Oregon State Bar Bulletin FEBRUARY/MARCH 2013
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.
STEVEN L. DALTON
Form B resignation
On Nov. 21, 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the Form B resignation of Lake Oswego attorney Steven Dalton. At the time of the resignation, the State Professional Responsibility Board had authorized a formal disciplinary proceeding against Dalton on the following charges: RPC 1.3 (neglect of a legal matter); RPC 1.4(a) (failure to adequately communicate with client); and RPC 8.4(a)(3) (conduct involving dishonesty).
These allegations concerned Dalton’s handling of settlement funds belonging to a personal injury client. After the case settled in 2010, Dalton retained some of the funds to pay the client’s outstanding medical bills. However, the bar alleged that Dalton instead converted the funds to his own personal use.
Dalton’s resignation was effective immediately. In the resignation, he stated that all client files have been returned to clients or their new counsel.
DANIEL W. GOFF
Form B resignation
Effective Dec. 13, 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the Form B resignation of Eugene lawyer Daniel W. Goff. At the time of resignation, the bar was investigating a complaint against Goff alleging that he failed to provide competent representation, neglected a legal matter, charged or collected a clearly excessive fee and engaged in an improper conflict of interest.
Goff was admitted to practice in 1972. He had been suspended from the practice of law since August 13, 2012, as a result of a prior disciplinary proceeding. His resignation recited that all client files and records have been or will be placed promptly in the custody of Eugene lawyer Larry Gildea.
CHARLES L. LISLE
Form B resignation
On Dec. 13, 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the Form B resignation of McMinnville lawyer Charles L. Lisle. At the time of the resignation, Lisle was the subject of a formal disciplinary proceeding and a pending investigation. The proceeding alleged that Lisle failed to file with the Oregon State Bar an annual IOLTA certification for 2011 (RPC 1.15-2(m)) and failed to respond to inquiries from the bar in the IOLTA matter and in three other client matters (RPC 8.1(a)(2)). In a separate investigation, the bar was looking into allegations that in three client matters Lisle may have neglected a legal matter entrusted to him (RPC 1.3), inadequately communicated with his clients (RPC 1.4(a)) and failed to promptly deliver client property (RPC 1.15-1 (d)).
Lisle had been a member of the bar since 1986. In the resignation, the Yamhill County Defender’s Office was named as the entity that took custody of Lisle’s criminal defense client files.
SUSAN C. STEVES
On Dec.13, 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted a stipulation for discipline suspending Bend lawyer Susan C. Steves for one year, effective Dec. 15, 2012, for violating RPC 1.3 (neglect), RPC 1.4(a) (failing to communicate), RPC 1.5(a) (charging and collecting an excessive fee), RPC 1.15-1(d) (failing to promptly account), RPC 8.1(a)(2) (failing to respond to the bar) and RPC 8.4(a)(2) (illegal conduct).
In one matter, Steves represented a family law client. At a hearing, the court granted to the client most of what she had requested and instructed Steves to prepare and submit a proposed order. Steves took some steps to pursue the matter, but never submitted a proposed order to the opposing lawyer or the court.
In a second family law matter, Steves represented a client at trial, and among other things, the court granted custody of a minor child to Steves’ client. The court instructed Steves to prepare and submit a proposed judgment. Steves spent some time preparing a judgment, but took no further action until more than six months later when her client discovered that the court intended to dismiss the matter because no judgment had been submitted. After the client informed Steves about the pending dismissal, Steves submitted a proposed judgment, which the court signed. Steves also failed to respond to the client’s repeated requests for a copy of the judgment and an accounting.
In a third family law matter, Steves represented a client at a hearing where the opposing party agreed to a counseling and reunification plan between Steves’ client and one of his children. As part of the reunification plan, the client was to have parenting time with his child during the upcoming holiday season. The court instructed Steves to prepare and submit a proposed judgment. Steves prepared a proposed order, but otherwise failed to pursue the matter and the client did not have parenting time with his child during the holiday season. Steves also charged and collected from the client twice for the same legal services.
In a fourth matter, for the years 2004 through 2007, Steves failed to timely file her federal income tax returns and failed to pay the federal income tax due. Steves also knowingly failed to respond to the bar.
C. WILLIAM REHM
By order dated Dec. 27, 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court publicly reprimanded C. William Rehm in a reciprocal discipline matter that arose after Rehm was disciplined by a Washington State Bar Disciplinary Board review committee.
Rehm represented the personal representative (PR) of a decedent’s estate. In April 2010, Rehm deposited $10,000 into trust to pay the PR’s fee and his own legal fees for closing the estate. However, Rehm took no further action until October 2011, when he transferred the funds to another lawyer to complete the probate. During that 17-month period, Rehm failed to respond to his client’s requests for information, to take steps to complete the probate and to account to his client for the funds. In reciprocal discipline matters, the court analyzes the attorney’s conduct under Oregon’s rules and statutes. The bar submitted that Rehm’s conduct constituted neglect of a legal matter (RPC 1.3), failure to comply with a client’s reasonable request for information (RPC 1.4(a)) and failure to promptly deliver funds the client is entitled to receive and promptly render an accounting upon request (RPC 1.15-1(d)).
KAREN E. READ
Effective Jan. 5, 2013, the disciplinary board disbarred Portland lawyer Karen E. Read.
Read was found to have committed ethical misconduct in 10 different matters. In addition to a pattern of failing to respond to disciplinary inquiries, in violation of RPC 8.1(a)(2), she was found to have violated, in one or more matters the following: RPC 1.1 (lack of competence); RPC 1.3 (neglect of a legal matter); RPC 1.4(a) (failure to communicate with a client); RPC 1.15-1(d) (failure to account for or deliver property of another); RPC 1.16(a)(2) (failure to withdraw when required to do so by physical or mental impairment); RPC 1.16(c) (failure to properly withdraw from representation); RPC 1.16(d) (failure to take reasonable steps to protect client upon termination of representation); RPC 3.3(a)(1) (false statement to a tribunal); RPC 8.4(a)(3) (dishonesty or misrepresentation); and RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). Read had no prior disciplinary history.
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