ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE: SCOKY for Month of August 2009

A. James Wiley Craft v. Kentucky Bar Association
2002-SC-000273-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court reinstated attorney to the practice of law. The attorney had previously resigned under terms of disbarment after a felony conviction. The Court noted that the attorney had shown by clear and convincing evidence that he possessed sufficient professional capabilities and moral character.

B. Gregory A. Gabbard v. Kentucky Bar Association
2007-SC-000459-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court reinstated attorney to the practice of law. The attorney had been suspended in 2004 for professional misconduct. The reinstatement was conditional on the attorney entering into a supervision agreement with KYLAP.

C. Kentucky Bar Association, CLE Commission v. Michael Ray McDonner
2008-SC-000963-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court suspended attorney from the practice of law for failure to complete required CLE. Further the attorney did not respond to the CLE Commission’s attempts to communicate with the attorney.

D. Kentucky Bar Association v. George Martin Streckfus
2009-SC-000184-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline against attorney suspended in another jurisdiction. The Indiana Supreme Court had previously suspended the attorney for failing to respond to a complaint lodged against him and otherwise refusing to cooperate with the disciplinary process.

E. Kentucky Bar Association v. James Kevin Mathews
 2009-SC-000266-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court suspended attorney from the practice of law for 181 days for violating SCR 3.130-1.15(a) by failing to keep his clients’ money separate from his own after the KBA received 13 overdraft notices regarding attorney’s escrow account. The attorney was also found guilty of failing to respond to a lawful request for information from a disciplinary authority.

F. Kentucky Bar Association v. Leo A. Marcum
2009-SC-000267-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court suspended attorney from the practice of law for 181 days. Attorney was found to have violated SCR 3.130-1.15(a), which requires lawyers to hold his or her own property separate from that of a client. Attorney also violated the rule against engaging in conduct involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit (SCR 3.130(8.4)(c)).

G. Kim Allen Clay v. Kentucky Bar Association
2009-SC-000272-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court granted attorney’s motion to resign under terms of permanent disbarment. The attorney previously pled guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud. The attorney also admitted that he kept money given to him by his clients intended for their creditors.

H. Judy W. Sipes v. Kentucky Bar Association
2009-SC-000304-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court granted attorney’s motion for Court to impose sanction of public reprimand. Attorney admitted to violating SCR 3.130(4.2) during the course of her representation in a suit against the City of Elizabethtown. The attorney interviewed a city employee who was represented by city attorneys without first obtaining the attorneys’ permission.

I. James Blake Hornal v. Kentucky Bar Association
2009-SC-000320-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court reinstated attorney to the practice of law. The attorney was suspended in 2008 for failure to pay KBA dues.

J. Richard Erpenbeck v. Kentucky Bar Association
2009-SC-000354-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court granted attorney’s motion for Court to impose a two year suspension from the practice of law. Attorney admitted that he failed to competently and diligently represent the bank that employed him to perform title searches. Attorney also admitted to failing to disclose to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court that his brother, while indebted to several creditors, transferred stock without any consideration to a company managed by the attorney.

K. Pamela C. Bratcher v. Kentucky Bar Association
2009-SC-000358-KB August 27, 2009

Chief Justice Minton not sitting. The Supreme Court granted attorney’s motion for Court to impose sanction of public reprimand. Attorney admitted to violating SCR 3.130(4.2) which prohibits a lawyer from communicating about the subject of the representation with a party the lawyer knows to be represented by counsel. The attorney, while representing a client in a wrongful termination case, hired an agency to find out the type of reference the former employer was giving about her client. The agency contacted the former employer on the pretense of being a prospective employer. The attorney then attempted to use this information in the lawsuit. The trial court suppressed the information and disqualified the attorney from the case.

L. James R. Gregory, Sr. v. Kentucky Bar Association
2009-SC-000369-KB August 27, 2009

The Supreme Court granted attorney’s motion for a three year suspension from the practice of law retroactive to January 2007. In 2004, attorney was suspended for 30 days, but failed to inform at least five clients of his suspension, to their detriment. The attorney also admitted to not refunding unearned fees and not appearing on behalf of his clients at crucial hearings. The attorney attributed these violations to his former substance abuse problem. Attorney’s reinstatement was made contingent on paying restitution to his clients and complying with a KYLAP supervision agreement.

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