Oregon State Bar Bulletin — OCT0BER 2004

Special Notice
Certain PLF Suspensions Vacated
Board of Governors acts on recent supreme court case

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled in In re Leisure, 336 Or. 244, 82 P.3d 144 (2003), that the bar had not followed proper procedures in suspending Ms. Leisure for nonpayment of a PLF coverage installment payment. While the bar relied on a waiver of further notice regarding the suspension that Ms. Leisure had signed, the court ruled that the notice and default periods required by ORS 9.200(1) could not be waived by agreement. The court ruled that since Ms. Leisureís suspension was void, she could not be disciplined for practicing law in violation of the suspension.

Following this decision, the Board of Governors directed staff to determine how many other members had been suspended for nonpayment of a PLF coverage installment payment. Staff compiled the requisite information and a special board committee reviewed it and submitted recommendations to the Board as to what action to take. The Board of Governors, at its Aug. 13-14, 2004 meeting, directed that this notice be placed in the Bulletin and on the barís website to advise the membership of the action it has taken in response to the courtís decision. Below is a summary of the categories of lawyers affected.

1. Lawyers suspended for nonpayment of a PLF coverage installment payment, but currently active members of the Oregon State Bar (approximately 274 members):

The bar is in the process of correcting its computer database to delete references to these suspensions. The bar will also place a memo in each affected memberís membership file indicating that the suspension has been vacated. Individual members who seek the reimbursement of their prior reinstatement fee should send a letter to Vickie Fichtner, Regulatory Services Coordinator, Oregon State Bar, P.O. Box 1689, Lake Oswego, OR 97035.

2. Lawyers suspended for nonpayment of a PLF coverage installment payment, were subsequently reinstated, but who are not currently active members of the Oregon State Bar (have resigned, transferred to inactive status, been suspended for other reasons subsequent to their PLF installment payment suspension, etc.; approximately 150 members):

Same action as category 1 above. Individual members who seek the reimbursement of their prior reinstatement fee should send a letter to Vickie Fichtner, Regulatory Services Coordinator, Oregon State Bar, P.O. Box 1689, Lake Oswego, OR 97035.

3. Lawyers suspended for nonpayment of a PLF coverage installment payment, but who did not seek reinstatement following that suspension (approximately 64 members):

The bar is in the process of correcting its computer database to delete references to these suspensions. The bar will also place a memo in each affected memberís membership file indicating that the suspension has been vacated.

The bar will also attempt to contact these members to offer them the opportunity to become active members of the bar. These matters will be reviewed by the Board of Governors on an individual case basis as requests are received.

4. Lawyers suspended for nonpayment of a PLF coverage installment payment, but who were already suspended, disbarred or had resigned when the PLF installment payment suspension went into effect (approximately 18 members):

The bar is in the process of correcting its computer database to delete references to these suspensions. The bar will also place a memo in each affected memberís membership file indicating that the suspension has been vacated. The lawyerís membership will not change.

5. Lawyers who were admonished or disciplined for practicing while suspended in connection with a suspension for nonpayment of a PLF coverage installment payment (approximately 14 members):

The bar is in the process of correcting its computer database to delete references to these suspensions. The bar will also place a memo in each affected memberís membership file indicating that the suspension has been vacated.

For the six bar members who were admonished or disciplined solely for practicing law following a suspension for nonpayment of a PLF coverage installment payment, the bar will petition the State Professional Responsibility Board (SPRB) to rescind any such admonition and further ask the SPRB to petition the Disciplinary Board and the Supreme Court, as appropriate, to vacate the discipline imposed.

For bar members who were disciplined for other violations in addition to practicing law following a suspension for nonpayment of a PLF coverage installment payment, no further action will be taken.

Members with questions concerning the foregoing should contact Vickie Fichtner, Regulatory Services Coordinator, at (503) 431-6343, or Jeff Sapiro, Disciplinary Counsel, at (503) 431-6319.

Pertinent links:

Oregon Supreme Court ruled in In re Leisure
Request for Refund Form
Request for Active Membership Form


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