July 23, 2007
Disbarment By Default
A South Carolina attorney was disbarred today based on his default on charges of multiple instances of misconduct. He had been convicted of driving without a valid license and DUI. He gave a non-lawyer signatory authority on his operting and trust accounnts, leading to overdrafts and 34 negative balances on the accounts. He failed to pay a court reporter for a deposition transcript that he had ordered. He sent threatening letters that contained false claims. There were two instances of failure to disburse entrusted funds.
One interesting matter involved a process server who was hired to serve papers on his client. On attempted service, the client denied her identity, threw the papers at the process servers, and locked them inside a parking lot. When the attorney arrived, "he used his car to further block the...exit" and refused to move the car until the police arrived.
The South Carolina Supreme Court agreed with findings that the attorney's "conduct indicates an obvious disinterest in the practice of law" as he departed the jurisdiction with knowledge that charges were imminent (and apparently left the United States). The disregard for serious ethics charges made the "sanction of disbarment...more than adequately justified." (Mike Frisch)
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