Friday, December 3, 2021

"War"

The Oregon Supreme Court has denied admission to an applicant who had passed the July 2019 bar examination.

The issues center on his candor concerning the circumstances of his discharge from employment in Idaho for an Ohio company.

Following his discharge, applicant complained about the Ohio employer on various websites. In September 2018, one of the employer’s executives, Miller, filed police reports with the City of Columbus, stating that applicant had sent her multiple emails and social media communications, with some causing her to fear for her safety. Based on those reports, applicant was charged in municipal court with two misdemeanors—menacing by stalking (mental distress) and telephonic harassment—with accompanying arrest warrant notices. The employer also obtained a civil restraining order against applicant, apparently related to the same or similar communications. For his part, by this time living in Oregon, applicant grew concerned about certain conduct directed toward him in Oregon that he thought that the employer or its attorney had instigated, and he reported at least one such incident to local law enforcement.

When admitting authorities sought further information about these circumstances

Over the next two days...applicant engaged in a series of email exchanges with both Hansen and the Bar’s admissions manager, Wood, in which applicant became increasingly resistant, pejorative, and hostile. For example, he asserted that Hansen’s requests for information were unwarranted and inappropriate, stated that he did not need to comply, and suggested that Hansen had a conflict of interest. Eventually, after Wood repeated the requests and also reminded applicant that his communications with the board and admissions staff were relevant to the board’s character and fitness determination, applicant provided some additional information.

He made disclosures but when reminded of his duty to cooperate

Applicant immediately responded by vaguely comparing admissions staff’s “unrealistic requests” to “ ‘war’ ” and asserting that he would “stand firm on [his] rights and how [he would] be treated.”

The following day, in an email entitled, “RE: The ‘investigation’ created by * * * Wood and * * * Hansen,” applicant sent Wood some additional information and copies of documents relating to the Ohio employer. Applicant added that he had been the victim of criminal conduct perpetrated by the employer; that he had been stalked and harassed; and that he should have obtained a restraining order him-self. The attachments included a May 2018 letter from applicant to the United States Attorney’s Office in Dayton, reporting fraud and other misconduct by the employer and certain employees, and three letters that applicant had sent to attorneys for either the employer or Miller, or both, reporting that Miller had broken laws and directed others to stalk and harass him.

Through a public records request, admissions staff confirmed the September 2018 Ohio criminal charges against applicant—as noted, menacing by stalking (mental distress) and telecommunications harassment—with indicators that both were in “closed” status. By November 2019, staff obtained more detailed records, showing allegations from Miller that, since May 2018, applicant had sent her more than 50 harassing emails and social media communications, with the nature of some communications causing her to fear for her safety.

The court

In short, applicant’s omissions from his 2019 application justified further inquiry, RFA 1.30(c), and his incomplete and inconsistent responses during the board’s ensuing investigation, as discussed further below, continued to demonstrate a lack of good character.

...On de novo review of the record and materials that the parties have provided, we conclude that applicant has not established by clear and convincing evidence that he has the requisite good character to practice law, as required by ORS 9.220(2)(a). See also Taylor, 293 Or at 296 (“Reviewing the record, we are left with the impression that [the] applicant fails to appreciate the gravity of his conduct as it pertains
 to his moral character [and] that [he] did not fully accept responsibility for his actions.”). We therefore agree with the board’s adverse recommendation and deny his application.
 
(Mike Frisch)

 

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2021/12/the-oregon-supreme-court-has-denied-admission-to-an-applicant-who-had-passed-the-2019-bar-examination-the-issues-center-on.html

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