|Oregon State Bar Bulletin MAY 2009|
Note: More than 13,000 persons are eligible to practice law in Oregon. Some of them share the same name or similar names. All discipline reports should be read carefully for names, addresses and bar numbers.
DANIEL N. GORDON
On Feb. 23, 2009, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline reprimanding Eugene lawyer Daniel N. Gordon for violating RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).
In April 2006, Gordon filed a lawsuit in circuit court in which he alleged that the defendant owed his client some money. Thereafter, Gordon received full payment of the outstanding debt from the defendant. Despite this payment, Gordon filed with the court an affidavit in support of an ex parte motion for an order of default in which he represented that the defendant still owed his client money. At the time Gordon prepared the affidavit and filed it with the court, he failed to check his records and determine that the defendant had made payments and had satisfied her debt. Based on this motion and affidavit, the court entered an order of default and general judgment against the defendant. In April 2008, upon Gordon's motion, the court vacated the judgment.
BRUCE MATSUO NISHIOKA
On Feb. 23, 2009, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline reprimanding Brookings attorney Bruce Matsuo Nishioka for violations of RPC 1.5 (illegal and excessive fee); RPC 5.3(a) (failing to supervise non-lawyer staff); and RPC 5.5(a) (assisting another in the unauthorized practice of law).
Nishioka undertook to represent the personal representative concerning the probate of an estate. Nishioka's legal assistant had access to Nishioka's letterhead and pleading forms. The legal assistant provided legal advice and services to the client, including filing pleadings in the probate case, and otherwise engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Nishioka did not adequately supervise the legal assistant and failed to ensure that the legal assistant's work was compatible with his professional obligations. Nishioka did not approve or know of all of the legal assistant's actions and did not review all of the legal assistant's work.
During the representation, Nishioka billed the legal assistant's time at a rate that exceeded the amount authorized by the fee agreement. He also charged and collected fees for the probate case without first obtaining the court's approval for those fees.
Nishioka was admitted to practice in Oregon in 2001 and California in 1991. He had no prior record of discipline.
JOHN M. PETSHOW
On Feb. 23, 2009, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline reprimanding Clackamas attorney John M. Petshow for violations of: RPC 1.3 (neglect); RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep a client reasonably informed) and RPC 1.7(a) (current client conflict of interest).
Petshow undertook to represent the personal representative of an estate. A member of Petshow's former law firm had represented the personal representative but had withdrawn before concluding the matter. Petshow failed to take timely action to conclude the probate case. He also failed to prepare a personal representative's deed for transfer of the deceased's real property or to explain to his client what needed to be done to transfer the property. Petshow failed to keep his client reasonably informed and failed to provide his client with copies of the court's notices and orders and the final judgment he submitted to the court in the probate case.
During the representation, the personal representative filed an ethics complaint against the previous lawyer. Petshow undertook to represent that lawyer concerning the client's complaint to the bar about the lawyer's handling of the probate case and other matters. Petshow continued to represent the personal representative concerning the probate case when the personal representative's interests and the interests of the previous lawyer were adverse to one another, and when there was a significant risk that Petshow's representation of both of them would be materially limited by his responsibilities to each of them, and by his personal interests. Petshow failed to obtain each of his clients' informed consent concerning his representation, confirmed in writing.
Petshow was admitted to practice in 1989. He had no prior record of discipline.
The following have applied for admission under the reciprocity, house counsel or law teacher rules. The Board of Bar Examiners requests that members examine this list and bring to the board’s attention in a signed letter any information that might influence the board in considering the moral character of any applicant for admission. Send correspondence to Admissions Director, Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners, P.O. Box 231935, Tigard, OR 97281.
Reciprocity: April Boutillette Brinkman, Linda Blohm Clapham, Loren Dee Combs, Lance Duncan Fitzjarrald, Jonathan Lee French, Ann Glynn, Isaac Lewis Hammer, Gretchen Paschal Havner, John Tony John, Steven Bradley Pitts, Kenneth Eugene Vassar and Jordan Alex White
Notice of Reinstatement Application
The following attorneys have filed an application for reinstatement as an active member of the Oregon State Bar pursuant to Rule of Procedure (BR) 8.1:
Susanne Marie Feigum, #991390. Feigum (formerly Susanne Whatley), of Portland, was suspended for nonpayment of bar dues in 2002. She had stopped practicing law and moved to Florida that year, working as a stock analyst and advisor for a family business. Ms. Feigum returned to Portland in January, and after reinstatement will seek an associate position in a Portland area law firm focusing on elder law.
Carol L. Schrader, #954046. Inactive since 2001, Schrader of Portland has been employed by the Department of Justice Crime Victims' Services Division since June of 2005. While that position did not involve the practice of law, she recently moved to a new position with the National Crime Victim Law Institute, which will require active bar membership.
Kenneth Howard Johnston, #953140. Johnston of Portland has been employed by the Bonneville Power Administration since 2003, first as a tribal account executive, and more recently as a transmission account executive, neither position requiring active bar membership. He has no specific plans to return to the practice of law after reinstatement to active bar membership.
The Rules of Procedure require the Board of Governors to conduct an investigation of BR 8.1 reinstatement applications to determine whether applicants possess the good moral character and general fitness to practice law, and that the resumption of the practice of law in this state by these applicants will not be detrimental to the administration of justice or the public interest. Any person with information relevant to these applications is asked to contact promptly the Regulatory Services Division at the Oregon State Bar, P.O. Box 231935, Tigard, OR 97281-1935, (503) 620-0222, or (800) 452-8260, ext. 343.