In the Matter of Cynthia E. Collie, Respondent
Heard October 7, 2014.
Appellate Case No. 2014-000324.
Lesley M. Coggiola, Disciplinary Counsel and Deputy Disciplinary Counsel Barbara M. Seymour, both of Columbia, for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
Chalmers Carey Johnson, of Port Orchard, Washington, for Respondent.
TOAL, C.J., PLEICONES, BEATTY, KITTREDGE and HEARN, JJ., concur.
[410 S.C. 558] PER CURIAM:
In this attorney discipline matter, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) filed formal charges with the Commission on Lawyer Conduct (the Commission) against Cynthia E. Collie (Respondent) on July 2, 2012. On July 31, 2012, Respondent was served with a notice of filing of formal charges and formal charges by certified mail. After several extensions, Respondent's answer was due on February 25, 2013. Respondent failed to file an answer.
On February 28, 2013, an administrative panel of the Commission found Respondent to be in default for failing to respond to the formal charges. Thus, the Commission deemed the facts contained in the formal charges admitted, [410 S.C. 559] and a hearing was held on August 13 and 14, 2013, before a hearing panel of the Commission (the Panel) for the sole purpose of considering mitigating and aggravating circumstances to determine a sanctions recommendation. Respondent appeared pro se. Following the hearing, the Panel recommended that Respondent be disbarred, as well as other conditions. Respondent took exception the Panel's report and recommendation (the Report) by filing a brief. At the hearing before this Court, Respondent was represented by counsel. We decline to adopt the recommended sanction of disbarment, and instead impose a definite suspension of two years.
As a consequence of Respondent's default, she is deemed to have admitted the following factual allegations set forth in the formal charges:
I. The 1999 Lawsuit
In March 1999, Respondent filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina (the 1999 lawsuit) against Tenet HealthSystem Medical, Inc. (Tenet HealthSystem), and East Cooper Community Hospital, Inc. (East Cooper). Respondent was represented by attorneys Manton Grier and James Y. Becker of Sinkler & Boyd, P.A. The 1999 lawsuit related to credentialing decisions made by East Cooper regarding Respondent's privileges to practice medicine at East Cooper. Respondent's amended complaint listed twelve causes of action, two of which were based on federal law.
In April 2000, the district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment as to the federal causes of action and dismissed the remaining state law claims without prejudice. Respondent appealed the dismissal of the federal causes of action to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the summary judgment. ...