|Oregon State Bar Bulletin OCTOBER 2009|
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.
ROBERT D. DAMES JR.
On June 29, 2009, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline reprimanding Lake Oswego attorney Robert Dames for violations of RPC 1.2(a) (failure to abide by client’s decision), RPC 1.3 (neglect of a legal matter), RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep a client reasonably informed) and RPC 1.4(b) (failure to communicate with client to allow for informed decisions regarding the representation).
Dames represented a client in a medical malpractice claim. Dames filed a lawsuit, and after several years of discovery it became apparent to Dames that his client had a secondary condition that might have ramifications on the malpractice claim. Following discussions, Dames’ client instructed that he still wanted to go forward with the malpractice case.
Shortly thereafter, Dames obtained an order abating the case. Dames then notified his client that he would no longer represent him and instructed that in the absence of another attorney assuming the representation, Dames would reactivate the matter and request permission from the court to resign.
Ultimately, the client was unable to locate replacement counsel. Therefore, Dames filed documents to reactivate the case and reported to defense counsel that he would be seeking to resign “in the next two weeks.” However, Dames did not move to withdraw or resign. Accordingly, the court continued to send notices regarding the case to Dames, and defense counsel continued to attempt to communicate with Dames regarding his intended withdrawal and preparations for trial. Dames did not respond to these inquiries from defense counsel or notify the court that he was no longer representing the client.
Some months later, defense counsel filed a motion for summary judgment. Dames did not notify his client of the motion or the ramifications that the motion might have on the prosecution of the claim. Thereafter, without notice to or permission from his client, Dames conceded the summary judgment motion because Dames did not see that there was any factual or legal basis to contest it. A summary judgment order was signed by the court and the malpractice case was dismissed.
The stipulation recited that Dames has no prior discipline and has been a lawyer in Oregon since 1975.
SARAH BRUDI CREEM
On July 14, 2009, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline, effective immediately, suspending Portland lawyer Sarah Brudi Creem for 30 days for violating RPC 8.4(a)(3) (conduct involving misrepresentation), RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) and RPC 1.16(a)(1) (failing to withdraw from representing a client when continued representation would result in violation of a disciplinary rule).
Creem represented the petitioner in a dissolution of marriage proceeding. Custody of and support for the parties’ three minor children were at issue when the matter was tried to the court. Thereafter, the court signed a general judgment, prepared by Creem, which awarded custody of the three minor children to petitioner, required respondent to pay child support to petitioner for all three children, provided for respondent to have parenting time with all three children and set a hearing at which time the court would review the parenting plan.
Creem appeared at the subsequent hearing. By then, she knew that one of the children had been arrested months earlier and was still in custody. Creem also knew that the arrest and incarceration were material facts and that neither respondent nor the court were aware of those facts. At the hearing, Creem failed to disclose the arrest and incarceration to the court.
On a number of occasions before the hearing, Creem counseled petitioner to disclose the child’s arrest and incarceration to respondent. Petitioner refused to do so and refused to permit Creem to disclose that information to respondent or the court. Creem failed to withdraw from representing petitioner.
The stipulation identifies numerous mitigating circumstances and only one aggravating circumstance.
On July 15, 2009, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline suspending Newport lawyer Kurt Carstens for 90 days, effective Sept. 1, 2009, for violating DR 5-105(E) and RPC 1.7(a) (current client conflict of interest).
Carstens represented a client in an estate planning matter. The plan provided for the appointment of a conservator and guardian if the client became incapacitated. Some years later, the client believed that strangers had been using his credit cards and checking account without his authority and retained Carstens to assist him with these difficulties. While still representing the client, Carstens undertook to represent the client’s stepson in a petition to become the client’s conservator. To the extent it was permissible for Carstens to represent both the client and the stepson, Carstens failed to obtain consent after full disclosure from them. The client’s stepson was appointed conservator and Carstens continued to represent him in that matter.
Approximately one year later, based upon information provided by the client’s stepson, Carstens undertook to represent the stepson in a petition to become client’s guardian. To the extent it was permissible for him to represent the client and stepson, Carstens failed to obtain informed consent, confirmed in writing, from them.
Thereafter, the stepson decided not to pursue appointment as the client’s guardian. At that point, Carstens undertook to represent client’s niece in a petition to become client’s guardian. To the extent it was permissible for him to represent the client, stepson and niece, Carstens failed to obtain informed consent, confirmed in writing, from them.
The stipulation noted a number of aggravating circumstances, including prior conflict of interest violations.
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: Neil Ceylon Anderson, Robert Michael Bartlett, Guy Marion Bogdanovich, Erin Ruth Christison, Dana Copstead Hoerschelmann, John Edward Justice, Sarah E. Spierling Mack, Elizabeth Ann McIntyre, Charles Paul Shane and Marshall Kirk Stagg
House Counsel: Michael Fredrick Labbee
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:
Brian McQuaid, OSB #953584. Arizona resident Brian McQuaid transferred to inactive status in 1996 to pursue a career as a municipal prosecutor, first for the city of Bellingham, Wash., and more recently for the city of Scottsdale, Arizona. (He is currently inactive in Washington and active in Arizona.) McQuaid joined the Scottsdale law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in 2001, and is now a firm partner. He will continue to live and practice law in Arizona following his reinstatement to active membership status in Oregon.
Joel O’Malley, OSB #041219. Inactive in Oregon since his admission in 2004, Joel O’Malley subsequently voluntarily resigned from the Oregon bar in 2007. From 2004 to 2006, he served as a judicial clerk in California and Nebraska. After passing the Minnesota bar, he accepted an associate position with Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis. In May 2009, O’Malley passed the California bar, and transferred to the firm’s Irvine, Calif., office. He plans to continue to live and work in California.
Jack K. Sterne, OSB #955228. Jack Sterne, a Bend resident, transferred to inactive status in 2000 because he had moved to Alaska, where he was admitted to practice in 1999. He returned to Oregon in 2003, and opened a consulting firm, Rising Tide Strategies. In addition to his consulting business, Sterne also served from 2003 to 2006 as executive director of Ocean Champions, a nonprofit conservation organization. He will continue with his consulting business after 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.