|Oregon State Bar Bulletin JULY 2010|
Note: More than 14,000 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.
GLENDA P. DURHAM
Form B resignation
On April 29, 2010, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the Form B resignation of Welches lawyer Glenda P. Durham. At the time of the resignation, Durham was the subject of a formal disciplinary proceeding in which it was alleged that she violated numerous rules of professional conduct, including: DR 1-102(A)(4)/RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to administration of justice); DR 2-110(B)/RPC 1.16(a) (failure to withdraw); DR 6-101(A)/RPC 1.1 (lack of competence); DR 6-101(A) (neglect); DR 6-101(B)/RPC 1.4(a) & (b) (duty to communicate with client); DR 5-103(B)/RPC 1.8(e) (advancing financial assistance to clients); and RPC 8.1(a)(1) & (2) (incomplete and false responses to the bar). The allegations concerned her representation of certain property owners within a residential subdivision who were attempting to prevent other owners within the subdivision from partitioning their property. Durham represented the plaintiffs at trial, on appeal and in related proceedings that extended over several years and resulted in rulings adverse to the plaintiffs, including an assessment of attorney fees against them.
Durham’s resignation was effective immediately.
PETER J. CARINI
30-day suspension, stayed with probation
On Feb. 19, 2010, a trial panel issued an opinion effective April 24, 2010, suspending Medford lawyer Peter J. Carini from the practice of law for 30 days for violating RPC 1.4(a) (failing to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information), RPC 3.4(c) (knowingly disobeying an obligation under the rules of a tribunal) and RPC 8.4(a)(4) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of law.) The suspension is stayed pending Carini’s successful completion of probation within 90 days.
In one matter, Carini had three cases simultaneously set for trial on the same day in three different counties, including one in Josephine County. One week before the scheduled trial date, Carini reported to the court that he was ready to try the case in Josephine County. Carini was informed that his case was the primary setting. Late in the afternoon on the day before the scheduled trial date, Carini advised the Josephine County court that he would be unable to appear for trial the next morning because he needed to appear for trial in another county. The Josephine County court instructed Carini to appear for trial. Instead, Carini arranged for a colleague to appear and present a motion to postpone the trial. The trial panel concluded that Carini knew or should have known of the inevitable scheduling conflict long before it manifested itself and should have, pursuant to UTCR 6.040, timely informed the courts of the conflict so that it could be resolved.
In another matter, Carini represented a client in a criminal matter. For an extended period, Carini failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of the matter and did not respond to multiple inquiries from his client.
The trial panel dismissed other charges because the bar had not sustained its burden of proving them by clear and convincing evidence.
PAULA B. HAMMOND
The disciplinary board has approved a stipulation for discipline in which Lake Oswego lawyer Paula B. Hammond will be suspended from the practice of law for 30 days, effective June 1, 2010, for violations of DR 6-101(A)/RPC 1.1 (lack of competence), DR 2-110(B)(2)/RPC 1.16(a)(1) (failure to withdraw) and DR 1-102(A)(4)/RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to administration of justice).
Hammond agreed to serve as co-counsel for plaintiffs in a lawsuit in which the clients, who were owners of property within a residential subdivision, were opposing efforts by other subdivision owners to partition their properties. Over the next two years, Hammond performed a variety of services at her co-counsel’s request in this and related proceedings without the knowledge, skill or experience reasonably necessary for the representation of clients in land use, litigation and appellate matters. The trial court, finding the case a procedural morass, ruled adversely to the plaintiffs and assessed attorney fees against them, in part, due to actions taken by Hammond and her co-counsel. In addition, the defendants incurred attorney fees and costs in their defense and the trial, and appellate courts were required to devote a substantial amount of time to the litigation and related proceedings that would not have otherwise been necessary but for the misconduct.
The stipulation recited that Hammond had no prior record of discipline, did not act with a dishonest or selfish motive, was cooperative in the bar proceeding and was remorseful.
Effective June 19, 2010, a trial panel dismissed a complaint alleging that a lawyer violated RPC 8.4(a)(4) (engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) of the Rules of Professional Conduct by advising a client to violate a court order.
The lawyer represented a father in an ongoing dissolution of marriage proceeding. In a June 2007, judgment, the court awarded custody of the three minor children to the father and gave the mother parenting time every other week.
In early September 2008, significant conflict developed between the mother and the couple’s oldest child. As a result of that conflict, when the mother’s next parenting week was to begin, the father decided not to allow mother to have parenting time with the oldest child until the conflict resolved itself. The father consulted with his lawyer about his decision the next morning.
At the disciplinary hearing, the lawyer testified that during the consultation he advised father that if father believed that suspending mother’s parenting time was in the best interests of the child, then he could take that action, but that there was some risk in doing so because the mother could file a motion for contempt or for expedited enforcement and a judge would determine whether the father’s decision had been correct. Based upon that testimony and the circumstances presented to the lawyer, the trial panel concluded that the bar failed to prove that the lawyer had advised his client to violate the parenting time order or engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
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