SCOKY: Attorney Disciplinary Actions from Jan and Feb.. 2013

The SCOKY took disciplinary actions in the following matters:

  • KBA vs. Brian Patrick Curtis
  • KBA vs. Gail Smith Slone
  • KBA vs. Andrew L. Holton
  • Timothy A. Parker vs. KBA
  • Brandon J. Lawrence vs. KBA
  • KBA vs. William R. Palmer, Jr.
  • Robert F. Wright vs. KBA
  • KBA vs. Jack F. Durie, Jr.
  • Clifford Alan Branham vs. KBA
  • Travis Olen Myles, Jr. vs. KBA
  • KBA vs. Steven O. Thornton

ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE: [the following summaries were updated based upon the monthly summaries from SCOKY]. 5.14.2013
A. Kentucky Bar Association v. Brian Patrick Curtis
2012-SC-000672-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. The Board of Governors found Curtis guilty of violating SCR 3.130-1.4(a)(4) (failure to comply with client’s reasonable requests for information); SCR 3.130-1.15(b) (failure to provide an accounting of client funds); SCR 3.130-1.16(d) (failure to refund the unearned portion of the advance fee payment upon termination of representation); and SCR 3.130-8.1(b) (failure to respond to bar complaint). The Board took Curtis’ current charges and his prior discipline into consideration and recommended a 60-day suspension from the practice of law. Neither the KBA nor Curtis sought review by the Court. Accordingly, the Court adopted the Board’s recommendation.
B. Kentucky Bar Association v. Gail Smith Slone
2012-SC-000673-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. The Board of Governors found Slone guilty of violating SCR 3.130-1.3 (failure to act with reasonable diligence); SCR 3.130- 1.4(a)(4) (failure to comply with client’s reasonable requests for information); and SCR 3.130-1.16(d) (failure to refund the unearned portion of the advance fee payment upon termination of representation). The Board took into consideration Slone’s current charges and her prior discipline, which included a current suspension for non-payment of dues and a prior, 30-day suspension for failing to competently represent and communicate with clients, and recommended that she be suspended from the practice of law for a period of 61 days. Neither the KBA nor Slone sought review by the Court. Accordingly, the Court adopted the Board’s recommendation.
C. Kentucky Bar Association v. Andrew L. Holton
2012-SC-000710-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. The Board of Governors found Holton guilty of violating SCR 3.130-1.1 (failure to provide competent representation); SCR 3.130-1.3 (failure to act with reasonable diligence); SCR 3.130-1.4(a)(3)(failure to keep the client reasonably informed); SCR 3.130-1.4(a)(4) (failure to respond to requests for information); and SCR 3.130-8.1(b) (failure to respond to bar complaint), all arising out Respondent’s representation of parties in a contract
dispute. The Board took into consideration Holton’s current charges and his prior discipline and recommended that he be suspended from the practice of law in the Commonwealth for 30 days. Neither the KBA nor Holton sought review by the Court. Accordingly, the Court adopted the Board’s recommendation.
D. Timothy A. Parker v. Kentucky Bar Association
2012-SC-000778-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. Parker moved the Court to issue a public reprimand with conditions for his admitted violation of SCR 3.130-1.3 (failure to diligently provide the agreed-upon legal services after he was paid by a client); SCR 3.130-1.4(a)(4) (failure to comply with client’s reasonable requests for information); SCR 3.130-1.15(a) (failure to deposit the advance fee payment paid by his client into an escrow account until earned); and SCR 3.130-1.16(d) (failure to refund the unearned portion of the advance fee payment upon termination of representation). The KBA did not object to the sanction, which was negotiated pursuant to SCR 3.480(2). The Court agreed that a public reprimand was an appropriate punishment for Parker’s misconduct and declined further review.

E. Brandon L. Lawrence v. Kentucky Bar Association
2012-SC-000779-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. Lawrence moved the Court to enter an Order resolving pending disciplinary matters against him, including his admitted violation of SCR 3.130-1.4(a)(4) (reasonable requests for information); SCR 3.120-1.15(a) (safekeeping of property), and SCR 3.130-7.09(1) (contact with prospective clients). The motion was the result of a negotiated agreement between Lawrence and the KBA and the parties agreed that a 30-day suspension was an appropriate sanction. The Court agreed and suspended Lawrence accordingly.
F. Kentucky Bar Association v. William R. Palmer, Jr.
2012-SC-000787-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. The trial commissioner recommended that Palmer be suspended from the practice of law for five years for misconduct addressed in four disciplinary files. Neither the KBA nor Palmer filed a notice of appeal so the matter was forwarded to the Court for entry of a final order. The Court found the trial commissioner’s report to be supported by the record and the law and adopted the recommendation for a five-year suspension and permanent monitoring by the Kentucky Lawyers’ Assistance Program thereafter.
G. Robert F. Wright v. Kentucky Bar Association
2012-SC-000813-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. Wright petitioned the Court to impose the sanction of a 30-day suspension probated for three years for his violation of SCR 3.130-1.1 (failure to competently represent a client); SCR 3.130-3.5(c) (engaging in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal); and SCR 3.130-8.3(b) (committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer). The KBA did not object to the proposed negotiated sanction and the Court granted Wright’s motion.
H. Kentucky Bar Association v. Jack F. Durie, Jr.
2012-SC-000824-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. Durie was charged with violating SCR 3.130- 8.3(b) and SCR 3.130-8.3(c) as a result of a conviction on a felony theft charge in Florida. The Board of Governors recommended that he be permanently disbarred. Neither the KBA nor Daurie filed for review and the Court adopted the Board’s recommendation.
I. Clifford Alan Branham v. Kentucky Bar Association
2013-SC-000027-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. Branham applied for restoration to membership. He was suspended from the practice of law on December 28, 2009, for failure to pay the late fee associated with the late payment of his 2008/2009 bar dues. Branham’s application for restoration was rejected by the Board of Governors and referred to the Character and Fitness Committee for further proceedings under SCR 2.011 and 2.040. In April 2010, the Character and Fitness Committee sent Branham a questionnaire, which he failed to return. Branham failed to further communicate with the KBA or the Committee and in October 2012 his application for restoration was denied as incomplete and that he had failed to meet his burden of proof to establish his present qualifications to practice law pursuant to SCR 3.500(5). The Board of Governors also recommended that the application for restoration be disapproved and that the Court enter an Order denying the application. The Court adopted the recommendation and decision of the Board and Branham’s application for restoration was denied.
J. Travis Olen Myles, Jr. v. Kentucky Bar Association
2013-SC-000045-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur.

Myles was hired by Sharon Walker to represent her in a disability matter. Walker was awarded partial benefits and Myles filed an appeal on her behalf. Myles acknowledged that, though it was his belief that he sent notice to her, Walker may not have received notice of the outcome.  Furthermore, Myles acknowledged taking a job with the Social Security Administration, which precluded him from representing Walker any further.  Myles, however, failed to notify Walker of his new employment, and failed to return her medical records and other paperwork upon ending his representation.
Myles was served with a Bar Complaint along with a letter advising him of the need to submit a written response. After Myles failed to respond, he was served with a reminder letter and a second copy of the complaint, and was again notified
of his need to respond. Myles admitted that he failed to submit a written response to the complaint and the Inquiry Commission charged him with two counts:

Count I, violating SCR 3.130-1.16(d) (failure to refund the unearned portion of the advance fee payment upon termination of representation); and
Count II, violating SCR 3.130-8.1(b) (failure to respond to bar complaint). Myles acknowledged that he engaged in the misconduct in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct and agreed to the imposition of discipline for his violations.
In light of his admissions, Myles and the KBA agreed to a negotiated sanction pursuant to SCR 3.480(2) which would impose a public reprimand. The Court  held that the negotiated sanction was consistent with discipline imposed in similar
cases and ordered Myles be publicly reprimanded.
K. Kentucky Bar Association v. Steven O. Thornton
2012-SC-000024-KB February 21, 2013
Opinion of the Court. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. The Inquiry Commission consolidated three separate disciplinary cases against Thornton, involving fourteen alleged violations of the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct. The Trial Commissioner found that Thornton had committed eleven of the fourteen alleged violations and recommended a 180-day suspension from the practice of law and that Thornton refund over $7,000 in fees to two clients. The Board of Governors adopted the Trial Commissioner’s recommendations and the Court adopted the Board of Governor’s recommendations, suspending Thornton from the practice of law for 180 days and requiring him to refund fees to two of his clients.

The following pages were extracted from the January 2012 minutes of SCOKY with links and more information on each of the cases.

You can click for just the extract below; or you can click here for the entire minutes for just February 2013. There were no minutes for January 2013 from SCOKY.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are inappropriate, offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.