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Bar Counsel Report: May 2014

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bar counsel report
May 2014
36 Nevada Lawyer May 2014
SUPREME COURT OF NEVADA
In re: Ramon Dy-Ragos
Bar No.: 10343
Docket Nos.: 62094 & 63884
Filed: April 4, 2014
ORDER DENYING MOTION AND APPROVING
CONDITIONAL GUILTY PLEA AGREEMENT
Attorney suspended for one year retroactive to January
25, 2013, with conditions on reinstatement.
Docket No. 63884 is an automatic review of a
conditional guilty plea agreement under SCR 113,
involving attorney Ramon Dy-Ragos. A Southern
Nevada Disciplinary Board hearing panel recommended
approval of the agreement. In this agreement, Dy-Ragos
pleaded guilty to violating RPC 1.1 (competence), RPC
1.2 (scope of representation and allocation of authority
between client and lawyer), RPC 1.3 (diligence), RPC 1.4
(communication), RPC 1.5 (fees), RPC 1.15 (safekeeping
property), RPC 5.3 (responsibilities regarding nonlawyer
assistants), RPC 5.4 (professional independence of a
lawyer), RPC 5.5 (unauthorized practice of law) and RPC
8.4(b) (misconduct: commit a criminal act that refects
adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or
ftness as a lawyer).
In exchange for his conditional guilty plea, Dy-Ragos
agreed to a stated form of discipline with the state bar,
which included a one-year suspension, retroactive to
the date of his temporary suspension in January 2013.
1
The parties stipulated that upon his reinstatement, if any,
Dy-Ragos would be placed on a two-year probationary
period. Conditions of the probation include:
1. Dy-Ragos is prohibited from engaging in the solo
practice of law or managing a law practice;
2. Dy-Ragos shall promptly and completely respond
to any grievances fled against him or any requests
for information from the state bar;
3. Dy-Ragos shall not engage in professional
misconduct that results in the imposition of
disciplinary sanctions;
4. Dy-Ragos must contact and work with a mentor,
approved by the state bar, to assist and guide
him in monitoring his trust account and law
offce management. This mentor will provide
quarterly reports to the state bar with updates
as to Dy-Ragos’s practice, including his trust
accounts, operating accounts, case load and client
communication;
5. During the frst two years of reinstatement, Dy-
Ragos will complete an additional six CLE credits
in trust account management and/or law offce
management as approved by the state bar, in
addition to the twelve mandatory CLE credits
required each year; and
6. Dy-Ragos shall pay all costs of the disciplinary
proceeding (excluding staff salaries) in accordance
with SCR 120.
Having reviewed the record of the disciplinary
proceedings and the attached exhibits, we accept the
conditional guilty plea agreement. See SCR 113(1); In re
Kenick, 100 Nev. 273, 680 P.2d 972 (1984). Accordingly,
Dy-Ragos is suspended for one year, retroactive to
January 25, 2013.
2
Dy-Ragos shall comply with SCR 116
upon petitioning for reinstatement. Upon reinstatement,
if any, a two-year probationary period will be imposed
with the conditions detailed above. Finally, we note that
Dy-Ragos is currently suspended for failure to meet his
yearly continuing legal education requirements. See In re
Ed. of Continuing Legal Educ., Docket No. 61517 (Order
Dismissing Petition as to Certain Respondent Attorneys
and Granting Petition as. to Certain Respondent Attorneys,
December 28, 2012). Accordingly, Dy-Ragos must
become current with this administrative requirement before
he is reinstated to the practice of law. See SCR 213. The
parties shall comply with the applicable provisions of SCR
115 and SCR 121.1.
It is so ORDERED.
In re: John Shadek
Bar No.: 1513
Docket No.: 64459
Filed: February 27, 2014
ORDER OF TRANSFER TO DISABILITY INACTIVE
STATUS AND REFERRAL FOR EXAMINATION
BY QUALIFIED MEDICAL EXPERT
Attorney transferred to disability inactive status.
Attorney John Shadek has petitioned this court for
an order transferring him to disability inactive status.
The State Bar of Nevada did not join in this petition,
and instead opposed Shadek’s request. Shadek is
continued on page 38
May 2014 Nevada Lawyer 37
bar counsel report
May 2014
the subject of a separate disciplinary matter wherein a
hearing was held before a disciplinary panel, resulting in
a recommendation that Shadek be disbarred. Because of
the recommendation of disbarment, the matter is currently
before this court for de novo review. See SCR 105(3)(b);
In re Discipline of John Shadek, Docket No. 64280.
In circumstances where an attorney contends that
he or she is suffering from a mental or physical disability,
but the state bar does not join in the petition, SCR 117(3)
is controlling. Pursuant to that rule, where an attorney
notifes this court that he or she is suffering from a physical
or mental disability which makes it impossible to defend
against pending disciplinary proceedings, this court “shall”
enter an order transferring him or her to disability inactive
status until the attorney’s capacity to practice law is
determined. Id. (emphasis added).
Bar Counsel argues that this court should dispense
with SCR 117(3)’s mandate because Shadek’s disciplinary
proceeding is not pending; that is, because the hearing
has been held and a recommendation made, the
proceeding is technically complete. He further argues
that Shadek’s petition is a disingenuous stall tactic, since
Shadek already participated in his own defense and only
made this petition once he realized the hearing panel’s
recommendation was disbarment.
Resolution of this petition requires analyzing the
plain language of the rule. See Morrow v. Eighth Judicial
Dist. Court, 129 Nev. __ , _, 294 P.3d 411, 414 (2013)
(“When a rule is clear on its face, [this court] will not
look beyond the rule’s plain language.”) The frst part of
the rule states that it is applicable “during the course of
a disciplinary proceeding.” SCR 117(3). We conclude
that the disciplinary proceeding, in this instance, is not
complete until this court has issued an order or opinion.
See SCR 105(3)(b) (“a decision [of a disciplinary panel]
recommending ... disbarment shall be automatically
reviewed by the Supreme Court”); In re Kenick, 100 Nev.
273, 275, 680 P.2d 972, 974 (1984) (stating that only the
Supreme Court can enter an order of disbarment); cf. SCR
99(1) (“Every attorney admitted to practice law in Nevada
... is subject to the exclusive disciplinary jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court.”)
Therefore, the plain language of SCR 117(3)
mandates that this court transfer Shadek to disability
inactive status until his capacity to practice law is
assessed by a mental health professional or physician.
SCR 117(2),(3).
Accordingly, Shadek is transferred to disability inactive
status pending further order of this court. In light of this
order, any pending disciplinary proceedings against
Shadek, including the matter currently pending in Docket
No. 64280, are suspended. Within 30 days from the date
of this order, Shadek shall submit to examination by a
Nevada licensed medical expert for determination of his
capacity to continue to practice law. Shadek shall fle with
this court a report of the medical expert’s fndings within 40
days from the date of this order.
Per SCR 117(7), Shadek shall comply with the
requirements of SCR 115. Further, the state bar shall
effect notice of this order as required under SCR 121.1.
Bar Counsel shall provide this court with proof that notice
has been served.
It is so ORDERED.
PICKERING, J., with whom SAITTA, J., agrees,
dissenting:
I respectfully disagree with the majority’s decision
to transfer Shadek to disability inactive status and to
refer him for examination by a qualifed medical expert.
Although the language of SCR 11 7 may contemplate
such a procedure, in my view, Shadek has already availed
himself of that procedure and has failed to carry his burden
as required under SCR 117(5).
Where, during the course of a disciplinary proceeding,
an attorney fles a petition seeking to be transferred to
disability inactive status due to the attorney’s contention
that he or she suffers from a mental or physical infrmity
that makes it “impossible for the attorney to adequately
defend the disciplinary proceeding,” this court “may take
or direct such action as it deems necessary to determine
whether the attorney is incapacitated, including referral
of the matter to the appropriate disciplinary board for
hearing and recommendation by a hearing panel or the
examination of the attorney by qualifed medical experts.”
SCR 117(2),(3). “In a proceeding for transfer to disability
inactive status ..., the burden of proof rests with the
petitioner.” SCR 117(5).
Shadek was examined on January 14, 2013, at The
Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center by Dr. Grace
Liang. Dr. Liang’s medical evaluation notes that Shadek
presented with “alert language fuency and comprehension
intact,” and that Shadek reported no problems in regard
to his cognitive ability. Although Shadek had already
been examined by Dr. Liang, he chose not to present
any evidence of his alleged incapacity at his disciplinary
hearing in August 2013. In fact, Shadek failed to appear at
his disciplinary hearing, citing a pending criminal complaint
fled against him.
Shadek has been examined by a qualifed medical
expert and been afforded the opportunity to appear before
a hearing panel. Nonetheless, he has failed to prove that
he suffers from a mental or physical infrmity that makes
it impossible for him to adequately defend his pending
disciplinary matter. The majority’s order unnecessarily
provides Shadek with a second opportunity to carry his
burden. For these reasons, I would deny Shadek’s petition
bar counsel report
May 2014
38 Nevada Lawyer May 2014
to be transferred to disability inactive status and deny
his motion for an immediate stay of the disciplinary
proceedings in Docket No. 64280.
Pickering, J.
I concur: Saitta, J.
NORTHERN NEVADA
DISCIPLINARY BOARD
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
In re: Kent Hanson
Bar No.: 3729
File Nos.: N08-39-906, NG09-38-906,
N10-09-906, N10-10-906
Filed: April 1, 2014
Public Reprimand imposed on Attorney for practicing
law while on administrative suspension.
TO: Kent B. Hanson, Esq.
316 California Ave. #245
Reno NV 89509
On April 24, 2007, you received a Public
Reprimand for ethical violations related to the
representation of Ken Bleak and his mother in
connection with a real estate dispute. As part of a
Conditional Guilty Plea, you were ordered to refund
$876.39 to a former client and to reimburse the state
bar for costs of the disciplinary matter.
In November 2008, because you had not made
the payments as required, the state bar opened
a grievance fle, N08-39-906, and you were so
informed in a letter dated November 20, 2008. You
subsequently corresponded with the state bar and
promised that payment to your former client would be
forthcoming within one week. On December 11, 2008,
you remitted payment as promised. In a letter to the
state bar, you said that your intention was to pay the
state bar by the end of the year. However, you did not
pay the costs of the prior disciplinary matter until April
15, 2009.
On or about June 18, 2008, the state bar
suspended your license to practice law for failure
to pay mandatory state bar fees. You remained
suspended until January 27, 2010, when your license
to practice law was restored to active status for
payment of the requisite fees.
On February 19, 2009, the state bar fled a complaint
based on the following facts:
1. In January 2008, Eric Grich hired you in to pursue an
insurance claim involving Farmers Insurance Group.
Grich signed a contingency fee agreement with you
in which you requested a purportedly non-refundable
retainer of $2,000, which would be credited against
your portion of the recovery if a recovery occurred.
Thereafter, you contacted Farmers by letter on at
least three occasions. You performed work on behalf
of Grich despite being suspended later that year.
Grich terminated your services in July 2009, citing
lack of communication which you acknowledged at
the Formal Hearing.
2. Reno attorney Brent Harsh represented the
defendant in Lero Enterprises vs. Walker, a civil
matter fled in October 2009, in the Second Judicial
District Court. You represented John Langon,
president of Lero Enterprises. You were hired by
Langon in or about June 2009, and prepared, signed
and fled pleadings and papers while your license to
practice law in Nevada was fee suspended. Langdon
paid you fees totaling of $7,006. All payments were
made during the time in which your law license was
suspended.
3. You also prepared, signed and fled a complaint in
Sparks Justice Court on October 1, 2009. A Default
was granted in this matter on November 13, 2009.
In an order fled on March 25, 2010, Sparks Justice
Court Judge Susan Deriso granted a defense motion
for sanctions and attorney fees, thereby ordering you
to personally pay the defendants in that matter a total
of $4,295.04 within 90 days.
4. Reno attorney Robert Dickey represented Richard
and Lavonne Colon in a quiet title action fled on
February 19, 2009, in the Second Judicial District
Court. Dickey informed the state bar that you
represented the defendants/counterclaimants in the
same action. In fact, you participated in negotiations
which had led to a settlement. The parties ultimately
settled their matter and documents to dismiss
the matter were signed in December 2009. In the
Stipulation and Order to Dismiss of December 21,
2009, you signed an acknowledgment that you had
prepared the pleading. Finally, on January 5, 2010,
you signed a Notice of Entry of Order which was fled
in court on the same day.
5. Burt Budd Longworth was arrested after an October
21, 2009, incident which included allegations of
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.
DISCIPLINE KEY
bar counsel report
May 2014
domestic battery, child endangerment and
interrupting a 911 call for assistance. You
represented Longworth in his criminal matter. On
or about December 31, 2009, Longworth agreed
to waive his preliminary hearing in justice court
as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors.
On or about January 13, 2010, Longworth plead
guilty to one count of intercepting, interrupting or delaying
a telephone call, a gross misdemeanor. You signed
the plea agreement as Longworth’s counsel. After the
Longworth matter had apparently left their jurisdiction,
personnel from Sparks Justice Court informed the state
bar that they had recently been advised that you were
suspended from the practice of law. The court provided
information regarding Longworth’s matter and the civil
matter, discussed above, which already had been
reported to the state bar by Harsh.
In light of the foregoing, you have violated
Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.4
(Communication), RPC 3.4(c) (Fairness of Opposing
Party and Counsel: Knowingly disobeying an obligation
under the rules of a tribunal), RPC 5.5 (Unauthorized
Practice of Law) and RPC 8.1 (b) (Bar Admission
and Disciplinary Matters) and are hereby PUBLICLY
REPRIMANDED.
1. On January 25, 2013, in Docket No. 62094, this court entered
an order temporarily suspending Dy-Ragos from the practice of
law, based on his conviction of a serious crime as provided for
in SCR 111(1), (6)-(8). See In re Discipline of Dy-Ragos, Docket
No. 62094 (Order of Temporary Suspension and Referral to
Disciplinary Board, January 25, 2013). The conduct that was the
subject of the conviction was also the subject of one of the state
bar’s complaints against Dy-Ragos and was considered by both
parties in reaching the proposed guilty plea agreement and by
the disciplinary panel in recommending approval of the guilty plea
agreement in Docket No. 63884.
2. Based on this court’s approval of the conditional guilty plea
agreement in Docket No. 63884, Dy-Ragos’s Motion to
Reconsider and/or to Set Aside SCR 111 Temporary Suspension
currently pending in Docket No. 62094 is denied as moot, and
Docket No. 62094 is closed.
May 2014 Nevada Lawyer 39

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