SC: Attorney Discipline Matters for September 28, 2017

SC: Attorney Discipline Matters for August 24, 2017

BRYAN EDWARD BENNETT V. KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION
2017-SC-000241-KB IN SUPREME COURT
ORDER OF PUBLIC REPRIMAND.
ALL SITTING. ALL CONCUR.

KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION V. CARL WAYNE GIBSON
2017-SC-000247-KB IN SUPREME  COURT
TO BE PUBLISHED
ORDER OF SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW FOR 30 DAYS.
ALL SITTING. ALL CONCUR. 

SC: Attorney Discipline Matters for June 2017

Roger D. Varney, II; David Thomas Sparks: Jamie L. Turner

A. Kentucky Bar Association v. Roger D. Varney, II 

2017-SC-000101-KB June 15, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Cunningham, Hughes, Keller, VanMeter, and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. Wright, J., not sitting. The Inquiry Commission filed twelve charges against Varney stemming from three separate disciplinary files. Although Varney filed answers to the charges, he did not participate in either the prehearing conference or the hearing before the Trial Commissioner. The Trial Commissioner ultimately recommended a finding of guilty on all charges in each of the three consolidated files and recommended suspension for a period of 181 days and payment of restitution to Varney’s clients.

The Board of Governors ultimately adopted the Trial Commissioner’s findings and recommended sanction. Neither Varney nor Bar Counsel filed a notice of review with the Supreme Court under SCR 3.370(8) and the Court declined to review the Board’s decision under SCR 3.370(9). Accordingly, the Court adopted the Board’s recommendations, finding Varney guilty of twelve disciplinary charges, suspending him from the practice of law for 181 days, and ordering payment of restitution to his clients.

B. Kentucky Bar Association v. David Thomas Sparks 

2017-SC-000115-KB June 15, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Sparks, who was under suspension by three separate orders of the Supreme Court, was charged by the Inquiry Commission with violating several Rules of Professional Conduct. Numerous unsuccessful attempts at service were made by mail and the Warren County Sheriff’s Department. Due to Sparks’ failure to respond to the charge, the Commission submitted the matter to the Board of Governors under SCR 3.210(1). The Board unanimously found Sparks guilty of each alleged violation. After considering Sparks’ prior disciplinary history, the Board unanimously recommended that Sparks be suspended from the practice of law for one year, to run consecutively with the other pending suspensions.

The Supreme Court reviewed the record and agreed that the Board reached the appropriation conclusions as to Sparks’ guilt. Accordingly, the decision of the Board was adopted and Sparks was suspended from the practice of law for one year to run consecutively with the two, 181-day suspensions previously ordered by the Court. Sparks was further referred to the Kentucky Lawyers Assistance Program, directed to attend and successfully complete the KBA’s Ethics and Professional Enhancement Program, and directed to refund any unearned fees to his client. 9

C. Jamie L. Turner v. Kentucky Bar Association 

2017-SC-000117-KB June 15, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. The KBA suspended Turner’s license for failure to comply with CLE requirements. The Supreme Court gave Turner an extension to appeal that suspension. In her appeal, Turner stated she had attended an out-of-state conference and thought her CLE hours had been reported. She also stated that, when she was unaware of the deficiency until she received the notice of suspension. Once she became aware of the suspension, Turner took steps to fulfill her CLE obligations, and she asked to be relieved from going through the restoration process provided in the Supreme Court Rules. Based on the record, the Supreme Court held that Turner had not presented sufficient evidence to justify relieving her from complying with the restoration process.

SC: Attorney Discipline Matters for April 2017

Danny Perkins Butler; Christopher David Wiest; Dennis Michael Statesman; David Cary Ford; Christopher Lee Stansbury; James David Johnson

A. Inquiry Commission v. Danny Perkins Butler 

2016-SC-000668-KB April 27, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. The Inquiry Commission moved the Court to temporarily suspend Butler’s license to practice law based on information the Commission had received from the Hardin County Commonwealth’s Attorney. That information revealed that Butler had been indicted for theft by unlawful taking of more than $10,000 related to Butler’s misappropriation of client funds. The Commission also noted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating 115 complaints related to Butler that it had received. The Supreme Court granted the Commission’s motion.

B. Kentucky Bar Association v. Christopher David Wiest 

2017-SC-000039-KB April 27, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. The Supreme Court of Ohio suspended Wiest for two years, with the second year stayed on the condition he engage in no further misconduct. Thereafter, the Kentucky Bar Association filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Kentucky asking that reciprocal discipline be imposed. The Court issued a show cause order and Wiest responded but failed to prove by substantial evidence that the grounds set forth in SCR 2.435(4)(a) and (b) were met in his case. Accordingly, the Court suspended him from the practice of law consistent with the order of the Supreme Court of Ohio. 6

C. Kentucky Bar Association v. Dennis Michael Stutsman 

2017-SC-000098-KB April 27, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Stutsman was banned from filing any new cases in federal court for a period of one year for failing to timely filing appeals in two separate Social Security cases. The matter was referred to the KBA Office of Bar Counsel for disciplinary proceedings. Stutsman was served with a copy of the Inquiry Commission complaint but failed to respond. He also received a copy of the Commission’s charge via certified mail but again failed to respond. Accordingly, the matter proceeded to the Board of Governors by default and Stutsman was found guilty. The Board recommended that Stutsman be suspended from the practice of law for thirty days, be required to attended the Ethics and Professionalism Enhancement Program and be referred to KYLAP.

Neither Stutsman nor the Office of Bar Counsel requested that the Supreme Court take review of the Board’s decision under SCR 3.370(7) and the Court declined to independently review the Board’s decision under SCR 3.370(8). After reviewing the record, analogous case law and Stutsman’s disciplinary history, the Court adopted the Board’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Recommendations under SCR 3.370(9) and suspended Stutsman from the practice of law in the Commonwealth for thirty days.

D. Kentucky Bar Association v. David Cary Ford 

2017-SC-000099-KB April 27, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Ford pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal charges of fraud and money laundering. He acted as the executor of seven estates between 2008 and 2015, from which he took approximately $1.7 million for his own personal benefit. The money Ford stole was intended for various charities and the decedents’ families.

The Inquiry Commission issued a two-count charge against Ford. All attempts to serve Ford were unsuccessful and service was finally completed via the KBA’s Executive Director under SCR 3.175(2). Ford never filed a response and the Board of Governors found Ford guilty of violating both SCR 3.130-8.4(b) and (c). The Supreme Court agreed with the Board’s findings and, given the nature of Ford’s violations and their gravity, agreed that permanent disbarment was the appropriate sanction. Accordingly, the Court ordered Ford permanently disbarred from the practice of law in the Commonwealth.

E. Christopher Lee Stansbury v. Kentucky Bar Association 

2017-SC-000100-KB April 27, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Stansbury conducted a number of real estate closings and held himself out as being authorized to collect title insurance premiums on behalf of an insurance carrier when he had no such 7

authorization. In another matter, Stansbury advised a client that he had filed a QDRO, when he had not done so, and he failed to advise that client that his license had been suspended for unrelated violations of the Rules of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court accepted the agreed to sanction of a two-year suspension with readmission contingent upon completion of a KYLAP assessment.

F. James David Johnson v. Kentucky Bar Association 

2017-SC-000114-KB April 27, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Johnson admitted to six counts of violating the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct and moved the Court to impose the sanction of permanent disbarment. The KBA did not object to Johnson’s motion. Upon review, the Court agreed that the proposed sanction was appropriate and permanently disbarred Johnson from the practice of law in the Commonwealth.

SC: March 2017 Attorney Discipline Cases

Michael Thornsbury; James E. Isenberg; Thomas Steven Poteat; Brian Nathan Hopper; Franklin S. Yudkin; Timothy Michael Longmeyer

A. Kentucky Bar Association v. Michael Thornsbury 

2016-SC-000607-KB March 23, 2017 7

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Thornsbury was charged in the Southern District of West Virginia with a felony offense for conspiracy to violate the constitutional rights of another. The indictments stated that Thornsbury had engaged in criminal conspiracies in his role as West Virginia Circuit Judge to frame his secretary’s husband for crimes he did not commit following Thornsbury’s affair with his secretary. Thornsbury pled guilty and received a sentence of 50 months’ incarceration in federal prison. He also tendered his “Affidavit for Consent to Disbarment” in conjunction with his plea agreement.

The West Virginia Disciplinary Counsel concluded that Thornsbury violated numerous West Virginia judicial canons and the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ordered that his license to practice law be annulled by voluntary consent. The Kentucky Bar Association filed a petition for reciprocal discipline under SCR 3.435. The Supreme Court of Kentucky ordered Thornsbury to show cause why he should not be permanently disbarred but he failed to comply. Accordingly, the Supreme Court permanently disbarred Thornsbury consistent with the order of identical discipline from West Virginia.

B. Kentucky Bar Association v. James E. Isenberg 

2016-SC-000663-KB March 23, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. In 2011, Isenberg was suspended from the practice of law for five years. Despite his suspension, Isenberg continued to actively practice law. The Inquiry Commission eventually filed a charge against Isenberg but he failed to answer. The charge was submitted as a default case and the Board of Governors unanimously recommended that Isenberg be permanently disbarred from the practice of law. Upon reviewing the record, the Supreme Court agreed and permanently disbarred Isenberg from the practice of law in the Commonwealth.

C. Kentucky Bar Association v. Thomas Steven Poteat 

2016-SC-000664-KB March 23, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting. Minton, C.J.; Cunningham, Hughes, Keller, Venters, and Wright, JJ., concur. VanMeter, J., concurs in part and dissents in part by separate opinion. Poteat, who had been suspended for failure to comply with CLE requirements, did not advise clients involved in a real estate dispute of his suspension, and he continued to represent them. As part of that representation, Poteat negotiated a settlement, part of which he paid out of his own funds. In exchange for that payment, Poteat attempted to convince the clients to sign a waiver of any potential legal malpractice claims they might have against him. Poteat did not advise the clients to seek legal representation regarding the proposed waive. The KBA charged Poteat with six violations and the Board voted to find him guilty of five of those violations, including failure to advise the clients of his suspension, practicing law while suspended, engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, and failing to respond to requests for information from the KBA. The majority of the Board members voted to recommend a one-year suspension to run consecutively with Poteat’s existing CLE suspension. The Court adopted the Board’s recommendation.

D. Kentucky Bar Association v. Brian Nathan Hopper 

2016-SC-000669-KB March 23, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting. Minton, C.J.; Hughes, Keller, VanMeter, Venters, and Wright, JJ, concur. Cunningham, J., concurs in result only. The Board of Governors found Hopper guilty of violating SCR 3.130-1.3, -1.4(a)(4), -1.15(b), -1.16(d), and -8.1(b) and recommended that he be suspended from the practice of law for 181 days. Hopper did not respond to the initial complaint or the charge that was filed by the Inquiry Commission.

Neither Hopper nor Bar Counsel filed a notice of appeal. Accordingly, under SCR 3.370(9), the Supreme Court adopted the recommendation of the Board of Governors, finding Hopper guilty of all six charged counts and suspending him from the practice of law for 181 days.

E. Kentucky Bar Association v. Franklin S. Yudkin 

2017-SC-000022-KB March 23, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Yudkin from the practice of law for a period not less than 90 days, without automatic reinstatement. As a consequence, the KBA moved for the Supreme Court of Kentucky to order Yudkin to show cause why he should not be subject to reciprocal discipline. Yudkin responded by requesting that reciprocal discipline not be imposed. But the Court concluded that Yudkin failed to provide a legally sufficient reason why the Court should not impose reciprocal discipline, finding that his conduct, which consisted of affirmatively misrepresenting facts to the trial court and the appellate court, did not “warrant substantially different discipline” in Kentucky under SCR 3.434(4)(b). Accordingly, the Court ordered Yudkin suspended from the practice of law in the Commonwealth for a period not less than 90 days, beginning December 8, 2016.

F. Timothy Michael Longmeyer v. Kentucky Bar Association 

2017-SC-000025-KB March 23, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Longmeyer pled guilty to engaging in an unlawful “kickback” scheme involving the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan and was sentenced to 70 months’ imprisonment. He moved the Court for leave to resign under terms of permanent disbarment, a motion the Court granted.

SC: February 2017 Attorney Discipline Cases

Marc Alan Wells

Marc Alan Wells v. Kentucky Bar Association
2016-SC-000662-KB February 16, 2017 

Opinion and Order of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Hughes, Keller, VanMeter, Venters, and Wright, JJ., concur. Cunningham, J., not sitting. The charges against Wells arose from his failure to keep personal and client funds separate; his failure to maintain an adequate balance in his escrow account; and his failure to timely respond to requests for information from the KBA. Wells admitted the violations. However, he noted that he had been involved in no prior disciplinary proceedings during his more than 40 years of practice and that he had taken steps to ameliorate any harm when he realized his errors. The parties agreed that a 61 day suspension probated for one year with conditions was appropriate. The conditions included receipt of no additional charges within the probationary period and completion of 6 the Ethics and Professionalism Enhancement Program. The Supreme Court concurred that the agreed to sanctions were appropriate and issued an order consistent with that agreement.

SC: December 2016 Attorney Discipline Cases

Madison Sewell; Christina Rose Edmonson; David Thomas Sparks; Parker Lee Clifton; Robert Hansford Hoskins; Delbert Keith Pruitt; Jason Elias Dutra; Genon Ginn Hensley; James Neal Tilson; Brian Thomas Canupp; Jeremy Joseph Gubin

  • Click here for the Kentucky Court Report’s index of each month’s summary by year and month.
  • Click here for the Kentucky Court Report’s index of each month’s minutes of all decisions by year and month.
  • Click here for Kentucky Court Report’s index of attorney discipline cases
  • Click here for grants of MDR (motions for discretionary review)

ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE: 

A. In re: Madison Sewell 

2016-SC-000355-CF December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Sewell tendered an application for admission to the Kentucky Bar without examination, relying on the provision in SCR 2.110 that allows for admission without examination for persons who have been admitted to practice law in another jurisdiction and are actively engaged in the teaching of the law. The Office of Bar Admissions denied his application, noting that Sewell’s employment as a high school pre-law teacher did not satisfy the requirements of the rule. The Supreme Court held that the nature of Sewell’s current employment was irrelevant because SCR 2.110 was inapplicable. Sewell had not practiced law for the requisite time period in a state that has reciprocity with Kentucky. Therefore, his application was untimely and was denied.

B. Kentucky Bar Association v. Christina Rose Edmonson 

2016-SC-000388-KB December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. The charges against Edmondson arose from her failure to respond to discovery in a breach of contract case and her failure to file suit in a loan dispute. The Board noted that Edmondson had previously been suspended for failure to pay bar dues and comply with CLE requirements, a suspension that was ongoing; had been suspended for 180 days for failing to follow through with representation in other cases, which was also ongoing; and had not responded to the current charges. Therefore, the Board recommended that Edmondson be suspended for 181 days to be served concurrently with her 180 day suspension. The Court, noting that the current charges arose during the same time period as Edmondson’s prior charges, agreed with the Board and suspended Edmondson for 181 days to run concurrently with her 180 day suspension.

C. Kentucky Bar Association v. David Thomas Sparks 

2015-SC-000425-KB December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. The Supreme Court entered an order suspending Sparks for 181 days, with 61 days to serve and the remainder probated for two years, with conditions. The Office of Bar Counsel moved to revoke probation and impose the remainder of the suspension because Sparks violated several conditions. Specifically, Sparks received new disciplinary 11

charges and failed to attend required ethics and business-management courses or establish an IOLTA account. Sparks was ordered to show cause why his probation should not be revoked but he failed to respond. Accordingly, the Court granted the Office of Bar Counsel’s motion and suspended Sparks for the remaining 120 days previously probated.

D. Kentucky Bar Association v. Parker Lee Clifton 

2016-SC-000476-KB December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Clifton was publicly reprimanded by the Supreme Court of Ohio for misconduct in a probate matter in Ohio. The Kentucky Bar Association’s Office of Bar Counsel filed a petition for reciprocal discipline under SCR 3.435. Seeing no reason why Clifton should not be subjected to identical discipline in Kentucky, the Supreme Court granted the petition and publicly reprimanded him.

E. Kentucky Bar Association v. Robert Hansford Hoskins 

2016-SC-000477-KB December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Hoskins’ license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely, subject to reinstatement by the Supreme Court of Ohio, due to his misconduct and violation of multiple ethics rules in several cases. The Kentucky Bar Association’s Office of Bar Counsel filed a petition for reciprocal discipline under SCR 3.435. The Supreme Court noted that it does not ordinarily impose indefinite suspensions unless an attorney fails to answer a charge. In this case, Hoskins did answer the charges in Ohio but failed to participate in the proceedings in Kentucky. Nevertheless, the Court held that there was no reason why Hoskins should not be subjected to identical discipline in Kentucky and suspended him indefinitely.

F. Kentucky Bar Association v. Delbert Keith Pruitt 

2016-SC-000487-KB December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Pruitt was charged with several counts of misconduct relating to his representation of a client in a felony case. Specifically, the Inquiry Commission charged Pruitt with failing to act with reasonable diligence in representing his client; failing to keep his client updated about her case and failing to respond to her requests for information; failing to timely return any unearned portion of a fee upon termination; and failing to response to the bar complaint. The matter was eventually submitted to the Board of Governors as a default case under SCR 3.201(1). A majority of the Board found Pruitt guilty of all four charges. After considering Pruitt’s disciplinary history and his lack of interest in defending himself against the current charge, the Board recommended a 61-day suspension.

Neither the Office of Bar Counsel nor Pruitt sought review by the Court under SCR 3.370(7) and the Court declined to undertake review under SCR 3.370(8). 12

Accordingly, the Court adopted the Board’s decision in full and suspended Pruitt from the practice of law for 61 days.

G. Kentucky Bar Association v. Jason Elias Dutra 

2016-SC-00490-KB December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Dutra was found guilty of nine counts of misconduct in three separate disciplinary files. All of the charges related to mishandling of client funds. Dutra never filed answers to the charges and the matter was eventually submitted to the Board of Governors as a default case under SCR 3.210. The Board unanimously found Dutra guilty of all counts and, after considering his discipline history, recommended permanent disbarment. Neither the Office of Bar Counsel nor Dutra sought review and the Court declined to undertake review. Accordingly, the Court adopted the Board’s decision in full and permanently disbarred Dutra from the practice of law in Kentucky.

H. Kentucky Bar Association v. Genon Ginn Hensley 

2016-SC-000491-KB December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Hensley was charged with several counts of misconduct stemming from four separate disciplinary files. The charges against Hensley arose from a misdemeanor conviction for failing to maintain automobile liability insurance and from three separate instances of failing to properly represent clients in bankruptcy matters. Hensley was served with all of the charges via certified mail but did not file an answer in any of the four cases. The Board of Governor voted to find Hensley guilty of all but one count and, after considering her history of discipline, a majority voted to recommend that Hensley be suspended from the practice of law for 181 days.

Neither the KBA’s Office of Bar Counsel nor Hensley sought review by the Supreme Court under SCR 3.370(7) and the Court declined to undertake review under SCR 3.370(8). Accordingly, the Board’s recommendation was adopted under SCR 3.370(9) and Hensley was suspended from the practice of law for 181 days.

I. Kentucky Bar Association v. James Neal Tilson 

2016-SC-000532-KB December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Tilson was suspended from the practice of law in Arizona for three years and the Kentucky Supreme Court imposed identical reciprocal discipline. Shortly thereafter, additional disciplinary proceedings against Tilson resulted in his permanent disbarment in Arizona. The Kentucky Bar Association’s Office of Bar Counsel filed a petition for reciprocal discipline under SCR 3.435. Seeing no reason why Tilson should not be subjected to identical discipline in Kentucky, the Supreme Court granted the KBA’s petition and permanent disbarred Tilson from the practice of law. 13

J. Brian Thomas Canupp v. Kentucky Bar Association 

2016-SC-000623-KB December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Canupp asked the Court to enter an order resolving the pending disciplinary proceeding against him by imposing a public reprimand. The charges against Canupp arose from his representation of a client in a wrongful death matter. Canupp admitted that his conduct violated the disciplinary rules as alleged in the charge. He reached an agreement with the Office of Bar Counsel to resolve this matter and asked the Court to enter an order in conformity with their negotiations. The Office of Bar Counsel did not object to Canupp’s motion. After reviewing the allegations, the admitted facts, comparable cases, and Canupp’s previous disciplinary record, the Court concluded that the proposed sanction was appropriate and publicly reprimanded Canupp.

K. Jeremy Joseph Gubin v. Kentucky Bar Association 

2016-SC-000624-KB December 15, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Gubin was arrested and charged with felony first-degree possession of a controlled substance. He pled guilty and was sentenced to three years of supervised diversion and several conditions, including the condition that he not practice law during the period of diversion. Based on his conviction, Gubin was charged by the Inquiry Commission with having violated SCR 3.130-8.4(b), which state that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to “commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects. Gubin admitted that his conduct violated the rule and reached an agreement with the Office of Bar Counsel to resolve this matter. He petitioned the Supreme Court to enter an order in conformity with the negotiated sanction, which would suspend him from the practice of law for a period of three years and require him to maintain participation in KYLAP and remain illegal-drug and alcohol free during his suspension. The Office of Bar Counsel did not object to Gubin’s motion and asked that it be granted. After reviewing the allegations, the admitted facts, the comparable cases and Gubin’s previous disciplinary history, the Court concluded that the negotiated sanction was adequate and suspended Gubin from the practice of law for three years, with conditions.

SC: October 2016 Attorney Discipline Cases

Fred G. Greene, John Elias Dutra, Jeffrey Owens Moore, Maureen Ann Sullivan, Justin Neal O’Malley

ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE: 

A. Fred G. Greene v. Kentucky Bar Association 

2015-SC-000363-KB October 22, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Greene admitted to violating SCR 3.130(1.15)(a) and SCR 3.130(1.8)(a). He moved the Court under the negotiated sanction rule, SCR 3.480(2), to impose a 181-day suspension with 61 days of the suspension to be probated for one year, conditioned upon Greene incurring no further disciplinary charges within one year from the date of the Court’s order, maintaining his continuing legal education requirements, and paying his membership dues. The KBA did not object to Greene’s motion.

The Court noted that it had rejected a prior negotiated sanction proposed by Greene and agreed to by the KBA in this same disciplinary action and had remanded the case for further consideration. The Court reviewed the underlying facts leading to the disciplinary charges, which involved Greene’s failure to properly maintain his escrow account and borrowing $50,000 from a client, ostensibly to cover the deficiency in his escrow account. Greene admitted to violating both SCR 3.130(1.15)(a) and SCR 3.130(1.8)(a).

The Court also reviewed Greene’s multiple prior disciplinary sanctions for unprofessional conduct, including six separate private admonitions, a public reprimand and a thirty-day suspension. The Court ultimately concluded that the sanction proposed by Greene and agreed to by the KBA was adequate, noting that 7

the sanction period will amount to an actual suspension of 120 days or 4 months. Accordingly, the Court granted Greene’s motion to impose a 180-day suspension with 61 days probated, conditioned upon Greene incurring no further disciplinary charges, maintaining his continuing legal education requirements and paying his membership dues.

B. Kentucky Bar Association v. John Elias Dutra 

2016-SC-000386-KB October 20, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Dutra was charged with two disciplinary violations for failing to deposit an advance fee payment into an escrow account and abandoning his client, failing to return the client’s paperwork, and failing to properly withdraw from a case upon termination of representation. The Inquiry Commission’s charge was sent to Dutra by certified mail but acknowledgement of receipt was never returned. The following month, Dutra moved for a 21-day extension of time to respond to the Commission’s inquiry. His request was granted but no responsive pleading was ever filed.

The Commission ultimately submitted the matter to the Board of Governors as a default case. The Board unanimously found Dutra guilty of each charge and, after considering his prior disciplinary history, recommended that Dutra be suspended from the practice of law for thirty days and that he be required to repay his former client the sum of $1,550. The Board further recommended that Dutra’s suspension be probated for one year if he reimbursed the client within sixty days. The Supreme Court agreed with the Board’s recommendation and sanctioned Dutra accordingly.

C. Kentucky Bar Association v. Jeffrey Owens Moore 

2016-SC-000387-KB October 20, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. The Board of Governors considered two separate files against Moore, one containing a two-count charge and the other a three-count charge. The cases came before the Board as default cases under SCR 3.210 after Moore failed to respond to the charges. The Board unanimously found Moore guilty of all five counts and recommended that he be suspended from the practice of law for one year, to be served consecutively to his suspensions; that he be ordered to repay a loan to a client; that he be ordered to participate and comply with the Kentucky Lawyers Assistance Program; and that he be ordered to pay the costs of this action.

Neither the Office of Bar Counsel or Moore filed a notice of review so the Supreme Court exercised its authority under SCR 3.370(9) and adopted the recommendation of the Board. 8

D. Maureen Ann Sullivan v. Kentucky Bar Association 

2016-SC-000467-KB October 20, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. Sullivan moved the Court to impose a thirty day suspension from the practice of law, to be probated for two years on the condition that she not receive any new charges from the Inquiry Commission during the probationary period. She admitted violating the Rules of Professional Conduct, including SCR 3.130(1.4)(a)(5); SCR 3.130(1.15)(a); SCR 3.130(1.16)(d); SCR 3.130(5.5); and SCR 3.130(8.1)(b).

The KBA did not object to the proposed sanction, which was negotiated under SCR 3.480(2). Upon review of the facts and the relevant case law, the Supreme Court found the proposed discipline appropriate and sanctioned Sullivan accordingly.

E. Justin Neal O’Malley v. Kentucky Bar Association 

2016-SC-000483-KB October 20, 2016 

Opinion and Order of the Court. All sitting; all concur. The charges against O’Malley arose from his failure to repay fees to two clients after he failed to appear for their hearings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. He later admitted that he lacked sufficient funds to repay his clients. He further admitted that he lacked sufficient knowledge in the practice of bankruptcy law and agreed not to file any bankruptcy cases for five years. As a result, he was charged with violating SCR 3.130(1.1) (competency); SCR 3.130(1.16)(d) (duties upon termination of representation); SCR 3.130(3.4)(c) (disobeying an obligation to a tribunal); and SCR 3.130(8.4)(c) (dishonesty).

O’Malley was suspended from the practice of law in Marcy 2015 for thirty days and has not been reinstated. He moved the Supreme Court to impose a 181-day suspension from the practice of law for his admitted violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The KBA did not object to the proposed discipline, which was negotiated under SCR 3.480(2). In agreeing to the sanction, the KBA cited O’Malley’s extensive mitigating evidence, including physical and mental impairments and his cooperation with the Kentucky Lawyers Assistance Program.

Upon review of the facts and the relevant case law, the Court found the proposed discipline to be appropriate and suspended O’Malley from the practice of law for 181 days.