|Oregon State Bar Bulletin MAY 2012|
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.
STEVEN D. GERTTULA
On Feb. 27, 2012, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation reprimanding Astoria lawyer Steven D. Gerttula for violating DR 5-105(E) (current client conflict of interest) and RPC 1.9(a) (former client conflict of interest).
Gerttula represented a client in a transaction in which the client conveyed real property to himself, his wife and niece as joint tenants with right of survivorship. A few years later, the client died. Shortly after the client’s death, Gerttula represented the client’s wife and niece in changing the manner in which they owned the property from joint tenants to tenants in common. With regard to that transaction, the interests of the wife and niece were adverse and Gerttula failed to obtain consent, after full disclosure, from them to his simultaneous representation.
A number of years later, the wife died and her children inherited her interest in the real property. Gerttula advised the children that they could file a lawsuit against the niece for partition and he prepared a draft lawsuit. Gerttula’s representation of the children and his prior representation of the niece were substantially related and the interests of the children were materially adverse to the interests of the niece. Gerttula failed to obtain informed consent, confirmed in writing, from the children and the niece regarding his representation of the children. When the children decided to pursue the lawsuit for partition, Gerttula withdrew from representing them.
WILLIAM E. CARL
By order dated March 8, 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted a stipulation for discipline and suspended William E. Carl for 18 months for violations of ORS 9.527(2) (conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude) and RPC 8.4(a)(2) (committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on honesty, trustworthiness or fitness). The suspension will commence on Nov. 14, 2012, in order to run consecutive to an 11-month suspension currently in effect.
In January 2011, Carl resided with his wife and their two young sons. Carl’s wife was serving a criminal probation that prohibited her from using or possessing illegal drugs or alcohol. Carl was alone in the family home when his wife’s probation officer and two police officers arrived for an unannounced home visit; before opening the door, Carl concealed a bottle of alcohol with the intent to hide it from the officers. During a search, the police found marijuana, marijuana residue and marijuana paraphernalia throughout the house, including Carl’s bedroom, kitchen and home office. After a jury trial, Carl was convicted of two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor (ORS 163.575(1)) and one count of tampering with physical evidence (ORS 162.295(1)(a)), class A misdemeanors.
Carl had previously been convicted of felony marijuana possession and endangering the welfare of his minor sons. Those convictions had resulted in a one-year disciplinary suspension, most of which was stayed pending completion of a three-year probation. In re Carl, SC S058149, 24 DB Rptr 17 (2010). Carl was serving that disciplinary probation when he engaged in the conduct at issue in this matter. Carl stipulated that he had violated the terms of that probation; the state supreme court revoked that probation and imposed the stayed suspension on Dec. 15, 2011.
The stipulation in this matter cited Carl’s experience in the practice of law, the vulnerability of the victims (his children), a pattern of misconduct and the prior discipline as aggravating factors. Two mitigating factors were cited: character and reputation (as described by members of the Marion and Polk County legal communities and others) and imposition of other penaltieswhich included including 25 days in jail, $2000 in fines and a 24-month probation with Polk County Corrections.
GAIL MARA GURMAN
Effective March 8, 2012, the disciplinary board publicly reprimanded Beaverton lawyer Gail Mara Gurman for violations of RPC 1.15-2(m) (failure to certify compliance with trust accounting rules) and RPC 8.1(a)(2) (failure to respond to a disciplinary authority).
Gurman failed to file her annual IOLTA certification as required by Jan. 31, 2011, and thereafter failed to submit the certification or respond to multiple attempts by the bar to obtain her compliance and an explanation for the late filing.
The stipulation recited that, although Gurman acted both negligently and knowingly, there were no aggravating factors and substantial mitigating ones, including absence of a dishonest motive, personal or emotional problems, cooperation with the bar once the formal proceedings were authorized, inexperience in the practice of law, physical disability and no prior 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: Shawn E. Abrell, David Kennedy Barrett, Brian Robert Becker, Corey Frank Brock, Charles Le Grand Butler III, Kimberley Ann Donohue, James Michael Hunsaker, Robert David Kaplan, Barbara Catherine Long, Barry Neal Mesher, David Delmer Schlachter, Kurt Luther Unger, Benjamin Thomas Vidic and Janie Marie Wilson.
In-House Counsel: Andrew A.
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:
Susan M. Coby of Medford, #901556. Susan Coby practiced with a Portland firm from 1990 until 1992. She was suspended for nonpayment of membership fees on July 6, 1993, and did not seek reinstatement until recently. Currently, she works as an event planner for the Imperial Event Center in Medford and volunteers with a local legal services office. She has no specific plans following reinstatement.
Robert E. Sullivan of Salem, #983539. Robert E. Sullivan transferred his Oregon membership to inactive status in 2005, having moved to Nevada where he was admitted to practice in 2004. In Nevada, he practiced with the Las Vegas law firm of Hand Page Sullivan Martin, LLC. He also serves as a deputy staff judge advocate general with the Air National Guard in Reno, Nev. Sullivan recently relocated to Salem, and plans to return to the practice of law in Oregon following his reinstatement.
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 whether the resumption of the practice of law in this state by the 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 OSB Regulatory Services Division, P.O. Box 231935, Tigard, OR 97281; phone: (503) 620-0222, or toll-free in Oregon, (800) 452-8260), ext. 343.