Oregon State Bar Bulletin APRIL 2013
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.
Effective Feb. 8, 2013, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline publicly reprimanding Portland lawyer Mark Kramer for a violation of RPC 4.2(a) (direct communication with a represented person).
Kramer represented a grandmother who was awarded visitation with her minor grandchild. After entry of the stipulated judgment, grandmother notified Kramer that father had indicated he would not honor her summer visitation.
Forgetting that father was represented by counsel, Kramer sent father a middle-of-the-night email, threatening him with contempt if he cancelled grandmother’s summer visitation without a court order. Several hours later, when father’s attorney confronted Kramer about his improper direct communication with father, Kramer acknowledged his error and apologized.
The improper communication caused no actual injury. However, the matter was aggravated by Kramer’s prior disciplinary offenses which included admonitions for improper communications in 2001 and 2004.
D. RAHN HOSTETTER
18-month suspension, all but six months stayed, plus probation
On Feb. 21, 2013, the Oregon Supreme Court approved a stipulation for discipline suspending Enterprise lawyer D. Rahn Hostetter for 18 months, with all but six months stayed, pending 12 months of probation, effective March 8, 2013, for violating DR 5-105(E)/RPC 1.7(a) (current client conflict of interest) and RPC 1.8(a) (self-interest conflict).
In one matter Hostetter represented a client in modifying loan agreements the client had previously entered into with a bank. At the same time, Hostetter was representing the bank in other matters. Hostetter failed to obtain from the client informed consent after full disclosure.
In another matter, Hostetter engaged in a series of business transactions with clients he was representing in a matter. Hostetter failed to give the clients a reasonable opportunity to or advise them in writing of the desirability of seeking the advice of independent legal counsel, and failed to obtain their written informed consent to the essential terms of the transaction and his role in the transactions, including whether he was representing them.
On Feb. 7, 2013, the Oregon Supreme Court suspended Portland lawyer Christopher D. Schwindt for two years, imposing reciprocally the same sanction ordered by the Washington Supreme Court in December 2012.
Schwindt was an owner and counsel for a home loan mortgage modification company in Washington, called Elife Legal Network (ELN). Clients contracted with ELN and Schwindt to negotiate with lenders for better terms on the clients’ home mortgages. Clients paid one fee, part of which was earmarked for Schwindt, and ELN gave a “money-back guarantee.” Thereafter, non-lawyer ELN staff performed most of the services rendered to clients; Schwindt’s involvement was limited to a quick review of paperwork prepared by ELN staff and signing transmittal letters to the lenders. Ultimately, 287 clients entered into agreements with ELN and Schwindt, but none received loan modifications and ELN did not have the funds to make refunds.
In Washington, Schwindt stipulated that he violated several disciplinary rules (the Oregon equivalents of which are cited below), and agreed to a two-year suspension and restitution for the following: Schwindt did not disclose to the clients that his services would be very limited and would not include any analysis of their individual circumstances (RPC 1.2(b), 1.4(b)); he did not disclose that he had a financial stake in ELN and its parent company (RPC 1.7(a)(2), 1.7(b)(4)); he entered into business transactions with the clients without proper disclosures and consents (RPC 1.8(a)); he included provisions in his agreements that attempted to limit his and ELN’s liability (RPC 1.8(h)(1), 1.8(h)(2)); he assisted ELN staff in the unauthorized practice of law (RPC 5.5(a)); and he made misrepresentations by omission to clients regarding the nature and extent of the legal services he would render on their behalf (RPC 8.4(a)(3)).
Pursuant to the Oregon Supreme Court reciprocal discipline order, Schwindt’s suspension begins March 24, 2013.
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: Todd Albert; Anika Bent-Albert; Christian Brian Domis; Jeffrey M. Hawkinson; Sharon Jean Eblen; Rey Arnaldo Phillips Santos; Rodney James Mason; April Lynn Upchurch; William Cornell; Joshua James Sears; and Daniel James Park.
In-House Counsel: Adrian Bell; Rodney C. Pratt.
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:
William R. Bloom of Portland, #780192. William Bloom transferred to inactive status in 2004. While inactive, he moved overseas and taught business at a Russian university. Since returning to Portland in 2005, Bloom has taught business at area colleges and universities. He is seeking reinstatement to return to the practice of law or law-related employment.
Adam P. Karp of Bellingham, Wash., #011336. Active in Washington since 1998, Adam Karp transferred his Oregon membership to inactive in 2002 and then voluntarily resigned in 2004. He maintains a solo law practice focusing on animal law in Bellingham, where he will remain following his reinstatement.
Sheryl R. Manley of Battle Ground, Wash., #963341. Sheryl Manley is also admitted to the Washington and Colorado bars. She transferred her Oregon membership to inactive status in 1999 because she was employed as a prosecutor for the city of Vancouver. Manley is in the process of opening a small law firm in Battle Ground serving Oregon and Washington clients.
John M. Mann of Beaverton, #933530. John Mann has been employed as an administrative law judge since 2003. Because this position does not involve the practice of law, Mr. Mann changed his bar status to inactive in 2005. He plans to remain in his current position following his reinstatement.
Michael J. Moiso of Tigard, #930802. Inactive since 2001, Michael Moiso has been working as a contractor/developer and also started a bar exam preparation company. He is presently the development director for a retreat center in Beaverton. He has no plans at this time to return to the practice of law.
Su K. Suh of Portland, #983521. Su K. Suh is also a member of the Washington State Bar and from 2004 through 2012, she worked as in-house counsel for Weyerhaeuser in Federal Way. She recently returned to Oregon and began working for Hillsboro-based Intel, where she will remain following 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.