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.