Friday, December 22, 2017
Omissions in an attorney's application to bankruptcy court led to an agreed public reprimand with terms by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board
On March 23, 2015, Respondent submitted an Application to Qualify as an Attorney for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the ·Eastern District of Virginia, ("Application"). The Application was dated March 20, 2015. The Application came before the Honorable Kevin R. Huennekens.
On the Application, Respondent certified to the Court that he had not "been reprimanded in any court nor [had] there been any action in any court pertaining to [his]conduct or fitness as a member of the bar." He swore (or affirmed) under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing [was) true and correct.
On January 30, 2014, Respondent was publicly reprimanded by the Virginia State Bar, ("VSB")...
The judge was aware of the prior reprimand
By Order entered May 11, 2015, after considering Respondent's argument that the VSB is an agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia and not a "court," Judge Huennekens denied the Application "on a final basis." Judge Huennekens found that the certification made by Respondent in his application was materially incorrect, and was both false and misleading. He further found that Respondent's conscious decision to withhold information concerning the Public Reprimand violated the duty of candor that Respondent owed to the court.
Respondent contends that the Public Reprimand issued by the VSB does not constitute a reprimand or action in any court pertaining to his conduct or fitness as a member of the bar and thus did not require disclosure to the bankruptcy court.
Respondent contends that he was candid with the VSB when he admitted in his response to the bar complaint that he had been sanctioned or ordered to pay fees ensuing a discovery hearing on a few occasions over sixteen years of practice. He contends that he did not believe that this level of sanction, including the August 5, 2014 fine issued by Judge Hudson, constitutes a reprimand or action in any court pertaining to his conduct or fitness as a member of the bar, and thus did not require disclosure to the bankruptcy court.
But nonetheless accepted this result. (Mike Frisch)