In the Matter of John W. Howard, III, Respondent Appellate Case No. 2014-002460
Submitted November 20, 2014.
Lesley M. Coggiola, Disciplinary Counsel, and Ericka M. Williams, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, both of Columbia, for Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
John W. Howard, III, of Greenville, Pro se.
TOAL, C.J., PLEICONES, BEATTY, KITTREDGE and HEARN, JJ., concur.
[411 S.C. 231] PER CURIAM:
In this attorney disciplinary matter, respondent and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel have entered into an Agreement for Discipline by Consent (Agreement) pursuant to Rule 21 of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement (RLDE) contained in Rule 413 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR). In the Agreement, respondent admits misconduct and consents to the imposition of a confidential admonition or public reprimand with conditions. We accept the Agreement and issue a public reprimand with conditions as set forth hereafter in this opinion. The facts, as set forth in the Agreement, are as follows.
Complainant A retained respondent to bring a contempt action against his ex-wife for violation of a family court order. A family court judge signed the contempt order on February 20, 2009, and the order was filed on March 18, 2009. Following the hearing, respondent prepared a bench warrant that was signed by the judge on July 9, 2009. In October 2009, after receiving documentation which respondent thought satisfied the conditions of the contempt order, respondent prepared a proposed order recalling the July 9, 2009, bench [411 S.C. 232] warrant which the judge signed on October 7, 2009. Respondent failed to consult with Complainant A prior to preparing the proposed order recalling the bench warrant. Complainant A disagreed with respondent's decision to voluntarily submit a proposed order recalling the bench warrant to the judge.
Respondent represented Complainant B's wife in a domestic matter. Respondent drafted a separation and property settlement agreement which was signed by both Complainant B and his wife. Under the agreement, respondent was to receive the net proceeds from the sale of the marital home in escrow to be divided equally between the parties after paying all mortgage and marital indebtedness. Complainant B made several request to respondent for an accounting of the funds. Respondent failed to comply with Complainant B's request for an accounting of the funds in escrow. Respondent represents he did not release a copy of the accounting to Complainant B because his client instructed him not to do so.
On the morning of March 24, 2010, respondent conducted a cash closing. Respondent disbursed the net proceeds of the closing to the seller prior to depositing the funds from the buyer. The proceeds check was disbursed to the seller on the morning of March 24, 2010, and the ...