Thursday, June 30, 2022

A Ninja Warrior Conflict Draws Censure Of Former Attorney General

The Wyoming Supreme Court has publicly censured an attorney admitted in 1978 for an entity clients conflict of interest and filing a frivolous derivative action.

The court dismissed allegations of conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

KPVI 6 reported on the order

The Wyoming Supreme Court today issued an order of public censure of Cheyenne attorney Gay Vanderpoel Woodhouse.

The order stemmed from a disciplinary complaint against Woodhouse that was submitted to the Office of Bar Counsel of the Wyoming State Bar by a Cheyenne couple whose LLC was sued by Woodhouse in 2020.

The lawsuit related to a start-up business that operated a workout facility modeled on the Ninja Warrior television series.

Two LLCs partnered to operate the gym via a third LLC in which the two member LLCs owned equal shares.

Woodhouse sued on behalf of one of the member LLCs seeking various relief against the other member LLC and the LLC that operated the gym.

Although the complaint was styled as something akin to a derivative action, Woodhouse did not comply with statutory prerequisites to bring a derivative action.

The District Court for the First Judicial District (Sharpe, J.) granted opposing counsel’s motion to disqualify Woodhouse based upon a conflict of interest.

Thereafter, Judge Sharpe granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit, holding that Woodhouse’s complaint failed to state a claim because it was not pled in compliance with statutory prerequisites to bring a derivative action.

Once the underlying litigation resolved, the Office of Bar Counsel proceeded with investigation of the disciplinary complaint and concluded that there was clear and convincing evidence that Woodhouse violated Rule 1.7 (concurrent client conflict of interest), Rule 3.1 (asserting a claim lacking factual or legal basis) and Rule 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct.

The matter proceeded to a hearing before the Board of Professional Responsibility, with the hearing panel finding that Woodhouse violated Rule 1.7 and Rule 3.1 but not Rule 8.4(d). The hearing panel submitted a report of its findings to the Wyoming Supreme Court along with a recommendation for issuance of a public censure to Woodhouse.

Lawyers of Distinction notes that she is the first only so far only woman to serve as State Attorney General. (Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2022/06/kvbi-6-reported-the-wyoming-supreme-court-today-issued-an-order-of-public-censure-of-cheyenne-attorney-gay-vanderpoel-woodho.html

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