Oregon State Bar Bulletin DECEMBER 2014
Bar Actions - Discipline
Note: More than 14,900 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.
PETER M. SCHANNAUER
1-year suspension (moot)
Effective June 12, 2014, the Oregon Supreme Court dismissed as moot a pending appeal of a March 2013 disciplinary board trial panel opinion pertaining to Peter M. Schannauer because Schannauer had since been disbarred in a May 2014 disciplinary board opinion for similar conduct. The March 2013 opinion permitted to let stand by virtue of the dismissal of the appeal found that Schannauer violated multiple disciplinary rules in connection with three client matters, including: RPC 1.1 (competence); RPC 1.3 (neglect); RPC 1.4(a) & (b) (inadequate client communication); RPC 1.5(a) (excessive fee); RPC 1.15-1(a), (c) and (d) (failure to properly handle client funds and property); RPC 8.1(a)(2) (failure to respond to the bar); and RPC 8.4(a)(3) (dishonesty, including conversion of client funds). The bar had appealed the one-year sanction imposed by the trial panel, contending that disbarment was the appropriate sanction.
Effective Sept. 9, 2014, the disciplinary board disbarred Lake Oswego lawyer Eric Kaufman.
Kaufman was found to have committed ethical misconduct in three separate domestic relations matters. In addition to failing to respond to disciplinary inquiries, in violation of RPC 8.1(a)(2), he was found to have violated the following: RPC 1.3 (neglect of a legal matter); RPC 1.4(a) (failure to communicate with a client); RPC 1.15(d) (failure to account for or deliver property of another); and RPC 1.16(d) failure to take reasonable steps to protect client upon termination of representation). Kaufman had no prior disciplinary history.
DONALD R. SLAYTON
120-day suspension, stayed pending 2-year probation
Effective Nov. 10, 2014, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline, suspending Eugene attorney Donald Slayton for 120 days for violations of RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep a client reasonably informed) and RPC 8.1(a)(2) (knowing failure to respond to inquiries from disciplinary authority). However, the suspension is stayed in its entirety pending Slayton’s successful completion of two-year probation focusing on improving his practice management.
Slayton was retained post-dissolution to help a client with her division of assets, particularly in light of her former husband’s recent bankruptcy filing.
A few months later Slayton notified the client that her desired results were likely not achievable, that attempting to achieve them would be costly, and that the cost would likely not be justified by the probable result. Slayton did not communicate to the client that he did not intend to do any further work on her behalf or that he would be withdrawing from her legal matter, and he subsequently failed to respond to the client’s attempts to communicate with him. After the client complained to the bar, Slayton failed to respond to the bar’s inquiries.
The stipulation recited that Slayton’s conduct was aggravated by factors including prior disciplinary offenses and obstruction of the disciplinary proceeding, as well as substantial experience in the practice of law. In mitigation, Slayton did not act dishonestly.