Thursday, May 17, 2018

Texts To Client Show Too Much

A disbarment has been imposed by an Arizona Hearing Panel.

In Count I, Mr. Lieberman on multiple occasions failed to comply with Superior Court Orders. In Count II, after representing his client in a litigated hearing, Mr. Lieberman failed to file a final order in her case, despite being ordered by the Court to do so and was held in contempt. He later filed a proposed order without discussing the matter with his client. In Count III, Mr. Lieberman was hired to provide representation in a family law case and was paid $5,000. He appeared once and then abandoned his client. In Count IV, he was paid $17,000 to assist a client in appealing child custody orders. During the representation, Mr. Lieberman sent his client a text message in which he asked her: “Would you rather have sex and not pay at all?” He made similar statements to his client over the phone and sent at least one text message containing a picture of his genitalia. Mr. Lieberman also failed to respond to the State Bar’s screening letters, phone calls, and emails.

The last charge

Mr. Lieberman represented Laura Cruz in her family law case (SP20060213). Cruz originally hired Mr. Lieberman in 2015 and paid $17,000 to assist her in appealing child custody orders issued by the court in June of 2015. On June 17, 2016, the Court of Appeals granted Cruz’s appeal. [Ex. 23.]

During the representation, Mr. Lieberman sent Cruz a text message in which he asked her: “Would you rather have sex and not pay at all?” Cruz declined.

Mr. Lieberman made similar statements to Cruz over the phone and sent at least one text message containing a picture of his genitalia. Mr. Lieberman also offered Cruz $500 to see her naked. Because of Mr. Lieberman’s behavior, and her financial inability to hire another attorney, Cruz turned over all communication in her case to her mother. [Ex. 23.]

Mr. Lieberman communicated to Cruz’s mother that he had communicated with the court’s judicial assistant about obtaining a hearing in Cruz’s case to address child support. Cruz, however, contacted the judicial assistant independently and learned that Mr. Lieberman had not engaged in any such communication with the court. [Id.]

Mr. Lieberman failed to inform Cruz of his suspension that began August 25, 2017. Mr. Lieberman has refunded none of Cruz’s attorneys’ fees. [Id.]

He defaulted on the bar charges.

The earlier suspension described in the last paragraph is reported here. 

Attorney Scott Lieberman of Tucson was suspended for three years for engaging in a sexual relationship with his client in one case, lying to the State Bar regarding his sexual history with clients in a second case, and failing to adequately represent a client in a third case.

Lieberman was hired in the first case to represent a client in a divorce matter in the spring of 2007. He engaged in a sexual relationship with the client after being retained for representation.

Lieberman was later investigated by the State Bar for inappropriate sexual comments to clients and third parties. During that investigation, Lieberman falsely denied ever having “a sexual relationship with a client.”

In the third matter, he was retained in 2012 to represent a client in a family law case. A parenting time order was entered by the Pima County Superior Court against his client and she requested he challenge it. His client requested a copy of the motion for reconsideration she presumed he filed, but he failed to provide it as he never filed it with the court. The Bar sent him a screening letter regarding this matter, but he failed to respond.

(Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2018/05/a-disbarment-in-count-i-mr-lieberman-on-multiple-occasions-failed-to-comply-with-superior-court-orders-in-count-ii-after.html

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