Friday, May 6, 2016

51 Texas Lawyers & Judges Disciplined March-May


Disciplinary Actions — March, April & May 2016  State Bar lists (verbatim from the State Bar of Texas) General questions regarding attorney discipline should be directed to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office, toll-free (877) 953-5535 or  (512) 453-5535. The Board of Disciplinary Appeals may be reached at (512) 475-1578. Information and copies of actual orders are available at www.txboda.org. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct may be contacted toll-free, (877) 228-5750 or (512) 463-5533. Please note that persons disciplined by the Commission on Judicial Conduct are not necessarily licensed attorneys.

Houston area discipline
BODAOn January 12, 2016, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed an agreed interlocutory order of suspension against Houston attorney Abraham M. Fisch [#07039900], 57. On or about November 25, 2015, by amended judgment, Fisch was convicted in United States of America v. Abraham Moses Fisch, aka Anthony Fisch, Case No. 4:11CR722-001, U.S. District & Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas holding session in Houston of one count of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice; four counts of obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; seven counts of money laundering, aiding and abetting; and five counts of failure to file a tax return—intentional crimes as defined in the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure—and was sentenced to 180 months of incarceration. Upon release from imprisonment, he will be on supervised release for five years. Fisch has appealed his criminal conviction. The board retains jurisdiction to enter a final judgment when the criminal appeal is final. BODA Cause No. 57005.

On February 2, 2016, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed an interlocutory order of suspension against Houston attorney William Topp Maxwell [#24028775], 56. On or about August 11, 2015, by amended judgment, Maxwell was convicted in United States of America v. William Maxwell, Defendant, Case No.1:11-CR-00740, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, of racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and conspiracy to sell or transfer firearms and ammunition to a prohibited person—intentional crimes as defined in the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure—and was sentenced to 240 months of incarceration. Upon release from imprisonment, he will be on supervised release for three years. Maxwell has appealed his criminal conviction. The board retains jurisdiction to enter a final judgment when the criminal appeal is final. BODA Cause No. 56591.

RESIGNATIONOn February 16, 2016, the Supreme Court of Texas accepted the resignation in lieu of discipline of Jose William Vega [#24034826], 50, of Houston. At the time of Vega’s resignation, there were 38 disciplinary proceedings pending, which among them alleged that Vega neglected legal matters entrusted to him, failed to carry out completely the obligations owed to his clients, failed to communicate and failed to keep clients reasonably informed about their legal matters, failed to timely return unearned fees, failed to respond to grievances filed against him, and failed to properly supervise nonlawyer staff. Vega violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.01(b)(2), 1.03(a), 1.03(b), 1.15(d), 5.03(a), 5.03(b), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $27,133 in restitution and $11,357 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

SUSPENSIONS
On January 26, 2016, Bretton Craig Gerard [#07813050], 56, of Richardson, received a two-year fully probated suspension effective February 1, 2016. In February 2013, the complainant requested representation in a bankruptcy matter and gave property to Gerard to hold toward a retainer. Thereafter, Gerard failed to hold the property separate from his own property. Gerard failed to deliver the property to the complainant upon request and failed to promptly render a full accounting of the property.  Gerard violated Rules 1.14(a) and 1.14(b). He was ordered to pay $9,800 in restitution and $3,570 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On March 10, 2016, Kevin M. Hall [#24041041], 45, of Houston, accepted a one-year fully probated suspension effective March 15, 2016. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Hall neglected a legal matter, failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of her case, and failed to promptly comply with his client’s reasonable requests for information. Upon the termination of his representation, Hall failed to surrender papers and property to which his client was entitled and failed to timely respond to the grievance. Hall violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $1,500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On March 11, 2016, Kevin M. Hall [#24041041], 45, of Houston, accepted a one-year fully probated suspension effective March 15, 2016. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Hall neglected a legal matter, failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of his case, and failed to promptly comply with his client’s reasonable requests for information. Hall further failed to timely respond to the grievance. Hall violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On November 24, 2015, Frank Anthony Knight III [#11598500], 63, of Baytown, received a 30-month partially probated suspension effective January 1, 2016, with the first six months actively suspended and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that in two matters Knight neglected the legal matters entrusted to him and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from the clients about their legal matters. In one of the matters, Knight failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned and engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. In the other matter, Knight failed to timely furnish to the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. In a third matter, Knight again failed to timely furnish to the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Knight violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), 8.04(a)(3), and 8.04(a)(8).  He was ordered to pay $3,500 in restitution and $1,535 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 20, 2016, Brent M. Wasserstein [#24039234], 40, of Houston, accepted a two-year fully probated suspension effective February 1, 2016. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Wasserstein neglected his client’s case, failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of the case, and failed to promptly comply with his client’s reasonable requests for information. Throughout the representation, Wasserstein engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Wasserstein further failed to timely respond to the grievance. Wasserstein violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 8.04(a)(3), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Elsewhere in the state
JUDICIAL ACTIONS To read the entire public sanctions, go to scjc.texas.gov.
On March 3, 2016, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public warning and order of additional education to Ben E. Brady, justice of the peace of Precinct 3, Place 1 in Maxwell, Caldwell County. Brady violated Canons 2A and 3B(2) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct and Article V, section 1-a(6)A of the Texas Constitution.

On January 28, 2016, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public admonition and order of additional education to Robert “Bobby” Contreras, justice of the peace of Precinct 2, Place 1 in Pharr, Hidalgo County. Contreras violated Canons 2A, 3B(2), and 3B(8) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.

On February 25 2016, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public reprimand and order of additional education to Mike Herrera, 383rd Judicial District Court judge in El Paso, El Paso County. Herrera violated Canons 2A, 2B, 3B(1), 3B(2), and 3B(5) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct and Article V, section 1-a(6)A of the Texas Constitution.

On February 29, 2016, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public warning and order of additional education to Skeet Lee Jones, county judge in Mentone, Loving County. Jones violated Canons 2A and 3B(2) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct and Article V, section 1-a(6)A of the Texas Constitution.

On February 29, 2016, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public reprimand to Bradley Wayne Stringer, former justice of the peace of Precinct 3, Place 1 in Huntington, Angelina County. Stringer violated Canons 2A, 3B(2), and 3B(4) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct and Article V, section 1-a(6)A of the Texas Constitution.

BODAOn January 7, 2016, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals entered an agreed order of indefinite disability suspension against Rique Don Bobbitt [#02534000], 69, of Cameron, in accordance with Part XII of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure and section 8 of the Internal Procedural Rules of the Board of Disciplinary Appeals.  BODA Cause No. 57117.

On January 29, 2016, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed an agreed interlocutory order of suspension against Edinburg attorney Rodrigo Martinez Jr. [#13144200], 59. On or about June 16, 2015, Martinez was convicted in The State of Texas v. Rodrigo Martinez, Jr. Defendant, Cause No. CR-2152-12-G in the 370th District Court of Hidalgo County, of theft of the value of $200,000 or more, a first-degree felony; sentenced to seven years imprisonment; and ordered to pay court costs of $228 as well as $410,000 in restitution. Martinez has appealed his criminal conviction. The board retains jurisdiction to enter a final judgment when the criminal appeal is final. BODA Cause No. 56590.

On February 8, 2016, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals affirmed the judgment of disbarment of Caldwell attorney Charles J. Sebesta Jr. [#17970000], 75, signed on June 11, 2015, by the evidentiary panel of the District 8-2 Grievance Committee in Case No. 201400539. A copy of the opinion issued by the board in this matter may be found at txboda.org. BODA Cause No. 56406.

On February 2, 2016, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals affirmed the judgment of disbarment of St. Louis, Missouri, and Austin attorney Charles Dee Septowski [#18032325], 61, signed on March 3, 2015, by the evidentiary panel of the District 9-03 Grievance Committee in Case No. 201400356. BODA Cause No. 55901.

On February 2, 2016, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed a judgment of suspension against Dallas attorney Mpatanishi Syanaloli Tayari-Garrett [#24073090], 40. Garrett was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law and ineligible to apply for reinstatement for 120 days after the effective date of the order of suspension in a matter styled In re Petition for Disciplinary Action against Mpatanishi Syanaloli Tayari-Garrett, A Minnesota Attorney, Registration No. 342075, 866 N.W.2d 513, for willfully disobeying a court mandate, making a false or misleading statement to a tribunal, and being convicted of willfully disobeying a court mandate. Garrett is suspended from the practice of law in Texas for 120 days, from February 8, 2016, to June 7, 2016. BODA Cause No. 56589.

DISBARMENTOn January 14, 2016, Raul H. Loya [#00791142], 51, of Dallas, was disbarred. In a trial before a jury of 12 duly qualified and selected jurors in the 134th Judicial District Court of Dallas County, the jury found that Loya committed professional misconduct in violation of Rules 1.15(a)(3) and 3.03(a)(1) of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.  Loya was ordered to pay $10,525.12 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.  Loya had until February 13, 2016, to file an appeal.

RESIGNATIONSOn March 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of Texas accepted the resignation in lieu of discipline of Carrie Beth Crisp [#24074093], 34, of San Marcos. At the time of her resignation, there was one disciplinary matter pending, alleging Crisp accepted or continued employment beyond her competence, continued the representation when her own interest adversely limited her ability to represent her client, neglected the client matter and made false statements to the client about the work that had been performed, and failed to return the client file. Crisp violated Rules 1.01(a), 1.01(b)(1), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(3).

On March 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of Texas accepted the resignation in lieu of discipline of Jennie R. Mathis [#00793647], 57, of Arlington. At the time of Mathis’s resignation, there were two pending matters. In the first matter, in May 2014, the complainant hired Mathis in a family law matter. Mathis neglected the case and failed to communicate. In the second matter, in 2006, the complainant hired Mathis in connection with a divorce. A final divorce decree was signed in 2010. Mathis failed to prepare and file a final order awarding the house to the complainant. Finally, Mathis failed to respond to the notice of complaint.

On March 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of Texas accepted the resignation in lieu of discipline of Anirudh D. Sarwal [#24002895], 42, of Austin. At the time of Sarwal’s resignation, a judgment in a criminal case had been entered in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, wherein Sarwal pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was committed to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for a total term of 57 months and ordered upon release from imprisonment to be on supervised release for a term of two years. Sarwal was further ordered to pay an assessment in the amount of $100 and restitution in the amount of $13,461,604.31. This conviction would subject Sarwal to compulsory discipline.

SUSPENSIONSOn January 11, 2016, Johnnie Lee Almon Jr. [#24043533], 48, of Fort Worth, received a two-year fully probated suspension effective February 1, 2016. In November 2009, complainants hired Almon in a personal injury matter. Almon neglected the legal matter entrusted to him, failed to keep the complainants informed of the status of their case, and engaged in conduct involving misrepresentation.  Almon violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(b), and 8.04(a)(3). He was ordered to pay $950 in restitution and $1,232 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On November 13, 2015, Jose Angel Becerra [#24026790], 41, of Laredo, received a one-year and 15-day partially probated suspension effective November 18, 2015, with the first 15 days actively served and the remainder probated (August 23, 2017, to August 22, 2018). The District 12 Grievance Committee found that Becerra failed to hold client funds separate from his own property, failed to promptly deliver an accounting to his client, failed to return an unearned fee, and failed to respond to the grievance. Becerra violated Rules 1.14(a), 1.14(b), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $39,922.50 in restitution and $12,412 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On November 10, 2015, Garry Philip Cantrell [#00789200], 57, of Dallas, received a two-year active suspension effective November 10, 2015. The 193rd Judicial District Court of Dallas County found that Cantrell violated Rules 1.04(d) [a contingent fee agreement shall be in writing and shall state the method by which the fee is to be determined], 1.14(b) [upon receiving funds or other property in which a client or third person has an interest, a lawyer shall promptly notify the client or third person and promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive], 3.01 [a lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless the lawyer reasonably believes that there is a basis for doing so that is not frivolous], and 4.04(b)(2) [a lawyer shall not present civil charges against a complainant, a witness, or a potential witness in a bar disciplinary proceeding solely to prevent participation by the complainant, witness, or potential witness therein]. Cantrell was ordered to pay $15,211.57 in restitution, $4,821.50 in attorneys’ fees, and $530.45 in direct expenses.

On January 26, 2016, Cynthia Rachelle Wil Cole [#24035579], 42, of Rockwall, agreed to a one-year probated suspension effective February 1, 2016. The District 6 Grievance Committee found that on or about June 1, 2012, Cole filed a civil lawsuit that was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. By filing such suit, Cole brought a proceeding, or asserted an issue therein, that Cole did not reasonably believe had a basis for doing so that was not frivolous. Furthermore, Cole, in the same civil action, failed to comply with orders of the court. Cole’s noncompliance unreasonably increased the costs and burdens of the action and unreasonably delayed resolution of the matter. Cole violated Rules 3.01 and 3.02. She was ordered to pay $1,750 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On December 21, 2015, Angel Ottoniel Cruz [#24048412], 40, of Irving, received a 12-month partially probated suspension effective January 1, 2016, with the first three months actively served and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that in representing the complainant in an immigration matter, Cruz neglected the legal matter entrusted to him by failing to comply with requests for more information for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Cruz failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from the complainant about the status of his immigration matter. Upon termination of representation, Cruz failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned. Cruz failed to timely furnish to the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure and did not in good faith timely assert a privilege or other legal ground for his failure to do so. Cruz violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $600 in restitution and $1,151.50 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On February 18, 2016, Keith F. Ellis [#00790642], 59, of Vidor, received an 18-month partially probated suspension effective March 13, 2016, with the first six months actively suspended and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 3 Grievance Committee found that Ellis neglected a probate matter, failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of the probate matter, and failed to promptly comply with his client’s reasonable requests for information. Upon his termination, the respondent failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned. The respondent also failed to respond to the grievance. Ellis violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $2,500 in restitution and $1,770 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On March 2, 2016, Robert E. Fitzgerald [#07088700], 65, of Dallas, received a five-year partially probated suspension effective February 1, 2016, with the first two years actively suspended and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that in representing the complainant, Fitzgerald neglected the legal matter entrusted to him. Fitzgerald also failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed about the status of her case and promptly comply with her reasonable requests for information. Furthermore, Fitzgerald misrepresented information to the complainant about her case.  Fitzgerald violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), and 8.04(a)(3). He was ordered to pay $1,722.50 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 6, 2016, Robert James Hayes [#24057610], 43, of San Antonio, accepted a three-month fully probated suspension effective March 1, 2016. The District 10 Grievance Committee found that Hayes neglected a client matter, failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, and failed to refund unearned fees. Hayes violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), and 1.15(d). He was ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution and $800 in attorneys’ fees.

On January 14, 2016, Alfred L. Isassi [#24010124], 43, of Kingsville, accepted a four-month fully probated suspension effective February 1, 2016. The District 11 Grievance Committee found that Isassi communicated about the subject matter of the representation with someone represented by counsel. Isassi violated Rule 4.02(a) and was ordered to pay $800 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 21, 2016, Matthew Scott Jones [#24002374], 43, of Austin, accepted a one-year probated suspension effective January 1, 2016. An evidentiary panel of the District 9 Grievance Committee found that the complainant hired Jones in April of 2014 to convert a California corporation into a Texas corporation. The complainant paid Jones $4,600, which included the necessary filing fees. Jones completed the required documents but failed to file them with the Texas secretary of state or with the appropriate California entity. After July of 2014, the complainant was unable to contact Jones to ascertain the status of the matter. Jones failed to complete the work for which the complainant had hired him. Jones did not return either the unearned fees or the filing fees of $671.88 that the complainant paid. Jones violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.14(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(1). He was ordered to pay $2,600 in restitution and $284.17 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On February 21, 2016, Robert M. Jones [#10951000], 71, of Duncanville, received a two-year active suspension effective March 1, 2016. The 68th Judicial District Court of Dallas County found that Jones violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) [prohibiting a lawyer from neglecting a legal matter entrusted to the lawyer], and 1.03(a) [requiring a lawyer to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information]. Jones was ordered to pay $2,494.50 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On March 28, 2016, George Gregory Lake [#24081565], 29, of Marshall, received a 36-month partially probated suspension effective March 23, 2016, with the first 18 months actively suspended and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 1 Grievance Committee found that in representing the complainant in connection with a criminal law matter, Lake neglected the legal matter en-trusted to him by failing to provide legal services. Lake failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed about the status of his criminal matter, failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from the complainant about his criminal matter, and, upon termination of the representation, failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned.  Lake violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution and $1,137.25 in attorneys’ fees.  Lake had until April 27, 2016, to file an appeal.

On February 24, 2016, Douglas Matthew McMaster [#13786020], 53, of Brownsville, accepted a 27-month fully probated suspension effective March 1, 2016. The District 12 Grievance Committee found that McMaster neglected client legal matters, failed to promptly comply with reasonable re-quests for information, and failed to respond to one grievance. McMaster violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), and 8.04(a)(8). He was or-dered to pay $600 in restitution and $1,000 in attorneys’ fees.

On February 9, 2016, Laura Gayle Nelson [#14903550], 56, of Seguin, accepted a one-year fully probated suspension effective February 22, 2016. The District 15 Grievance Committee found that Nelson failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, failed to hold client funds separate from her own property, and engaged in the practice of law while her law license was administratively suspended. Nelson violated Rules 1.03(a), 1.14(a), and 8.04(a)(11). She was ordered to pay $2,537.85 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 20, 2016, Marcus D. Norman [#24007759], 45, of McKinney, received a one-year partially probated suspension effective January 15, 2016, with the first three months actively suspended and the remainder probated. The 417th Judicial District Court of Collin County found that Norman committed professional misconduct by violating Rule 1.03(a) [failed to keep complainant reasonably informed about the status of the case and failed to promptly comply with complainant’s reasonable request for information]. Norman was ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution and $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On February 5, 2016, Amanda Marie Payton [#24079117], 29, of Plano, received a 24-month partially probated suspension, with one month active (February 15, 2016, through March 14, 2016) and 23 months probated (March 15, 2016, through February 14, 2018). An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that Payton engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation.  Payton violated Rule 8.04(a)(3). She was ordered to pay $1,800 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 12, 2016, Benjamin Robert Peppard [#24083647], 31, of Fort Worth, received an 18-month probated suspension effective January 6, 2016. The District 7 Grievance Committee found that, in representing the complainant in a contract dispute, Peppard neglected the legal matter entrusted to him by failing to perform any legal services. Peppard failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed about the status of the contract dispute and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from the complainant about the contract dispute. Upon termination of representation, Peppard failed to surrender papers and property to which the complainant was entitled. Peppard violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), and 1.15(d). He was ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution, $2,525 in attorneys’ fees, and $699.50 in direct expenses.

On January 22, 2016, Harold Brandon Price [#24049263], 44, of Dallas, received a fully probated suspension for a period of six months beginning March 1, 2016. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that Price neglected a legal matter entrusted to him by his client and failed to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of her legal matter and failed to promptly comply with the client’s reasonable requests for information regarding the case.  Price violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) and 1.03(a). He was ordered to pay $3,109.50 in attorneys’ fees and $890.50 in direct expenses.

On January 22, 2016, Kelvin Lernard Roquemore [#24002867], 48, of Dallas, received a 24-month partially probated suspension effective February 1, 2016, with the first six months actively suspended and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that on or about February 3, 2012, the complainant hired Roquemore for representation in a civil matter. Roquemore failed to hold funds belonging to the complainant separate from Roquemore’s own property. Roquemore failed to keep funds that belonged to the complainant in a separate trust account. Upon receiving funds in which the complainant had an interest, Roquemore failed to promptly notify the complainant. Roquemore failed to promptly deliver to the complainant funds that the complainant was entitled to receive.  Roquemore violated Rules 1.14(a), 1.14(b), and 1.14(c). He was ordered to pay $2,287 in restitution, $3,000 in attorneys’ fees, and $483.50 in direct expenses.  Roquemore did not file an appeal.

On December 10, 2015, Brian Wade Rogers [#24041811], 40, of Victoria, received a one-year partially probated suspension effective December 9, 2015, with the first month actively served and the remainder probated. The District 11 Grievance Committee found that Rogers neglected a client matter, failed to keep a client reasonably informed, failed to promptly render a full accounting, failed to return unearned fees, and failed to return the client file. Rogers violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a)(b), 1.14(b), and 1.15(d). He was ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution and $2,132.10 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On December 29, 2015, Kimberly A. Stovall [#19337000], 53, of Dallas, received a 12-month partially probated suspension effective December 20, 2015. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that Stovall failed to hold funds belonging in whole or in part to clients or third persons that were in Stovall’s possession in connection with the representation separate from Stovall’s own property. Stovall had direct supervisory authority over a non-lawyer assistant and failed to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the assistant’s conduct was compatible with the professional obligations of Stovall.  Stovall violated Rules 1.14(a) and 5.03. She was ordered to pay $6,448.50 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On February 10, 2016, Staci Jennifer Strong [#24037564], 43, of Dallas, agreed to 30 months of probated suspension effective March 1, 2016. The District 6 Grievance Committee found that Strong failed to keep funds belonging in whole or in part to the complainant separate from her own property. Upon receiving funds in which the complainant had an interest, Strong failed to promptly notify the complainant. Strong failed to promptly deliver to the complainant funds that the complainant was entitled to receive. Strong engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, de- ceit, or misrepresentation. Strong violated Rules 1.14(a), 1.14(b), and 8.04(a)(3). She was ordered to pay $25,359.67 in restitution and $2,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On December 16, 2015, Roger Mathew Tafel [#19607775], 53, of Euless, received a five-year active suspension effective December 2, 2015. An evidentiary panel of the District 7 Grievance Committee found that the complainant hired Tafel for representation in a personal injury matter. Tafel later represented the complainant in a credit matter. Tafel failed to communicate with the complainant and failed to file a response to the grievance. Tafel violated Rules 1.03(a) and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $1,488 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 11, 2016, Robert J. Truhill [#20254500], 70, of El Paso, accepted a 12-month fully probated suspension effective April 15, 2016. The District 17 Grievance Committee found that Truhill neglected a client matter, failed to keep the client reasonably informed, upon termination failed to return unearned fees, engaged in conduct involving misrepresentation, failed to comply with a prior disciplinary judgment, and failed to respond to the grievance in a timely manner. Truhill violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.03(b), 1.15(d), 8.01(b), 8.04(a)(3), 8.04(a)(7), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution and $1,350 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 6, 2016, Winston N. Udeh [#20369640], 54, of Dallas, agreed to a three-month probated suspension effective January 15, 2016. The District 6 Grievance Committee found that in representing the complainant, Udeh neglected the legal matter entrusted to him, failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed about the status of a matter, and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Upon termination of representation, Udeh failed to refund payments of fees. Udeh failed to timely furnish to the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Udeh did not in good faith timely assert a privilege or other legal ground for his failure to do so. Udeh violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $100 in restitution and $450 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

PUBLIC REPRIMANDSOn February 10, 2016, Michael Andrew Casey [#03958700], 60, of Arlington, received an agreed judgment of public reprimand. An evidentiary panel of the District 7 Grievance Committee found that Casey failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed about the status of his civil matter. Casey violated Rule 1.03(a). He was ordered to pay $713.25 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On February 8, 2016, Kelley Elise Cash [#24001852], 43, of Dallas, received a public reprimand. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that Cash engaged in the practice of law when her right to practice had been administratively suspended for failure to timely pay required fees or assessments. Cash violated Rule 8.04(a)(11). She was ordered to pay $750 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On December 17, 2015, Frank A. Denena II [#00785815], 57, of Franklin, received an agreed judgment of public reprimand. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that in representing the complainant, Denena neglected the legal matter entrusted to him. In addition, Denena failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed about the status of his matter and promptly comply with his reasonable requests for information.  Denena violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) and 1.03(a). He was ordered to pay $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On February 8, 2016, Viney K. Gupta [#00790085], 67, of Orange, California, accepted a public reprimand. An evidentiary panel of the District 9 Grievance Committee found that while representing a client in an immigration case, Gupta failed to properly calendar a final hearing, failed to contact the court for additional information, and failed to attend the final hearing.  Gupta violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) and 8.04(a)(1). She was ordered to pay $6,103.10 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On December 15, 2015, Sandra D. Laurel [#11996800], 51, of San Antonio, accepted a judgment of public reprimand. The District 10 Grievance Committee found that Laurel failed to promptly deliver funds to parties entitled to receive funds and failed to hold the client’s funds separate from her personal property. Laurel violated Rules 1.14(a) and 1.14(b). She was ordered to pay $3,675 in restitution and $800 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.
 
Full Article & Source:
51 Texas Lawyers & Judges Disciplined March-May

4 comments:

Tina said...

Good to see but I bet it's just a drop in the bucket.

Anonymous said...

oh ...please. More education ? suspended for a while? no wonder they feel they can do whatever they want.... go after the ones giving out these slaps on the wrist... they have the power apparently .

Anonymous said...

One of these reprimanded folks IS MY LAWYER! I found this out by accident. No wonder I haven't been able to settle a 2014 car accident case yet. And we are going into 2017! Funny she was referred by the Texas Bas Association. Not enough being done to protect the public from these problem lawyers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other comments. This is upsetting. A lawyer tells you they are going to do something for you, you expect them to do it. Then when you sue them for not doing it, they have to pay court costs??? If they sued me for the same thing, I'd be paying "restitution" & "pain & suffering" & "damages" & whatever else they could get out of me!
My lawyer is on this list. It doesn't surprise me. The last time I finally managed to get in touch with him, he acted like he didn't even remember my case, told me that if I hadn't heard from him about it, "we must've lost", & that if I wanted my file I'd have to wait a while because he wasn't practicing law anymore & all of his files were in storage. Apparently, his wife took him for everything he had in a bad divorce. Well, I understand bad situations. I've been in several - one of those is why I hired him in the first place! But he is still required to fulfill his obligations to me & I have a right to my file in a timely manner!
I decided I would file a grievance so I looked up the info and it said I should call the Client-Attorney Assistance Program first. I did & the person I spoke to was rude & kept trying to find ways to make the problem my fault. She strongly discouraged me to file any type of complaint both indirectly & outright. I just gave up at that point.
It's been very upsetting to me. My lawyer was helping me with a bad faith insurance case for long term disability. We should have been able to win. I'm suspicious that he missed the deadline to file. (He began to be difficult to reach right around the time the 2 year statute of limitations ran out.) That insurance was to be my livelihood since I can no longer teach. I paid into that policy for 15 years & the company denied my claim so I appealed. The company never gave me an answer to the appeal. They just quit communicating. So I called a lawyer that specialized in ERISA & Insurance law. He was wonderful! Until he quit communicating, too. Now where am I going to get my livelihood?