Monday, January 30, 2023

A Literal Text

A stipulated 30 month suspension has been approved by the Colorado Presiding Disciplinary Judge

In February 2020, Hicks settled a lawsuit on behalf of his clients. The settlement involved three defendants, and each agreed to pay Hicks’s clients $10,000.00, for a total of $30,000.00. In March 2020, Hicks paid his fee from the first $10,000.00 payment even though he had not yet received the full settlement amount, violating the terms of his fee agreement. By late June 2020, Hicks had received the entire $30,000.00. Due to his insufficient recordkeeping, he believed that only $20,000.00 had been paid. When his clients pressed Hicks for the remaining money, he falsely told them that he was waiting on a final payment from one of the defendants. In March 2021, Hicks moved to enforce the settlement even though the defendants had already paid the settlement in full. Opposing counsel notified Hicks that the settlement was paid but Hicks continued telling his clients that he was waiting on the full settlement to pay them.

Hicks had not reconciled his trust account from June 2020 to November 2021. Had he done so, he would have discovered the “missing” $10,000.00. During that time, the balance in his trust account dipped below what he should have held for his clients.

In another matter, Hicks began representing a client in October 2021 in a civil case against the client’s ex-boyfriend. After the representation began, Hicks and his client developed a sexual relationship. During that time, Hicks and his client exchanged texts in which Hicks called the ex-boyfriend a “literal faggot.” In a subsequent lawsuit, Hicks asserted defamation claims against the ex-boyfriend’s parents based on statements they made to disciplinary authorities.

Among the violations

Colo. RPC 8.4(g) (in representing a client, a lawyer must not engage in conduct that exhibits bias against a person based on the person’s race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, when such conduct is directed to anyone involved in the legal process).

The attorney had been censured in 2018.

Hicks was hired in a defective flooring case. He and his client signed a contingency fee agreement on June 16, 2016. Ten days later, Hicks and the client kissed. They first had sex on July 4, 2016. Their intimate relationship continued until April 2017.

Hicks sent a demand letter in the flooring case in August 2016, and the case settled later that month for $15,000.00. The client was satisfied with Hicks’s representation.

During Hicks’s relationship with this client, he disclosed to her confidential client information regarding a number of his other clients. He occasionally forwarded to her emails from clients or opposing counsel, and he also sent her draft settlement demands and other draft documents. There is no evidence that the client disseminated or acted on any of this information

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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