Oregon State Bar Bulletin OCTOBER 2014
Bar Actions - Discipline
Note: More than 14,800 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.
JEFF WILSON RICHARDS
Effective June 19, 2014, the disciplinary board suspended Eugene lawyer Jeff Wilson Richards for 90 days for violation of RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep a client reasonably informed); RPC 1.16(c) (failure to give notice or make motion to withdraw when required to do so); RPC 1.16(d) (failure to take reasonably practicable steps to protect client upon termination of representation); and RPC 8.1(a)(2) (failure to respond in a disciplinary matter).
Richards represented a client in an administrative proceeding. After requesting a contested case hearing, Richards failed to prepare for the hearing or respond to communications from his client. After the client complained to the bar, Richards notified the client that he was closing his practice, but he failed to withdraw from the representation as required by Oregon Administrative Rules, and he failed to promptly forward the client’s file to her new attorney despite an imminent hearing date. Richards did not have a prior record of discipline.
B. TODD BAILEY
Form B resignation
On Aug.7, 2014, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the Form B resignation of attorney B. Todd Bailey, who is licensed in Oregon and a resident of Idaho.
At the time Bailey submitted his resignation, the bar was investigating a complaint by a circuit court judge and a probate client who alleged that Bailey failed to provide competent representation in the client’s case, failed to take the basic steps to administer an estate in probate, created additional work for the court and put his client at risk of being removed as personal representative. Bailey acknowledged that these allegations implicated violations of RPC 1.1 (failure to provide competent representation) and RPC 8.4(a)(4 ) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).
BRETT COREY JASPERS
Effective Sept. 10, 2014, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline publicly reprimanding Corvallis attorney Brett Corey Jaspers for violations of the following: RPC 3.3(d) (failure to inform the tribunal of all material facts in an ex parte proceeding); RPC 3.5(b) (improper ex parte communication); and RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).
In representing a noncustodial mother concerned that her son’s father was going to try to take her son to Pennsylvania and keep him there, Jaspers filed an ex parte motion seeking a status quo order restraining the father from taking the child out of state or interfering with his daily schedule. However, the circumstances did not satisfy the requirements for obtaining an ex parte motion under the statute Jaspers utilized. Even if they had, the statute required procedural steps that Jaspers failed to take, including notifying the father, who was then unrepresented.
In addition, Jaspers’ motion did not include information necessary for the court to fully understand the circumstances, including that the father had custody under the judgment then in place, and that the father had proposed a two- to-three-week visit (which was permitted by the current parenting plan). After the court signed the status quo order, Jaspers did not serve it on father, but did send a copy to father’s new attorney a few days later.
Although Jasper has substantial experience in the practice of law, the stipulation reflected that his sanction was mitigated by the lack of dishonest or selfish motive, absence of prior discipline and cooperation with the bar.