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Bar Counsel Report: December 2012

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bar counsel report
December 2012
SUPREME COURT OF NEVADA
In re: Bar No.: Docket No.: Filed: Richard Salas 6480 58280 October 23, 2012
ORDER OF SUSPENSION
Attorney suspended from the practice of law for three years after California conviction of perjury under oath and workers’ compensation insurance fraud. This is an automatic appeal from a decision of a hearing panel of the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board, recommending that attorney Richard Salas be suspended from the practice of law in Nevada, subject to conditions. See SCR 105(3)(b). On July 26, 2010, this court entered an order temporarily suspending Salas from the practice of law pursuant to SCR 111. In re Discipline of Salas, Docket No. 56167 (Order of Temporary Suspension and Referral to Disciplinary Board, July 26, 2010). We concluded that documents tendered by Bar Counsel conclusively demonstrated that Salas had been convicted in California, pursuant to a plea of nolo contendere, of one count of perjury under oath, a felony under California Penal Code § 118(a); and one count of workers’ compensation insurance fraud, a felony under California Insurance Code § 18744(a)(l), both serious crimes warranting a temporary suspension under SCR 111. Accordingly, we temporarily suspended Salas from the practice of law and referred this matter to the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board for the initiation of formal disciplinary proceedings, in which the sole issue to be determined was the extent of discipline to be imposed. See SCR 111(7). (8). In the criminal case, Salas was sentenced to 120 days in Los Angeles County Jail. Salas was also placed on probation for a period of five years and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $100,000 to the victim insurance company, of which $25,000 had been remitted at the time of sentencing. Subsequently, Bar Counsel filed a formal complaint charging Salas with violating RPC 8.4(b) (misconduct: committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer) and RPC 8.4(c) (misconduct: engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation). Salas filed an answer in which he admitted to all of the allegations in the complaint. A disciplinary hearing, at which Salas testified, took place. The panel submitted a recommendation that Salas be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three years, retroactive to July 26, 2010, the date that Salas’ temporary suspension commenced. The panel further recommended that Salas be required to fulfill all of the conditions of his California probation before being allowed to petition for reinstatement; that he obtain 10 continuing legal education ethics credit hours prior to reinstatement; that, if reinstated, he be required to participate in a mentorship program, approved by Bar Counsel, for one year following reinstatement; and that Salas be required to pay the cost of the disciplinary proceedings. Neither Salas nor the state bar contest the panel’s recommendation. Having reviewed the record of the proceedings, we approve the findings and recommendations of the disciplinary
panel. Accordingly, Salas is suspended from the practice of law for three years from July 26, 2010, the effective date of his temporary suspension. Prior to petitioning for reinstatement, pursuant to SCR 116, Salas shall provide the state bar with proof that he has fulfilled all of the requirements of his California probation and that he has obtained ten continuing legal education ethics hours If reinstated, Salas will be required to participate in a mentorship program, approved by bar counsel, for one year following his reinstatement. Salas shall also pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding, pursuant to SCR 120, within 30 days of receipt of the state bar’s bill of costs. Finally, Salas and the state bar must comply with the applicable provisions of SCR 115 and 121.1. It is so ORDERED.
In re: Bar No.: Docket No.: Filed:
David C. Schubert 7900 59979 September 19, 2012
ORDER OF TEMPORARY SUSPENSION AND REFERRAL TO DISCIPLINARY BOARD
Attorney temporarily suspended from the practice of law after conviction of serious crime pursuant to SCR 111. Bar Counsel for the State Bar of Nevada has petitioned this court, pursuant to SCR 111, to enter an order temporarily suspending attorney David C. Schubert from the practice of law and referring him to the appropriate board for discipline. The petition is supported by certified copies of documents indicating that on September 7, 2011, Schubert entered a plea of guilty to the charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance not for the purpose of sale (first offense) in violation of NRS 453.336(1) and (2)(a), a felony.1 Schubert has filed a response to the petition. Pursuant to SCR 111, temporary suspension and referral to the appropriate disciplinary board are mandatory when an attorney has been convicted of a ‘serious’ crime, which includes a felony. SCR 111 (6)-(8). Having reviewed the petition and the supporting documentation submitted by bar counsel, we conclude that the petition conclusively establishes Schubert’s conviction of a serious crime. Accordingly, we temporarily suspend Schubert from the practice of law and refer this matter to the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board for the initiation of formal disciplinary proceedings in which the sole issue to be determined is the extent of discipline to be imposed. See SCR 111(7), (8). It is so ORDERED.
In re: Bar No.: Docket No.: Filed:
Jeffrey B. Ferguson 6292 59668 September 19, 2012
ORDER OF TRANSFER TO DISABILITY INACTIVE STATUS
Attorney transferred to disability inactive status and all disciplinary proceedings are suspended. Counsel for the State Bar of Nevada and attorney Jeffrey B. Ferguson have jointly petitioned this court for an order
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bar counsel report
December 2012 transferring Ferguson to disability inactive status. Ferguson and his counsel have signed the joint petition. The parties have stipulated that Ferguson is presently incapacitated under the terms of SCR 117 from continuing to practice law. Having reviewed the petition and its attachments, we conclude that the relief requested in the joint petition is warranted under the circumstances. Accordingly, Jeffrey B. Ferguson is transferred to disability inactive status. Ferguson may resume the active practice of law only after he has complied with SCR 117(4) and (5). In light of this order, any pending disciplinary proceedings against Ferguson are suspended. The state bar shall effect notice of this order as required under SCR121.1. Bar counsel shall provide this court with proof that this notice has been served. It is so ORDERED. former clients for fees paid in advance and not earned. He was ordered to provide proof to the California State Bar Court of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law if he remained suspended for two years or more as a result of not satisfying the proceeding conditions. If he remained suspended for 90 days or more, he was to comply with California Rules of the Court Rule 9.20(a) and (c). Beury was also ordered to comply with the provisions of the California State Bar Act and Rules of Professional Conduct; report any changes of information to the probation office within 10 days; meet with the probation office within 30 days to set up the terms and conditions of probation; submit written quarterly status reports; answer probation office inquiries; attend ethics school; and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. In addition, Beury was ordered to pay the cost of the disciplinary proceedings. Beury failed to notify Nevada bar counsel of this discipline, in violation of SCR 114(1). SCR 114(4) provides that this court shall impose identical reciprocal discipline unless the attorney demonstrates, or this court finds, that one of four exceptions applies. None of the exceptions are present in this case. Accordingly, we grant the petition for reciprocal discipline. Beury is hereby suspended from the practice of law for one year; the suspension is stayed and he is placed on probation for three years. However, Beury shall be suspended from the practice of law for a minimum of the first 60 days of the suspension and until the conditions enumerated in the order of the California Supreme Court dated July 27, 2011, are satisfied. Within 30 days from the date of this order, Beury shall provide a report to Bar Counsel of his compliance with the conditions of probation imposed upon him in California. Failure to do so constitutes a violation of probation and could subject Beury to further discipline. Beury and the State Bar of Nevada shall comply with SCR 115 and SCR 121.1. It is so ORDERED.
In re: Bar No.: Docket No.: Filed:
Donald. D. Beury 151 59553 October 23, 2012
ORDER IMPOSING RECIPROCAL DISCIPLINE
Reciprocal disciplined entered after attorney was suspended from the practice of law in California for 11 counts of professional misconduct. This is a petition under SCR 114 to reciprocally discipline attorney Donald D. Beury, based on discipline imposed upon him in California. Beury did not file a response to the petition. Beury engaged in 11 counts of professional misconduct, involving several clients, in four different cases. Beury and California bar counsel stipulated that, by failing to complete a guardianship on behalf of his clients, failing to abide by his client’s instructions regarding communication to opposing counsel, failing to timely follow a court’s orders and failing to file a response to a divorce petition, all in separate cases, Beury violated California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-110(A). Beury also failed to obtain the informed written consent of a potential conflict of interest from two clients, in violation of California Rule of Professional Conduct 3310C)(1); refused to refund any part of fees paid in advance that were not earned, in violation of California Rule of Professional Conduct 3700(D)(2) (two counts); violated his duty of loyalty to a client by attempting to renegotiate a settlement to his own personal advantage, in violation of California Business and Professions Code § 6068(a); disclosed confidential information in pleadings, in violation of California Business and Professions Code § 6068(e); represented to his client that certain court filings had been filed when in fact they had not, in violation of California Business and Professions Code § 6068(m); and failed to timely comply with a court order, in violation of California Business and Professions Code § 6103.2 On July 27, 2011, the California Supreme Court approved the parties’ stipulation that Beury receive a oneyear stayed suspension and placed him on probation for three years, subject to conditions that Beury be suspended from practicing law for a minimum of the first 60 days of probation, and remain suspended until he paid restitution to two of his
In re: Bar No.: Docket No.: Filed:
Brian Malcolm Keith 4110 58366 October 23, 2012
ORDER OF REINSTATEMENT
Attorney reinstated to the practice of law after two-year suspension. This is a petition for reinstatement to the practice of law by suspended attorney Brian M. Keith. On March 5, 2008, this court suspended Keith from the practice of law for two years, retroactive to May 9, 2006. In re Discipline of Brian Keith, Docket No. 50524 (Order of Suspension, March 5, 2008). On January 25, 2011, Keith filed with the state bar a petition for reinstatement pursuant to SCR 116. On March 16, 2011, a hearing was held before a Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board reinstatement hearing panel, which issued its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation on May 4, 2011. The panel found that Keith had complied with the prior disciplinary panel’s recommendations, and concluded that he continued on page 44
December 2012 Nevada Lawyer
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December 2012 had demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that he has the moral qualifications, competency and learning in law required for admission to practice law, and that his resumption of the practice of law will not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the bar, to the administration of justice or to the public interest. The panel recommended that Keith’s petition be granted, subject to conditions that Keith: 1. Be enrolled in a mentoring program that shall be administered and approved by the Office of Bar Counsel for a period of two years; 2. Maintain a breath ignition interlock device on his vehicle and provide proof thereof to the Office of Bar Counsel for two years after being reinstated to the practice of law, and 3. Attend five Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week and provide proof of such attendance to the Office of Bar Counsel. Further, Keith shall pay the costs of the reinstatement proceedings within 30 days of receipt of the state bar’s billing. SCR 116(2) requires that an attorney seeking reinstatement must: Demonstrate[e] by clear and convincing evidence that he or she has the moral qualifications, competency and learning in law required for admission to practice law in this state, and that his or her resumption of the practice of law will not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the bar, to the administration of justice, or to the public interest. Having reviewed the record, we conclude that clear and convincing evidence supports the panel’s findings and conclusions. We therefore approve the panel’s recommendation that the petition be granted subject to conditions. Accordingly, Brian M. Keith is hereby reinstated to the practice of law, subject to the conditions set forth above, including payment of the cost of the proceedings. It is so ORDERED.
DISCIPLINE KEY
Resignation with charges pending: SCR 98(5)(b) Types of possible discipline listed generally: SCR 102 Attorneys convicted of crimes: SCR 111 Conditional guilty plea agreements (discipline by consent): SCR 113 Reciprocal discipline: SCR 114 Disbarred/Suspended attorneys: SCR 115 Reinstatement: SCR 116 Disability Inactive: SCR 117 Supreme Court Rules (SCRs): www.leg.state.nv.us/CourtRules/SCR.html
DISBARMENT – License to practice revoked. SUSPENSION – License suspended for a time certain, ineligible to practice. More than six months requires petition for reinstatement and court order. DISABILITY INACTIVE – Ineligible to practice until further order of the court. In the interim, disciplinary proceedings held in abeyance. INTERIM TEMPORARY SUSPENSION – Interim suspension based on showing of a substantial threat of serious harm to the public, in effect until further court order, usually after hearing. RESIGNATION WITH CHARGES PENDING – Ineligible to practice. Requires Bar Counsel approval. Resignation is irrevocable, with readmission only possible upon application as a new admittee. PUBLIC REPRIMAND – Misconduct found and public censure issued, including attorney’s name and the underlying facts and charges. Published in Nevada Lawyer and made available to the press. Remains eligible to practice law. LETTER OF REPRIMAND – Lowest level of discipline. Not published, but disclosed upon request under the new rules. May also include up to a $1,000 fine and restitution. Remains eligible to practice. ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSION – Attorneys may be administratively suspended for failure to pay bar fees (SCR 98(12)), and/or for failure to complete and report the required Continuing Legal Education hours (SCR 212). While these are not disciplinary suspensions, the attorney is ineligible to practice law until the deficiency is remedied and the procedures to transfer back to active status completed as set forth in the applicable rules.
1. For purposes of SCR 111, Schubert’s guilty plea qualifies as a “conviction” regardless of whether or not he has received a signed judgment of conviction. SCR 111(1). Schubert failed to inform bar counsel of the conviction as required by SCR 111(2). 2. Nevada’s counterparts are RPC 1.1 (competence); RPC 1.4 (communication); RPC 1.6 (confidentiality of information); RPC 1.7(conflict of interest: current clients): RPC 1.16 (declining or terminating representation); RPC 3.4(c) (fairness to opposing party and counsel); RPC 8.4 (misconduct): and SCR 73 (attorney’s oath).
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