|Oregon State Bar Bulletin JUNE 2011|
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.
CONRAD E. YUNKER
OSB # 873740
By order dated March 16, 2011, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline whereby attorney Conrad E. Yunker was reprimanded for violations of RPC 1.3 (neglect) and RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter).
Yunker won an arbitration award for his client. Yunker filed a petition in circuit court to confirm the award as a judgment but, approximately 10 months later, the court issued an order administratively dismissing the case for want of prosecution. Yunker promptly filed a second petition and served the respondent. However, he did not file the return of service and the court eventually administratively dismissed this second petition. Yunker received timely notice of the dismissal but did not take any further action. He did not inform the client about the dismissal until four months later, when the client inquired about the case status.
Yunker acted negligently when he failed to file the return of service, failed to file a new petition or motion to set aside the second dismissal and failed to promptly notify his client of that dismissal. The stipulation notes that, because the dismissal was without prejudice and Oregon statute imposes no limitation period for confirming an arbitration award, Yunker’s misconduct did not preclude his client from filing another petition. The stipulation recites one aggravating factor: substantial experience in the practice of law. Mitigating factors include no prior history of discipline and absence of a dishonest or selfish motive.
JAMES R. DOLE
Effective March 25, 2011, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline publicly reprimanding Grants Pass lawyer James R. Dole, for violations of: RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep a client reasonably informed); RPC 1.7(a) (current client conflict of interest); RPC 1.9(a) (former client conflict of interest); and RPC 1.9(c) (revealing information relating to the representation of a former client).
Dole represented a married couple in estate planning matters in which the husband and wife had earlier created revocable trusts for their assets. The trusts provided that, upon the death of either spouse, a marital share would be distributed to the surviving spouse and the remainder would become a family trust. Income from the family trust would be distributed to the surviving spouse as well as such principal as the trustee deemed necessary for the health, education, support and maintenance of the surviving spouse. Upon the death of the surviving spouse, the assets of the family trust would be distributed to the couple’s surviving children.
After the wife died, the husband began a relationship with another woman. Acting at the suggestion of the husband, Dole became involved in advising the husband and his children regarding the family trust and other matters. Dole negligently continued to advise the husband and his children in those matters even after it became apparent that a dispute had developed between the husband and the husband’s children regarding distributions from the family trust of the marital share, income and principal. To the extent informed consent, confirmed in writing, might have permitted the representation, Dole failed to obtain it. Dole also acted negligently in failing to inform the husband of the nature and degree of the childrens’ concerns and in disclosing to the children information gained from the husband and wife in the estate planning matters regarding the purpose of the family trust.
In reaching a sanction, the stipulation recognized mitigating factors including Dole’s lack of any prior disciplinary history and cooperative attitude in the proceedings.
LANCE E. ERICKSON
Effective May 4, 2011, the disciplinary board suspended Sandy lawyer Lance E. Erickson for violations of: RPC 1.3 (neglect of a legal matter); RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep a client reasonably informed and to promptly respond to reasonable requests for information); RPC 1.16(d) (failure to properly discharge duties upon termination of employment); and RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).
The violations occurred in three client matters over a similar time period. After undertaking to represent a client on a petition to set aside a criminal conviction, Erickson prepared but failed to ever file the petition. Erickson was unaware the petition had not been filed and he repeatedly mistakenly assured his client and the client’s employers that a petition had been filed. Erickson failed to verify the status of the petition until approximately 10 months later when he discovered and disclosed to his client that it had never been filed.
After undertaking to represent another client in the dissolution of a marriage, Erickson failed to timely file documents and missed status conferences, repeatedly delaying the proceedings. Erickson withdrew from the further representation of a third client in a child custody matter, but failed to promptly refund unearned retainer funds or deliver a document the client repeatedly requested and was entitled to receive.
The stipulation noted that Erickson took some steps to rectify his misconduct prior to the clients’ complaints and that, at the time of the misconduct, Erickson suffered from depression that had a substantial impact on his ability to take the necessary action.
Effective April 13, 2011, the disciplinary board disbarred Salem attorney, Arthur Klosterman, for violations of: RPC 5.5(a) (unlawful practice of law); RPC 8.1(a)(2) (failure to respond to demand from a disciplinary authority); RPC 8.4(a)(3) (misrepresentation); RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice); and ORS 9.160 (practicing law or holding oneself out as able to practice law when not an active member of the bar).
Klosterman was suspended from practice on an unrelated discipline matter beginning Dec 28, 2009, for a period of nine months. Despite notice of that suspension, Klosterman continued to meet and communicate with clients and other lawyers, as well as appear in court and file documents with the court on his clients’ behalf. He did not notify the court, or any participants in matters before the court, that he was suspended and not authorized to practice law, and he did not complete specific tasks requested of him by the court in some of those matters. Klosterman thereafter failed to respond to multiple inquiries from the bar.
In disbarring Klosterman, the disciplinary board found that he knowingly misrepresented his status as a lawyer, knowingly failed to prepare judgments as directed by the court, knowingly concealed his status from others and knowingly failed to respond to bar inquiries.
The disciplinary board found eight aggravating factors, the most significant of which was Klosterman’s prior disciplinary record involving some of the same or same types of violations. The disciplinary board noted that Klosterman’s prior discipline and his subsequent conduct demonstrated total contempt for his profession and his ethical obligations. The board found no mitigating factors.
DERRICK E. McGAVIC
Form B resignation
Effective April 7, 2011, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the Form B resignation of Eugene lawyer Derrick E. McGavic. At the time of resignation, the bar was pursuing a disciplinary proceeding in which McGavic was alleged to have violated RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.) in a collections case. The bar was also investing another complaint regarding McGavic.
McGavic was admitted to practice in 1963. His resignation recited that client files and records would be transferred to Kristan K. Finney.
JOHN H. OH
Los Angeles, Calif.
Effective June 6, 2011, the Oregon Supreme Court disbarred former Portland lawyer John H. Oh and affirmed a trial panel’s order requiring Oh to pay restitution to certain former clients. The court’s opinion followed Oh’s request for review of a trial panel decision disbarring him for 52 violations of the rules of professional conduct in immigration matters involving 12 different clients. The violations generally alleged that Oh had failed to pursue legal matters he had undertaken, failed to communicate with his clients or lied to them about the status of their matters, failed to properly handle or refund unearned funds, failed to respond to disciplinary inquiries and, in some cases, knowingly converted client funds. After seeking review, Oh attempted a Form B resignation, but that resignation was rejected by the court after Oh failed to assure the court he had adequately provided for the safekeeping of and access to the files by his former Oregon clients.
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: Kathleen Patricia Abbott, Jamie Michelle Arledge, Randi Helene Blumenson, Stephanie Nicole Bradford, Marilyn June Brasier, Alan David Campbell, Gail Marie Christensen, Paul Robert DeMuro, Kenneth David Drazkowski, Daniel Joseph Dunne, Calvin Eric Eib, Todd McCabe Hardy, Laura Eileen Hoexter, Kristina Jean Holm, Jerry Ward Hupp, James Leo Kacena, Ellen Marie Klem, Todd Elliott Marshall, Angela Nicole Marshlain, Gregory Brian Mouroux, Richard Alan Nakashima, Heidi Meri Nunn-Gilman, Nicole Erin Rappaport, Sevilla Penry Rhoads, Daniel Alan Ross and Jaconda Wagner.
Rule 8.10: Brandy Price.