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TCL > November 2013 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

The Colorado Lawyer
November 2013
Vol. 42, No. 11 [Page  153]

© 2013 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved.

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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. 13PDJ001. People v. Kolhouse. 08/13/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ suspended Nicole M. Kolhouse, attorney registration number 33291, from the practice of law for three months, effective September 17, 2013. The sanction requires respondent to petition for reinstatement.

Kolhouse was administratively suspended from the practice of law by the Colorado Supreme Court on May 13, 2011. She continued to practice law by purporting to represent a litigant in a telephone discussion with opposing counsel. When the People investigated the matter, Kolhouse failed to respond to any of their requests for information. Her misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 3.4(c), 5.5(a), and 8.1(b).

No. 13PDJ005. People v. Randolph. 08/13/2013. Attorney Disbarred.

The PDJ disbarred James C. Randolph, attorney registration number 28084. The disbarment was effective September 17, 2013.

The Colorado Supreme Court suspended Randolph on July 20, 2007 for failure to comply with continuing legal education requirements. In 2011, without having been reinstated to the practice of law, Randolph drafted multiple estate planning documents for clients on at least two occasions. He then knowingly failed to respond to the People’s requests for information during their investigation. This was Randolph’s second instance of the same type of misconduct. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 3.4(c), 5.5(a), and 8.1(b).


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. 13PDJ033. People v. Brenner. 08/30/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Donald Arthur Brenner, attorney registration number 05692, from the practice of law for one year and one day. The suspension was effective October 4, 2013.

Brenner represented two clients: one charged with unlawful sexual contact with an at-risk adult and another charged with first-degree murder. In both matters, Brenner failed to adequately and diligently prepare his clients’ cases or prepare for trial.

In the sexual assault case, he did not interview the victim or other witnesses, failed to object to a special-verdict form, did not obtain a psychosexual evaluation of his client, failed to cross-examine the victim on pivotal testimony, and filed not a single motion. He also improperly revealed to the court information relating to the representation of his client.

In the murder case, Brenner met with his client for only two hours in preparing for trial. He filed just one motion, which the court lacked authority to grant. Moreover, he performed inadequate investigation, interviewed only two or three witnesses before trial, failed to interview expert witnesses or hire his own expert on the issue of whether the shooting was accidental, did not file appropriate motions in limine, neglected to request a hearing regarding a conflict of interest issue, and failed to consult with his client before he waived his client’s right to a jury trial on his possession of a firearm.

Courts later ruled that Brenner had provided ineffective assistance of counsel in both matters. Brenner’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, and 1.6.

No. 13PDJ034. People v. Carroll. 09/18/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended David Sean Carroll, attorney registration number 12746, from the practice of law for one year and one day. The suspension was effective October 23, 2013.

In a case before the Colorado Court of Appeals, Carroll submitted written briefs that lacked structure, failed to present coherent arguments in support of his legal theories, and inadequately supported factual recitations with appropriate record citations. Finding Carroll’s briefs unpersuasive and unprofessional, the court of appeals struck them and sanctioned him. Carroll’s petition for writ of certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court suffered from the same infirmities. Carroll’s presentation of these appellate papers was incompetent, thereby violating Colo. RPC 1.1, and his misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5.

No. 13PDJ072. People v. Clarence. 09/19/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Troy Wesley Clarence, attorney registration number 34520, from the practice of law for six months, with all but thirty days stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation, with conditions. The suspension was effective September 19, 2013.

Even though his license to practice law had been administratively suspended in May 2010, Clarence began representing a client in a trademark matter in December 2010. He accepted more than $2,000 in fees and placed them directly into his operating account instead of his trust account. Clarence continued representing the client when his law license was reinstated in February 2011. In February, Clarence told his client he had obtained an expedited filing for the client’s requested trademarks, even though he had not filed any trademark applications.

For approximately the next year-and-a-half, he did not return calls from his client. In mid-2012, Clarence again assured his client he had filed for the requested trademarks, even though he had not. Clarence’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.1, 1.4(a)–(b), 1.15(a) and (c), 1.16(d), 3.4(c), 5.5(a), and 8.4(c).

No. 13PDJ070. People v. Eraybar. 09/16/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Leyla Nezahat Eraybar, attorney registration number 36567, from the practice of law for sixty days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation, with conditions. The suspension was effective September 16, 2013.

After opening her own law firm, Eraybar approached another attorney whose license to practice law was suspended, asking for advice about obtaining a client base and about criminal law. Eraybar and the suspended attorney entered into an agreement whereby he would provide marketing and paralegal services for Eraybar. After the suspended attorney disseminated advertising flyers for Eraybar, he met with six clients and gave them legal advice, without Eraybar’s direct supervision. He also drafted motions and entries of appearance for Eraybar, again without her direct supervision.

Eraybar did not immediately notify her clients of the status of the suspended attorney’s license, as she was required to do. She did later notify the clients of the attorney’s suspension, and she also refunded the clients’ unearned fees. Eraybar’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 5.5(a)(3), (b), and (d).

No. 13PDJ024. People v. Faber. 09/16/2013. Attorney Disbarred.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and disbarred James W. Faber, attorney registration number 20796, from the practice of law. The disbarment was effective September 16, 2013.

On August 8, 2013, Faber pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, CRS § 18-17-104(3), a class 2 felony. Faber’s conviction for racketeering was premised on theft and securities fraud. In his plea, Faber agreed to serve up to ten years in the Colorado Department of Corrections and to pay stipulated restitution in the amount of $4,014,024.35, plus interest. Faber’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) and (c).

No. 13PDJ029. People v. Fenster. 09/16/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Eric Bryan Fenster, attorney registration number 33264, from the practice of law for ninety days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation, with conditions. The suspension was effective September 16, 2013.

A woman suspicious about the circumstances of her brother’s death hired Fenster to investigate the death and the thoroughness of the subsequent police investigation. Fenster did not give his client a written fee agreement, as he was obligated to do. He later falsely told his client that he had filed a lawsuit to obtain autopsy photographs and that a hearing date had been set regarding the photographs. In fact, he had not filed a lawsuit and no hearing had been scheduled.

Fenster also failed to keep his client informed about her matter, failed to provide an accounting of the services he had performed, and failed to return the client’s complete file, despite requests to do so. Fenster’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.4(a)(2)–(4), 1.5(b), 1.15(c), 1.16(d), and 8.4(c).

No. 13PDJ071. People v. Goluba. 09/16/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended David A. Goluba, attorney registration number 09749, from the practice of law for six months. The suspension was effective September 16, 2013, with the requirement that he seek reinstatement, if at all, under CRCP 251.29(c).

On April 17, 2013, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin suspended Goluba from the practice of law for six months, with the requirement that he petition for reinstatement. Goluba violated the following Wisconsin Rules of Professional Conduct: SCR 20:1.3, by failing to act with reasonable diligence; SCR 20:1.4(a)(4), by failing to comply with a client’s reasonable requests for information; SCR 22.03(2) and 20:8.4(h), by failing to cooperate in the investigation of a grievance; and SCR 20:1.15(b)(1), by failing to hold a client’s money in trust separate from his own property. Goluba’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5 and 251.21(a).

No. 13PDJ041. People v. Morrissette. 08/14/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended April Renee Morrissette, attorney registration number 35247, from the practice of law for one year and one day, with six months to be served and the remaining six months and one day to be stayed pending completion of a two-year period of probation, with conditions. The sanction was effective August 14, 2013.

On February 4, 2013, Morrissette pleaded guilty to felony menacing, a class 5 felony (CRS § 18-3-206(1)(a)–(b)). She also pleaded guilty to the related crime of misdemeanor child abuse (CRS § 18-6-401(1), (7)(b)(ii)). Morrissette aimed a gun at a group of people, including a 3-year-old child, in a threatening manner while yelling obscenities, and then fired a shot into the ground.

Morrissette received a two-year deferred judgment and sentence with conditions for the menacing charge, and she was placed on a two-year period of probation with conditions for the child abuse charge, which runs concurrent to the two-year deferred sentence. Morrissette’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b).

No. 13PDJ064. People v. Vedra. 08/21/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Daniel James Vedra, attorney registration number 43596, from the practice of law for sixty days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation, with conditions. The suspension was effective August 21, 2013.

On September 23, 2012, Vedra was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and disturbing the peace. On November 13, 2012, he pleaded guilty to the charges and received a deferred judgment with one year of supervised probation, with conditions. Vedra’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b).

© 2013 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved. Material from The Colorado Lawyer provided via this World Wide Web server is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and may not be reproduced in any way or medium without permission. This material also is subject to the disclaimers at http://www.cobar.org/tcl/disclaimer.cfm?year=2013.


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