|Oregon State Bar Bulletin APRIL 2008|
Note: More than 13,000 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.
On Dec. 31, 2007, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline reprimanding Scappoose attorney Randy Kane for violation of RPC 8.4(a)(3) (conduct involving misrepresentation).
The stipulation recites that in or about 2005, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conditioned the Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB) eligibility for possible future federal preparedness grants upon PPB’s supervisors completing an online course about the National Incident Management System (NIMS), taking an online test concerning the NIMS course, and submitting their completed tests to DHS before a deadline.
Kane was a lieutenant at the PPB’s North Precinct. He was responsible for ensuring that the sergeants and detectives under his command were familiar with the NIMS online course material and took the online test. Kane had not been instructed as to the conditions under which testing was to take place and understood that his primary responsibility was to make sure that the officers under his command had read and understood the NIMS course material.
There were problems with the online test, and the officers under Kane’s command could not log on to the NIMS test or were prevented by the system from completing tests they had begun. Prior to the DHS deadline, Kane was successful in gaining access to the NIMS test and completed his own test. At that same time, because of the problems his officers had had in taking or submitting their own tests, Kane also completed test forms for some of the officers under his command, answered the test questions on behalf of the officers and submitted them to DHS. The officers did not know that Kane had answered their test questions and submitted their test forms until shortly after Kane had done so, when he disclosed what he had done to his commanding officer. Kane did not disclose to DHS that he had answered test questions and submitted test forms in the names of the officers under his command.
In arriving at a sanction, the stipulation recited that Kane has no prior disciplinary record, was inexperienced in the practice of law, did not act with a dishonest or selfish motive, and made a timely good faith effort to rectify the consequences of his conduct.
ROBERT G. DOLTON
On Jan. 15, 2008, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline reprimanding Clackamas lawyer Robert G. Dolton for violations of RPC 1.3 (neglect of a legal matter) and RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).
Dolton established a conservatorship on behalf of a minor client who had received a structured settlement in a personal injury matter. Under the terms of the conservatorship approved by the court, the settlement funds were required to be deposited into a restricted account to be withdrawn only on order of the court. The order required an acknowledgment by the depository of the restrictions on the funds to be filed within 30 days. The UTCRs imposed a similar requirement. Dolton placed the funds in a restricted account. However, despite repeated reminders from the probate administrator and a further order from the court, Dolton failed to cause an acknowledgment of restrictions by the depository to be filed in a timely fashion. Dolton also failed to appear for a show cause hearing concerning his failure to file the acknowledgment.
Although Dolton’s misconduct was aggravated by his substantial experience in the practice of law, it was mitigated by his relative inexperience in probate matters, his lack of any prior disciplinary history and the absence of any selfish or dishonest motive.
C. MICHAEL ARNOLD
On Jan. 17, 2008, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline reprimanding Eugene lawyer C. Michael Arnold for violating RPC 8.4(a)(2) (commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects).
Arnold was the prosecutor for the City of Florence at a hearing in which a minor pled guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants and entered into a diversion agreement. Arnold subsequently contacted the minor, ostensibly for the purpose of checking up on her, and suggested that they meet. Arnold drove the minor to a restaurant and purchased two glasses of wine for her in violation of ORS 471.410(2), which prohibits anyone, other than a parent or guardian, from selling, giving or otherwise making available any alcoholic liquor to a person under the age of 21.
BRIAN J. DOBIE
On Jan. 23, 2008, the Oregon Supreme Court approved a stipulation for discipline suspending former Lake Oswego lawyer Brian J. Dobie from the practice of law in Oregon for two years, effective Feb. 22, 2008, for violations of: DR 1-102(A)(2) (criminal conduct reflecting adversely on fitness to practice law); DR 1-102(A)(3) (dishonesty or misrepresentation); RPC 5.5(a) (practicing law in violation of the regulation of the profession); RPC 8.1(a)(1) (knowing false statement of fact in connection with a disciplinary matter); RPC 8.4(a)(3) (dishonesty or misrepresentation) and ORS 9.160 (unlawful practice of law).
In September 2004, Dobie shoplifted an electronic device from a local retailer. Dobie thereafter gave a false account of the events to police and to disciplinary counsel.
In April 2006, Dobie falsely reported in a request for an exemption from his Professional Liability Fund assessment that his principal office for the practice of law was located outside of Oregon. Dobie thereafter practiced law in Oregon without paying the required assessment.
On May 30, 2006, Dobie was suspended from bar membership for failing to meet his MCLE requirements. From May 30, 2006, through his reinstatement on June 9, 2006, Dobie practiced law while he was not an active bar member.
In reaching a sanction, the stipulation noted that Dobie has a prior disciplinary history, that Dobie acted from selfish or dishonest motives and that Dobie submitted false statements during the disciplinary process.
JAMES E. WHITE
Form B resignation
On Jan. 23, 2008, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the Form B resignation of James E. White of McMinnville. At the time of the resignation, formal charges had been filed against White in six separate client matters.
In five matters, White undertook to represent clients in immigration matters. In these cases, generally, White is alleged to have undertaken the cases prior to or after the commencement of an earlier disciplinary suspension, without telling the clients he was about to be suspended — or later, that he had been suspended. Allegations in the immigration matters also included that White: neglected the clients’ cases; failed to communicate with the clients; failed to refund any portion of flat fees paid in advance when he did not complete the work for which he had contracted; failed to withdraw from representing clients when his disciplinary suspension began; continued to practice law during his disciplinary suspension; and failed to disclose material information or made affirmative misrepresentations to the bar during its investigation of his conduct.
In one matter, White was charged with: neglecting a personal injury matter and failing to communicate with his client; failing to inform the client that he had been suspended during his representation of her; and failing to withdraw from the representation during his suspension or return the client’s file.
In the resignation, White specified that his criminal law files will be available from Robert F. Suchy of McMinnville. The accused will retain closed client files and will make them available upon request.
DENNIS M. ODMAN
Six months plus one day suspension
Effective Jan. 27, 2008, a trial panel of the disciplinary board suspended Portland lawyer Dennis M. Odman for six months and one day for violation of: DR 1-102(A)(3) (dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation); DR 2-106(A) (charging or collecting an illegal fee); DR 6-101(B) (neglect of a legal matter); RPC 1.16(d) (failure to take reasonable steps to protect a client’s interest upon termination of employment) and RPC 8.1(a)(2) (failure to respond to the bar).
Odman undertook to represent a client in a dispute with the city of Gresham. He filed litigation but did not prosecute it or take any other constructive action on the client’s behalf. After some months, the court notified Odman of its intent to dismiss the lawsuit, but he took no action in response to the dismissal notice. When the court dismissed the case, Odman did not notify his client that the case had been dismissed, and on a number of occasions thereafter affirmatively represented to the client that he was waiting for a trial date. Odman again took no action when the city sought to recover money the client had posted with the court and did not notify his client that the court had released the money to the city. The trial panel found that this conduct violated DR 1-102(A)(3), DR 6-101(B) and RPC 1.16(d).
The trial panel also found that Odman violated DR 2-106(A) in a conservatorship matter for another client. Odman accepted several payments of his fee bills to the conservator without first obtaining court orders authorizing the conservator to pay these fees. Odman also accepted payment from the conservator of more money than the court had authorized in attorney fees.
Finally, the trial panel found that in both matters, Odman failed to respond to disciplinary counsel’s inquiries and was not timely in his responses to requests for information and documents by the local professional responsibility committee in violation of RPC 8.1(a)(2).
On Jan. 28, 2008, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline reprimanding Eugene lawyer Bill Kloos for violating RPC 1.7(a)(1) (current client conflict of interest).
Kloos failed to recognize that, in the course of pursuing a writ of mandamus in a land use matter on behalf of one client, he was acting adversely to clients he represented in unrelated matters. After withdrawing from representation, Kloos appeared at a subsequent court proceeding between the former clients and, without obtaining informed consent from the clients, prepared a document at the joint request of the subsequent attorneys representing the clients.
In arriving at a sanction, the stipulation noted that Kloos did not act with a selfish or dishonest motive, that he had no prior disciplinary history and that he expressed remorse.
MICHAEL R. KARBER
OSB # 941020
Form B resignation
Effective Feb. 13, 2008, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the Form B resignation of Tempe, Ariz., lawyer Michael R. Karber. At the time of the resignation, a formal disciplinary proceeding was pending against Karber for his alleged violations of various disciplinary rules, including: DR 1-102(A)(2), criminal conduct reflecting adversely on his fitness to practice; DR 1-102(A)(4), conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; and RPC 8.1(a), failure to comply with lawful requests of the disciplinary authority.
At the time of the resignation, a reciprocal discipline proceeding was also pending before the disciplinary board involving Karber’s violations of the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct.
Karber was admitted to practice in Oregon in 1994. He had a prior record of discipline in Washington. Karber has been suspended in Oregon on grounds unrelated to the pending proceedings since July 2004.
Reciprocity applicants listed
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, 16037 S.W. Upper Boones Ferry Rd., P.O. Box 231935, Tigard, OR 97281-1935.
Reciprocity: Patricia Kay Buchanan; Kathleen Callison; Gregory A. V. (Alan Valasek) Clark; Andrew Edward Hawes; Matthew Earl Hedberg and Roger Bohman Ley.
Rule 8.10: Robert Carl Brian Myers
Notice of reinstatement applications
The following attorneys have filed applications for reinstatement as active members of the Oregon State Bar pursuant to Rule of Procedure (BR) 8.1.
Sean Cee (fka Clipperton) of Nevada, #935180. Cee was admitted to the OSB in 1993, under the name Sean Clipperton. He transferred to inactive status in 1994, and in 1996 was suspended for failure to pay dues. He has been an active member of the Nevada Bar since 2001, where he is employed as an associate with Castronova Law Offices in Reno. He intends to remain with that firm after reinstatement. Cee is an inactive bar member in Washington.
Robert C. Conratt of Portland, #892179. Conratt transferred to inactive status in 1994, to pursue other career opportunities. Since 1996, he has worked for Moscato, Ofner & Henningsen, a Portland real estate consulting firm. He has no specific plans after reinstatement, but may seek employment as an attorney in the Portland area.
Lisa M. Henderson of Texas, #952940. Henderson transferred to inactive status in 1999, because she had moved to Texas, where she was admitted to practice in 2000. (She is also an inactive member of the Washington bar.) She is presently employed with the Dallas law firm of Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold. After reinstatement, she will continue with that firm, handling the occasional Oregon case.
Steven B. Johnson of Hawaii, #940995. Johnson was suspended in 2006, for nonpayment of dues and PLF. Effective Sept. 30, 2006, he was suspended for 90 days for disciplinary reasons. In re Johnson, 20 DB Rptr 206 (2006.) He was admitted to the Hawaii Bar in 2004, and is currently serving a reciprocal suspension arising from the Oregon discipline. Since 2005, he has been employed as a deputy public defender in Hilo, Hawaii, where he plans to return upon reinstatement.
Mark W. Siegel of Portland, #934253. Siegel transferred to inactive status in 1999, when he entered a teaching program. From 1998-2003, he taught high school social studies. After reinstatement, he intends to pursue a career in adoption law.
Michael R. Smith of Maine, #915120. Smith transferred to inactive status in 1992, because he had moved out of state (He also is a member of the Alaska, New Hampshire and Massachusetts bars.) Since 1990, Smith has been a sole practitioner specializing in criminal defense in Roxbury, Mass. He plans to return to Oregon in the next few months, and will seek work either as a sole practitioner, or with a firm.
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 that the resumption of the practice of law in this state by these 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 Regulatory Services Division at the Oregon State Bar, P.O. Box 231935, Tigard, OR 97281-1935, (503) 620-0222, or (800) 452-8260, ext. 343.