ATTORNEY DISCIPLINES: March 2009

A. Kentucky Bar Association v. Bryan Kent Burlew
2008-SC-000500-KB March 19, 2009

The Supreme Court adopted the KBA Board of Governor’s recommendation that attorney be suspended from the practice of law for three years. Attorney was found to have filed a motion for temporary custody on behalf of a client then done nothing further, and failed to communicate or issue a refund to the client. In a second matter, the attorney accepted a case in Indiana, where he was not admitted to practice law, made no attempt to be admitted pro hac vice or even appear in court. In a third matter, the attorney represented a juvenile in court even though his license was under suspension at the time. The attorney did not respond to any of the charges against him. The Court ruled that the three-year suspension would run consecutively to a three-year suspension given to the attorney in 2008 and that any attempt to have his license restored would first be processed by the KBA’s Character & Fitness committee.

B. Kentucky Bar Association v. Steven O. Thornton
2008-SC-000768-KB March 19, 2009

The Supreme Court issued a public reprimand to attorney for failing to explain his fee structure to a first-time client and for failing to respond to request from the KBA for information regarding the ethics charges.

C. Kentucky Bar Association v. Kirk S. Bierbauer
2008-SC-000792-KB March 19, 2009

The Supreme Court ordered the permanent disbarment of attorney, after the KBA Board of Governors could not reach a decision on the appropriate discipline. In 2006, the attorney pled guilty in federal court to attempted manufacture of methamphetamine. The KBA determined the attorney had also failed to return unearned fees, failed to diligently represent four clients, failed to keep the clients reasonably informed, and failed to act with reasonable diligence. The Court also found that the attorney had failed to respond to a lawful demand for information from the KBA.

D. Kentucky Bar Association v. Chris Miniard
2008-SC-000928-KB March 19, 2009

Supreme Court ordered attorney suspended from the practice of law for 61 days. The attorney did not respond to the complaint or subsequent charge stemming from a real estate transaction.

E. Kentucky Bar Association v. Charles C. Leadingham
2008-SC-000934-KB March 19, 2009

Supreme Court ordered attorney suspended from the practice of law for 61-days. The attorney was found to have failed to file a lawsuit despite accepting a fee to do so. Further, the attorney was found to have failed to act with reasonable diligence and to keep his client reasonably informed. The day before the KBA Board of Governors was to meet on this matter, the attorney tendered a response with a motion to file a late answer. The request was denied.

F. Kentucky Bar Association v. Vickie Lynn Howard
2008-SC-000935-KB March 19, 2009

Supreme Court adopted recommendation of the Board of
Governors to suspend attorney from the practice of law for 181 days. The matter concerned three separate clients who claimed attorney had failed to see cases through to their completion and did not adequately communicate with them. The attorney responded to two of the complaints, referring to an unspecified illness which interfered with her “ability to clearly think.” However, the attorney did not respond to the formal charges or otherwise provide evidence of a mitigating illness.

G. Kentucky Bar Association v. Jennifer Sue Whitlock
2008-SC-000936-KB March 19, 2009

Supreme Court adopted recommendation of the Board of Governors to suspend attorney from the practice of law for 181 days for multiple counts of misconduct. In one case, attorney accepted a fee, but never filed the bankruptcy petition. In another, attorney never informed her client that their bankruptcy petition had been dismissed. The petition had in fact been dismissed for the attorney’s failure to file the required Attorney Fee Disclosure. The attorney was found to have failed to act with reasonable diligence, failed to keep her client reasonably informer, failed to take reasonable steps to protect her clients’ interests upon termination of litigation and failed to provide competent representation. Since she also failed to answer the charges against her, she was also adjudged to have failed to respond to a lawful request for information from a disciplinary authority.

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