Vol. 29, No. 5
From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases
Summaries of Opinions
Colorado Supreme Court
Presiding Disciplinary Judge
Appellate Discipline Commission
Summaries of Disciplinary Opinions
Summaries of opinions appear on a space-available basis. The summaries for the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and hearing board are prepared by the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, and the summaries for the Appellate Discipline Commission are prepared by the Office of the Appellate Discipline Commission. The summaries of the opinions of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and the Appellate Discipline Commission are provided as a service by the Colorado Bar Association and are not the official language of the Opinion. The Colorado Bar Association cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the summaries.
Unless otherwise noted, full copies of the opinions follow the summaries pages. The summaries and full-text opinions are also available on the CBA homepage at http://www.cobar.org/tcl/index.htm.
People v. Waters, No. GC97B080, 3/01/2000. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge reinstated Respondent Thomas Francis Waters, III to the practice of law, effective March 1, 2000, subject to certain terms and conditions of probation. (No Opinion issued.)
People v. Jaber, No. 99PDJ023, 3/17/2000. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge reinstated Petitioner J. Daniel Jaber to the practice of law, effective March 17, 2000, subject to certain terms and conditions of probation. (No Opinion issued.)
McCaffrey v. People, No. 99PDJ108, 3/06/2000 (amended 3/15/2000). Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board reinstated Timothy Paul McCaffrey to the practice of law, effective March 27, 2000, subject to certain conditions. p.109.
People v. Elliott, No. 99PDJ059 (consolidated with 99PDJ086), 3/01/2000. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and the Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Lawrence R. Elliott for agreeing to perform professional services for his clients, failing to perform the work requested, and failing to communicate with his clients, constituting separate violations of Colo. RPC 1.3 and Colo. RPC 1.4(a). Respondent’s failure to obey a court order in one matter resulted in the court entering default judgment against respondent’s clients in the approximate amount of $77,000, constituting a violation of Colo. RPC 3.4(c). In both matters, respondent’s neglect rose to the level of abandonment, which terminated the attorney/client relationship and triggered respondent’s obligation to account for and promptly refund any unearned fee. Respondent failed to do so, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.16(d). Respondent’s retention of unearned funds for one year in one matter and two years in a separate matter constituted willful and knowing conduct, and following respondent’s abandonment of his clients’ cases, constituted an unauthorized act of dominion or control over funds belonging to his clients, amounting to conversion, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c). Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. p.112.
People v. Kolbjornsen, No. 99PDJ004, 10/28/99. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Kenneth Edward Kolbjornsen for significantly understating his income and financial assets on his income tax returns and bankruptcy schedules, and for providing false and misleading information on his asset schedule as to the stated value of certain stock shares. Each of these false and misleading statements related to facts material to the bankruptcy court’s determination. Respondent’s conduct violated Colo. RPC 3.3(a), Colo. RPC 8.4(c), and Colo. RPC 8.4(d). Respondent’s violation of these rules constituted a violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(a). Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings. p.114.
Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admissions of Misconduct
Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(February 21, 2000 through March 20, 2000)
[The Presiding Disciplinary Judge’s approval of Conditional Admissions 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 Presiding Disciplinary Judge, (303) 825-2797.]
People v. Essex, No. 99PDJ111, 3/2/2000. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended Respondent Carol Elizabeth Essex from the practice of law for a period of ninety days, with the full ninety-day period stayed, subject to a two-year period of probation with conditions. Over a one-year period, respondent deducted amounts from her employee’s paychecks for the purpose of withholding taxes, but failed to pay them to the Internal Revenue Service for the last quarter of 1997 and the first quarter of 1998. Respondent also failed to file personal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service for one year. Respondent had fully paid the withholding taxes prior to the date of the Conditional Admission. Respondent’s conduct constituted a violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(h). Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.
People v. Calvert, No. 99PDJ091, 3/09/2000. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge accepted the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and disbarred Respondent Randall M. Calvert from the practice of law. Respondent received a settlement payment for his client’s claim from an insurance company, deposited the payment into his trust account, and tendered the amount due to the client shortly thereafter. The client attempted to cash the check several months later but was unable to because respondent’s trust account did not have sufficient funds to cover the check. Respondent promised that he would tender another check after a one-month period, in addition to daily interest on the amount due. Respondent failed to tender the amount for a five-month period despite the client’s requests, and when he did pay the client, failed to pay interest on the amount as promised. Respondent’s conduct violated Colo. 8.4(c), Colo. RPC 1.15(a), and Colo. RPC 1.15(b). Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.
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