Vol. 41, No. 7
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. 11PDJ078. People v. Berman. 05/11/2012. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended John A. Berman, attorney registration number 06695, for nine months, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The suspension was effective May 11, 2012.
Berman represented a female client in a bankruptcy matter. Berman’s client was dissolving her marriage, and the bankruptcy filing needed to be completed before her divorce could be finalized. During this representation, Berman touched his client without her consent or permission in a manner she found offensive. This action, coupled with a comment Berman made about the client’s appearance, caused her emotional discomfort and violated her trust in Berman as her attorney. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(h).
No. 12PDJ042. People v. Gaston. 05/16/2012. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Carla Gaston, attorney registration number 33288, for six months, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The suspension was effective June 20, 2012.
This suspension is premised on the Supreme Judicial Court of Louisiana’s suspension of Gaston for six months—all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation—for violations of La. RPC 1.15, 1.16(d), and 1.5(f)(5). Gaston’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5 and 251.21(a).
No. 12PDJ037. People v. O’Buckley. 04/26/2012. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Shawn C. O’Buckley, attorney registration number 32492, for six months. The suspension was effective April 26, 2012.
O’Buckley was suspended for one year and one day, but failed to file his wind-up affidavit and failed to notify his clients, opposing counsel, or the court in writing that he had been suspended. During his period of suspension, O’Buckley prepared pleadings on behalf of his clients. He did not withdraw from representing his clients until six months after the effective date of his suspension. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated CRCP 251.28.
No. 12PDJ035. People v. Smollen. 04/23/2012. Attorney Publicly Censured.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and publicly censured Lindasue Smollen, attorney registration number 13083. The sanction was effective April 23, 2012.
During a thirty-day suspension she was serving for another disciplinary matter, Smollen executed on a client’s behalf a stipulation for dismissal in a wrongful death case. Her misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 3.4(c) and 5.5(a), as well as CRCP 251.28.
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