Saturday, October 6, 2018
The Kentucky Supreme Court has reprimanded an attorney
From September 16, 2015, through January 21, 2016, Malone filed, or served upon opposing counsel, eight documents on his client’s behalf. Malone signed his client’s signature to all eight documents with permission. The signatures on six of the documents were notarized by employees of Malone’s law firm as though his client had signed the documents in the presence of a notary. The notary’s signature and number were executed and affixed by Malone on the two other documents. Malone failed to inform the court or opposing counsel that he had signed his client’s name with permission on the pleadings, that the pleadings were notarized by employees of his law firm, or that two of the eight pleadings contained false notary signatures.
On January 26, 2016, Malone attended a hearing on his client’s behalf. Opposing counsel questioned Malone about how he was able to obtain his client’s signature, since his client had been snowed in due to a storm. Malone then admitted to signing his client’s name on one of the documents because the client could not come to the office due to the snow storm. The next day, Malone self-reported the violations to the Kentucky Bar Association (KBA).
following review of the record and the Trial Commissioner’s recommendation, the Board concluded that Malone had permission to sign his client’s name to the documents; that he did not financially profit from his actions; that there was no harm or substantial prejudice to anyone; that Malone self-reported to the KBA within days of the hearing in family court where the issue was discussed; and that Malone has no previous discipline since his admission to the bar in 2004. The Board voted 19-0 for Malone to receive a public reprimand and, after review of the record, we agree with the recommended punishment.