Oregon State Bar Bulletin — NOVEMBER 2011

Bar Actions

Discipline

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.

CHARLES Z. EDELSON
OSB #831880
Portland
90-day suspension

Effective Aug. 22, 2011, the disciplinary board suspended Portland lawyer Charles Z. Edelson for 90 days for violations of RPC 1.3 (neglect of a legal matter), RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter), RPC 1.16(a)(1) (failure to withdraw) and RPC 8.1(a)(2) (failure to respond in a disciplinary matter).

Edelson undertook to represent a client in a workers’ compensation matter after the client had obtained a favorable order on reconsideration and the employer’s insurer appealed. After counsel for the employer’s insurer filed an opening brief, Edelson failed to ever file a response brief on behalf of his client despite prompting by his client, opposing counsel and the administrative law judge. Edelson reached the opinion that he could not write a brief that advanced any meritorious argument or had any significant prospect of prevailing. Edelson failed to ever tell the client that he had decided he would not file a response brief; he did not withdraw from the representation; and he ignored subsequent communications from the client and the administrative law judge. Although Edelson made an initial general response to the client’s complaint, he thereafter failed to respond to repeated requests for further information from disciplinary counsel. Edelson was publicly reprimanded in 1999 for a failure to cooperate with a disciplinary investigation.

RAND E. OVERTON
OSB #893296
Newport
60-day suspension

Effective Aug. 25, 2011, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation suspending Newport lawyer Rand E. Overton for 60 days for violating RPC 8.4(a)(2) (committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer) and ORS 9.527(2) (conviction for misdemeanor involving moral turpitude).

Between 2001 and 2010, Overton was an assistant district attorney responsible for enforcing child support obligations and supervising obligors on behalf of the state of Oregon. On Nov. 30, 2010, Overton was charged with six counts of official misconduct. In particular, it was alleged that on multiple occasions Overton, with the intent to obtain sexual gratification, knowingly made sexually inappropriate comments to obligors he was prosecuting or supervising. On Dec. 14, 2010, Overton was convicted of one count of official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor.

TIMOTHY E. NIELSON
OSB #960161
Portland
120-day suspension

Effective Aug. 30, 2011, a trial panel of the disciplinary board suspended Portland lawyer Timothy E. Nielson for 120-days for violations of RPC 1.15-2(m) (failure to comply with annual certification of lawyer trust account) and RPC 8.1(a)(2) (failure to respond to lawful requests from disciplinary authority).

Nielson failed to file the 2008 IOLTA certification of compliance by Jan. 31, 2009, and subsequently did not respond to inquiries from disciplinary counsel’s office. Nielson was admitted to practice in 1996. Nielson was previously disciplined in 2008 for violations of RPC 1.3 (neglect of a legal matter) and RPC 1.4(a) (failing to keep a client informed and respond to requests for information).

BRENT C. FOSTER
OSB #992637
Hood River
30-day suspension

On Sept. 2, 2011, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation suspending Hood River lawyer Brent C. Foster from the practice of law for 30-days, effective Sept. 3, 2011, for violating RPC 8.4(a)(3) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation).

Beginning in December 2008, Foster was Special Counsel on Environmental Issues for the Oregon Department of Justice. Before then, Foster had been the executive director of Columbia Riverkeepers, a nonprofit organization in Hood River dedicated to protecting the Columbia River.

In September 2009, Hood River County was criminally prosecuting a company and its owner for alleged pollution violations arising out of operations at the company. The Hood River prosecutor learned about a pool of liquid across a public road from the company and asked Columbia Riverkeepers to collect and test a sample from the pool.

In October 2009, Foster and the Columbia Riverkeepers’ water quality coordinator drove to and parked their car down the road from the pool. They both walked toward the pool, but at some point Foster alone walked to the pool and took a sample from it. The water quality coordinator field tested the sample, which showed a ph level high enough to be classified as hazardous waste.

In early April 2010, Foster learned that one of his colleagues at the Department of Justice, who had been assigned to assist the Hood River prosecutor in the criminal matter, intended to call the water quality coordinator to testify at a hearing regarding the October 2009, sample collection and tests. Foster’s colleague was unaware that Foster was the one who had collected the sample. Foster contacted his colleague and suggested that the sample and test results not be used as evidence, but did not state to his colleague that he had collected the sample. Foster then misrepresented to others at the Department of Justice, including the attorney general, that he was not the person who had collected the sample the previous October.

On April 20, 2010, Foster voluntarily admitted to the attorney general that he had not been truthful about his role in the sample collection and resigned his position with the Department of Justice.

ROGER LEE CLARK
OSB #970434
Eugene
Public reprimand

Effective Sept. 7, 2011, a trial panel of the disciplinary board publicly reprimanded Eugene lawyer Roger Lee Clark for violations of RPC 1.7(a) (current client conflict of interest) and DR 9-101(C)(3) (failure to render an appropriate accounting of client funds).

In April 2003, Clark was retained by a client in a criminal matter. Clark was paid $2,500, but failed to provide an accounting of those funds. The criminal matter was resolved in early 2004.

On Aug. 9, 2006, the former client and the person with whom he jointly owned and shared a house were arrested after law enforcement officers searched their joint premises. They were both charged with unlawful possession of weapons and unlawful possession of marijuana. Clark undertook to represent both of them in the criminal matters without obtaining their written consent to the simultaneous representation.

The trial panel dismissed charges that Clark also violated RPC 1.9(c)(1) because the bar did not present clear and convincing evidence that Clark disclosed information relating to the representation of the former client in connection with his subsequent representation of the joint property owner in other matters.



Applications

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: John Anton Berg, Bernard John Casey, Melissa Sue Cobb, Lisa Jennifer Crawford, Micah Larsen Davis, Gary Stephen Genovese, Clayton Paul Graham, Elisabeth Anne Holmes, Paul Mark Kaufmann, John Roland Keys, Jr., Sally Shiyon Kim, Dinah Larsson, Michael Philip Levine, Michael Gordon Marsh, Peter John Mullenix, Jean Catherine O’Connor, Edwin Shaun Pearman, Van Mitchell Pounds, Daniel Allen Womac and Jeffrey Scott Wood.

In- House Counsel: Guther Hastings Oakey.

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:

Derek L. Caplinger of Hermiston, #942646. Derek Caplinger transferred to inactive status in 2003 because his position as an administrative hearings officer for Washington state’s Department of Licensing does not require active bar membership. He has no specific plans to return to the practice of law following his reinstatement.

David A. Urman of Portland, #853768. Inactive since 1998, David Urman was president of a telecommunications marketing company until 2006, when he founded Pulse Health, a developer and manufacturer of a new medical device. Urman has no immediate plans to return to the practice of law.

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.



return to top
return to Table of Contents