Vol. 43, No. 2
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. 11PDJ084, consolidated with Nos. 12PDJ004, 12PDJ088 & 13PDJ002. People v. Hooker. 10/18/2013. Attorney Disbarred.
The PDJ disbarred Daynel L. Hooker, Wisconsin attorney registration number 1033854, from the practice of law in Colorado. The disbarment was effective November 25, 2013.
Hooker was the principal of a law firm located in Colorado. In March 2012, the PDJ placed her on disability inactive status. From 2007 to 2012, Hooker committed more than a half-dozen offenses while representing clients in eight matters: she abandoned six of these clients, did not keep her clients reasonably informed about their cases, failed to keep her clients’ funds in a trust account, did not provide her clients written fee agreements or full accountings, neglected to return her clients’ property on termination, knowingly converted funds belonging to six of her clients, and practiced law without a license in one matter. She then failed to respond to the People’s requests for investigation and to cooperate in the resulting disciplinary proceedings.
Her conduct in these matters violated Colo. RPC 1.3 (a lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client); 1.4(a)(3) and (4) (a lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter); 1.5(b) (a lawyer shall communicate fee structures to new clients); 1.15(a) (a lawyer shall hold client property in a trust account separate from the lawyer’s own property); 1.15(b) (a lawyer shall promptly, on a client’s request, render a full accounting regarding funds in which the client has an interest); 1.16(d) (a lawyer shall take steps to protect the client’s interest by surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and to refund any unearned fees or expenses); 5.5(a) (a lawyer shall not engage in the unauthorized practice of law); 8.1(b) (a lawyer shall not knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority); and 8.4(c) (a lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation).
No. 13PDJ031. People v. Larson. 10/18/2013. Attorney Disbarred.
Following a sanctions hearing, the PDJ disbarred J. Bryan Larson, attorney registration number 31822. The disbarment was effective November 22, 2013.
Larson, without authorization and for his own use and benefit, took more than $20,000 from a consumer. On March 12, 2012, Larson pleaded guilty to one count of class 3 felony theft arising from this unauthorized taking. Larson was sentenced to twenty-five years’ probation with the condition that he obtain full-time employment, submit to substance abuse evaluation and treatment, and pay court costs and restitution of $1,237,259. His conduct violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) (a lawyer shall not commit a criminal act reflecting adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer).
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. 13PDJ076. People v. Adair. 12/10/2013. Attorney Disbarred.
The PDJ approved the parties’ conditional admission of misconduct and disbarred Ryan A. Adair, attorney registration number 37405. The disbarment was effective December 10, 2013.
From June 2008 through August 2012, Adair submitted false reimbursement requests and accompanying documentation to his employer for out-of-pocket payments he purported to have incurred. Although Adair never incurred such expenses, he fraudulently obtained $63,734 in reimbursements from his employer. Adair’s employer also lost an additional $15,305, which it refunded to clients whom Adair had billed for unpaid filing fees and unperformed legal work. Further, another client of Adair’s employer lost $54,400 in filing fees and legal services, which it paid for but Adair never rendered. In November 2013, Adair pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of fraud related to immigration documents, both federal felony charges. Through his misconduct, Adair violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b).
No. 13PDJ089. People v. Ryon. 11/26/2013. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved the parties’ conditional admission of misconduct and suspended H. Perry Ryon, attorney registration number 22554, for six months, with the requirement that he petition for reinstatement pursuant to CRCP 251.29(c). The suspension was effective November 26, 2013.
Ryon was hired to represent a plaintiff in a slip-and-fall lawsuit in 2011. Although Ryon filed a complaint on the client’s behalf, he neglected to serve the complaint. The court later directed Ryon to show cause why the case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. When Ryon failed to respond, the court dismissed the case in April 2012. Ryon did not inform his client of the dismissal. When Ryon spoke to his client in November 2012, he again did not inform the client of the dismissal. Ryon then neglected to communicate with his client for nearly four additional months, despite the client’s attempts to reach him. As a result of Ryon’s misconduct, the statute of limitations expired on his client’s claim. Ryon violated Colo. RPC 1.3, 1.4(a)(3) and (4), and 8.4(c).
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