Vol. 43, No. 8
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. 13PDJ083. Athanasiou v. People. 06/05/2014. Attorney Reinstated.
The PDJ approved a stipulation and agreement concerning reinstatement pursuant to CRCP 251.29(j) and reinstated Nicholas James Athanasiou, attorney registration number 26771, to the practice of law, effective June 5, 2014. No opinion was issued.
No. 13PDJ087. People v. Haese. 05/23/2014. Attorney Disbarred.
The PDJ disbarred Glenn H. Haese, attorney registration number 13263. The disbarment was effective May 26, 2014.
The Supreme Court of Massachusetts disbarred Haese for, among other misconduct: failing to keep trust funds separate, negligently misusing funds to which his clients were entitled, making misrepresentations to his clients regarding those funds, intentionally converting a client’s funds for his own use, converting funds he had recovered for another law firm, converting funds owed to another attorney, signing another attorney’s name to a settlement check without authority, and engaging in dishonest conduct. The Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel sought the same discipline as that imposed by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, and Haese challenged the order imposed by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts.
The PDJ concluded in an order granting summary judgment (not published) that Haese’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline in Colorado pursuant to CRCP 251.21(e).
Summary of Decision 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. 13PDJ091. People v. Reardon. 06/09/2014. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved the parties’ conditional admission of misconduct and suspended John Elliott Reardon, attorney registration number 07801, for one year and one day, all stayed pending a two-year period of probation, with conditions. The probation took effect June 9, 2014.
In January 2011, Reardon agreed to represent a client in an immigration matter for a flat fee of $3,800. The fee agreement stated that Reardon would earn the fee upon receipt. The next month, the client paid Reardon $2,000 in cash, which Reardon deposited directly into his operating account. Very little work was done on the client’s matter from February through July 2011. The client sent Reardon a letter terminating the representation in August 2011, requesting a copy of his file, and asking for a refund of his money. Reardon initially refused, but agreed in March 2012 to refund half of the fees paid. He then sent the client a check for just $500, noting that he could not provide the other half until he received written authorization from the client’s ex-wife. Reardon eventually refunded another $500 to the client.
In November 2012, the client again requested a copy of his file, along with an accounting and a refund of the remaining $1,000. Reardon never provided a written accounting to the client. Reardon later submitted an accounting to the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel; that accounting showed Reardon earned $944 before the representation was terminated and an additional $1,009 after. The accounting also contained unreasonable time entries. For example, the accounting indicated that on several occasions, a staff member spent twenty minutes leaving a voicemail message, work that was billed at the attorney rate of $195 per hour. Reardon eventually refunded the remaining $1,000 in early 2014. He also amended his fee agreements to include benchmarks in flat-fee cases and to clarify the points at which he earns amounts paid to him.
Respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.5(a) (charging a reasonable fee); 1.15(a) and (c) (holding attorney and client property separate); 1.5(f) (depositing advances of unearned fees in an attorney’s trust account until earned); 1.16(d) (protecting a client’s interests upon termination of the representation); and 8.4(c) (proscribing conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation).
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