Wednesday, March 14, 2018
The South Carolina Supreme Court imposed a six-month suspension for misconduct in two matters.
One involved stiffing a court reporter
On approximately seven occasions during February 2005 and October 2007, respondent and his previous law partner retained the services of a court reporter for appearances and depositions. Transcripts of the depositions were ordered by respondent and his law partner and delivered to their law offices, along with an invoice for each transcript. The total amount of the outstanding invoices was approximately $4,040.69. When the invoices remained unpaid, the court reporter filed an action in magistrate's court and obtained a default judgment against respondent and his law partner for the amount of the unpaid invoices plus court costs, for a total of $4,120.69. Respondent failed to pay his portion of the unpaid invoices — $3,279.11. Respondent represents he was initially unaware of the outstanding invoices or of the court reporter's lawsuit and judgment. However, respondent was put on notice of the allegations by ODC on or about March 29, 2012, and he has still failed to pay the outstanding invoices.
The other involved an assignment and authorization
After trial, respondent attempted to negotiate the amount of the neurologist's bill. After closely scrutinizing the neurologist's charges, respondent believed some of the charges had been inflated and some charges were fraudulent. The neurologist eventually filed a lawsuit against respondent and Client B to recover the full amount of his bill. The jury awarded the neurologist $9,054.81.
Respondent failed to disclose to the trial judge in the personal injury action that he had offered material evidence and testimony at trial — in the form of the neurologist's bill and testimony — that he later learned was partially false. In addition, by the time the neurologist's action against respondent and Client B was resolved, respondent had distributed all remaining settlement funds to Client B. Respondent failed to hold the disputed $71,000 in trust pending resolution of the dispute.