Washington Lawyer

Bar Counsel Summaries

From Washington Lawyer, November 2015

Artwork by Mick Wiggins

Disciplinary Actions Taken by the Board on Professional Responsibility

Original Matters

In re Jerome E. Clair. Bar No. 207431. August 3, 2015. The Board on Professional Responsibility recommends that the D.C. Court of Appeals disbar Clair with regard to his representation of clients in two separate matters. The board recommends that the court find that Clair violated Rules 1.15(a), 1.15(c), 3.4(c), 8.4(b), and 8.4(c) in connection with his representation of Jacqueline Mills, the personal representative of the estate of her late mother. The board also recommends that the court find that Clair violated Rules 3.3(a)(1), 3.4(c), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d) in connection with his representation of Marian Anderson and her minor son in a personal injury action against the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority. In addition, the board recommends that Clair should be required to make restitution, with interest, at the legal rate of (1) $51,257.88 ($21,400 plus $29,857.88) to the Estate of Mable Mills;(2) $1,020 to Matthew Goodman, Esq.;and (3) $500 to the registry of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. To the extent that the Clients' Security Trust Fund has paid any monies in these matters or may do so in the future, Clair shall repay the fund, with interest, at the legal rate.

In re H. Franklin Green. Bar No. 475343. August 5, 2015. The Board on Professional Responsibility recommends that the D.C. Court of Appeals disbar Green for committing intentional misappropriation when he mishandled funds in three independent transactions for three unrelated clients. In addition, Green engaged in commingling;a failure to deliver funds;the commission of a criminal act reflecting adversely on honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness;dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation;and serious interference with the administration of justice. Rules 1.15(a), 1.15(c), 8.4(b), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d).

In re Wayne R. Rohde. Bar No. 421213. August 3, 2015. The Board on Professional Responsibility recommends that the D.C. Court of Appeals suspend Rohde for two years with a requirement to prove his fitness to practice as a condition of reinstatement, and that the suspension be stayed in favor of a three-year period of supervised probation, subject to the conditions set forth by Hearing Committee Number Three in its Report and Recommendation. Rohde fled the scene following his head-on collision with another vehicle and, thereafter, pleaded guilty to felony hit and run, in violation of Code of Virginia § 46.2-894. Rule 8.4(b).

Disciplinary Actions Taken by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Original Matters

In re Juan L. Rodriguez-Quesada. Bar No. 487484. August 13, 2015. The D.C. Court of Appeals suspended Rodriguez-Quesada for two years with reinstatement conditioned on fitness and payment of restitution to all affected clients. This case involved Rodriguez-Quesada's representation of multiple clients in four matters wherein he failed to represent his clients competently, failed to communicate with them, neglected their cases, made false statements to the Immigration Court (in one matter), and failed to return unearned fees and/or files upon termination of his representation. Rodriguez-Quesada's misconduct was serious and there was a consistent pattern of neglect in each case. Rodriguez-Quesada did not communicate with his clients, did not explain the issues or the risks, and did not adequately explain his strategy to address their problems. In all four cases, the clients were required to seek assistance from new counsel. Rodriguez-Quesada also was slow to return files and did not return any unearned fees. Rodriguez-Quesada violated Rules 1.1(a) and (b) (lack of competence);1.3(a) and (c) (lack of diligence and promptness);1.3(b)(2) (intentionally prejudicing his client);1.4(a) and (b) (failure to keep his client reasonably informed and to explain a matter to the client);1.16(d) (failure to return files and unearned fees);3.3(a)(1) (making a false statement to a tribunal and failure to correct that statement before the tribunal);8.4(c) (dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation);and 8.4(d) (conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice).

Reciprocal Matters

In re John K. Burkhardt. Bar No. 370517. August 27, 2015. In a reciprocal matter from Maryland, the D.C. Court of Appeals imposed identical reciprocal discipline and disbarred Burkhardt. In consenting to disbarment in Maryland, Burkhardt admitted that he had continued to practice law after a prior order of indefinite suspension, failed to protect client interests, and failed to refund unearned fees.

In re Grason John-Allen Eckel. Bar No. 459296. August 27, 2015. In a reciprocal matter from Maryland, the D.C. Court of Appeals imposed functionally equivalent reciprocal discipline and indefinitely suspended Eckel with fitness, nunc pro tunc to October 2, 2013. Eckel may file for reinstatement after five years or after he is reinstated to practice law in the state of Maryland, whichever occurs first. The Maryland discipline stemmed from Eckel's criminal conviction for assault in the second degree, sexual offense in the fourth degree, and false imprisonment.

In re Sherryl V.R.S. Goffer aka Sherryl Snodgrass Caffey. Bar No. 405100. August 6, 2015. In a reciprocal matter from Alabama, the D.C. Court of Appeals imposed identical reciprocal discipline and disbarred Goffer, effective immediately. The Disciplinary Board of the Alabama State Bar determined that Goffer had engaged in serious misconduct in her representation of a defendant in a criminal case culminating in being found in contempt by the trial court and prompting a mistrial.

In re Anthony McDaniel. Bar No. 976583. August 27, 2015. In a reciprocal matter from Maryland, the D.C. Court of Appeals imposed identical reciprocal discipline and disbarred McDaniel. In consenting to disbarment in Maryland, McDaniel admitted that he had engaged in dishonesty in connection with his used car dealership.

In re Charles A. Price. Bar No. 970848. August 27, 2015. In a reciprocal matter from Virginia, the D.C. Court of Appeals imposed identical reciprocal discipline and suspended Price for three years with reinstatement subject to compliance with the conditions imposed by the state of Virginia. In consenting to discipline in Virginia, Price admitted that he had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, failed to respond to a lawful demand for information from Virginia Bar Counsel, and committed a criminal or deliberately wrongful act that reflected adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice law.

Interim Suspensions Issued by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals

In re Earl A. Smith. Bar No. 392331. August 25, 2015. Smith was suspended on an interim basis based upon discipline imposed in Maryland.

In re Melodie V. Shuler. Bar No. 488686. August 25, 2015. Shuler was suspended on an interim basis based upon discipline imposed in Maryland.

In re James C. Underhill Jr. Bar No. 297762. August 25, 2015. Underhill was suspended on an interim basis based upon discipline imposed in Colorado.

The Office of Bar Counsel compiled the foregoing summaries of disciplinary actions. Informal Admonitions issued by Bar Counsel and Reports and Recommendations issued by the Board on Professional Responsibility are posted at www.dcattorneydiscipline.org. Most board recommendations as to discipline are not final until considered by the court. Court opinions are printed in the Atlantic Reporter and also are available online for decisions issued since August 1998. To obtain a copy of a recent slip opinion, visit .www. dccourts.gov/internet/opinionlocator.jsf

;