultimately precluded them from pursuing their legal claims. In addition, he assured one client for almost a year that he had filed an appeal with the court of appeals when he had not. Compounding this deceit, in an attempt to conceal his misrepresentation, respondent produced a falsified letter to the People during the course of its investigation. 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, 1.4(a), 3.4(c) and (d), and 8.4(c) and (d).
No. 10PDJ077. People v. Cabral. 02/03/2011. Attorney Suspended.
The hearing board suspended Alfonso S. Cabral, attorney registration number 18328, for three years. The suspension was effective March 6, 2011.
Respondent neglected three client matters, repeatedly failed to communicate with his clients, and engaged in conduct that prejudiced the administration of justice. This misconduct follows five previous instances of discipline for similar misconduct. 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, 1.16, and 8.4(d).
No. 10PDJ101. People v. Edgington. 04/15/2011. Attorney Disbarred.
Following a sanctions hearing, the PDJ disbarred Michael S. Edgington, attorney registration number 21830. The sanction was effective April 15, 2011.
Respondent failed to communicate with his client and failed to perform work on his client’s behalf, effectively abandoning his client. Respondent told his client that he had drafted, filed, and served a complaint and sent certain correspondence when, in fact, he had never completed those tasks. Further, respondent billed his client $5,165.25 for work he never completed. His 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(a), and 8.4(c).
No. 10PDJ103. People v. Smith. 04/20/2011. Complaint Against Attorney Dismissed.
Following a hearing, a hearing board dismissed the complaint against Matthew Smith, attorney registration number 22681. Respondent was suspended from the practice of law in 2004 and has not been reinstated to the bar. In 2008, respondent began to work as a paralegal. In that capacity, he drafted letters to opposing counsel concerning post-dissolution decree matters and arguably communicated settlement proposals to opposing counsel. Although the tone of respondent’s letters to opposing counsel was "somewhat lawyerly," respondent was forthcoming about his suspended status, and he worked under the direct supervision of his employer, a licensed attorney. Accordingly, the hearing board concluded respondent did not violate Colo. RPC 3.4(c) or 5.5(a).
No. 10PDJ022. People v. Walker. 04/14/2011. Attorney Suspended.
Following a sanctions hearing, a hearing board suspended Scott Neil Walker, attorney registration number 32859, for three years. The suspension was effective May 15, 2011.
Walker converted more than $22,000 from twelve clients by failing to return their retainers after he neglected to perform work. His neglect of most of those matters amounted to abandonment.
Respondent’s major depressive disorder, however, was principally responsible for his misconduct, and the hearing board determined that, in light of this mitigating factor, the sanction for respondent’s misconduct was appropriately lowered from the presumptive sanction of disbarment to a three-year suspension. His 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) and (b), 1.16(a)(1) and (d), 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. 11PDJ038. People v. Hall. 05/02/2011. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Todd J. Hall, attorney registration number 33281, for six months. The entire suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective May 2, 2011.
Respondent recklessly violated communication and diligence duties he owed his client by failing to obtain a timely discharge in his client’s bankruptcy matter, thereby causing his client to expend his own time and resources to resolve the errors resulting from respondent’s misconduct. 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)(3) and (4).
No. 10PDJ050. People v. Olsen. 03/11/2011. Private Admonition Imposed on Attorney.
Following a hearing, a hearing board imposed a private admonition on John R. Olsen, attorney registration number 09475. The sanction was effective April 11, 2011. Pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.6(d) and 251.31(i), the fact of this private admonition is public information but the content of the private admonition may not be published or otherwise disclosed.
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