|The Colorado Lawyer|
Vol. 41, No. 6 [Page 101]
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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.®
Summary of Decision Issued by the PDJ
No. 10PDJ097. Miranda v. People. 03/17/2012. Attorney Reinstated.
Following a reinstatement hearing, a Hearing Board granted Michael T. Miranda, attorney registration number 24702, reinstatement to the practice of law in the State of Colorado pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.29. Miranda drove his car while intoxicated, causing the death of Kristopher Mansfield, a U.S. Air Force veteran who had just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. Miranda was convicted of vehicular homicide/DUI, and was sentenced to eight years’ incarceration, followed by five years of mandatory parole. In 2007, Miranda’s law license was suspended for two years. The Hearing Board concluded that reinstatement is appropriate because Miranda, who is now serving his parole sentence, has proved by clear and convincing evidence his rehabilitation, his fitness to practice law, and his full compliance with all applicable disciplinary orders.
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. 10PDJ053. People v. Fleishman. 04/11/2012. Attorney Publicly Censured.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and publicly censured A. Craig Fleishman, attorney registration number 06820, effective April 11, 2012. Fleishman engaged in a business transaction that was not fair or reasonable to his client by personally guaranteeing a $200,000 line of credit, whereby the client would pay Fleishman and his law partner a fee of $33,333 each if the client drew $120,000 or less from the line of credit; if the client drew more, the fee would increase to $66,667 each. Further, Fleishman continued to defend the client in litigation after learning that the client had carried out a series of fraudulent acts, even though Fleishman should have known he might become liable for the line of credit, giving rise to a potential conflict of interest in providing competent and diligent representation. Fleishman’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.7(b)(1) and 1.8(a)(1).
No. 12PDJ024. People v. Gunther. 03/22/2012. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Dennis H. Gunther, attorney registration number 03427, from the practice of law for thirty days, subject to a two-year period of probation with conditions. The suspension was effective April 1, 2012.
Gunther represented a client in a slip-and-fall accident on a 40% contingency fee basis. Gunther was able to settle this matter; however, his office staff erroneously calculated a 35% settlement distribution to the client and withheld funds to pay the client’s outstanding medical bills. Gunther failed to pay these medical bills with the settlement proceeds, causing the unpaid amounts to be sent to collection. At the same time, Gunther’s COLTAF account records reflected that he did put the correct amount of money in trust for his client. Gunther refused to provide his client’s legal malpractice counsel with an accounting of the settlement funds when requested. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.4(a)(3) and (4), 1.15(a) and (b), and 8.4(d).
No. 12PDJ032. People v. Kraynak. 04/13/2012. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Mark Edward Kraynak, attorney registration number 39635, from the practice of law for thirty days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The suspension was effective May 14, 2012.
Although Kraynak was successful in representing his client in a collection matter, he failed to place a flat fee received from the client in his COLTAF account and treated the flat fee as earned on receipt. Kraynak also was convicted of domestic violence and was sentenced to serve a one-year period of probation. He was ordered to enroll in domestic violence classes and to undergo an alcohol evaluation. His misconduct 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(b).
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