Submitted February 3, 2015
Appellate Case No. 2014-002689.
Lesley M. Coggiola, Disciplinary Counsel, and C. Tex. Davis, Jr., Senior Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, both of Columbia, for Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
Edward Earl Gilbert, of Frederick C. Hanna & Associates, PC, of Greenville, Pro se.
[411 S.C. 420] 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. In addition, respondent agrees to pay the costs incurred in the investigation and prosecution of this matter within thirty (30) days of the imposition of discipline. He further agrees to submit a repayment plan to the Commission on Lawyer Conduct (the Commission) within thirty (30) days of the imposition of discipline agreeing to pay restitution in the amount of $28,594.00 to Jane Doe. Finally, respondent agrees to complete the South Carolina Bar's Trust Account School within twelve (12) months of the imposition of discipline. We accept the Agreement and issue a public reprimand with conditions as stated hereafter. The facts, as set forth in the Agreement, are as follows.
Doe retained respondent to represent her in a bankruptcy matter. Respondent was retained to file a Chapter 11 reorganization. The case was filed in September 2003 and closed in June 2005.
In August 2005, respondent sent a copy of the Final Decree to Doe. In addition, respondent confirmed a discussion between the parties that respondent would continue to represent Doe in a foreclosure suit and an appeal to the United States District Court. In the letter, respondent stated that he knew [411 S.C. 421] Doe was unable to make payments at the time and, therefore, respondent agreed to defer billing to a later time.
Respondent contends Doe requested he appeal the Final Decree. Doe maintains that she refused to appeal the case to the United States District Court. There is no written confirmation signed by Doe.
The Final Decree required that an escrow account be established to cover the unpaid, allowed contingent and unliquidated Class 5 Unsecured claims. The balance in respondent's trust account for Doe's case after the payment of all known creditors was $32,434.00.
In June 2008, near the expiration of the statute of limitations, Doe requested the remaining funds in her account. Respondent replied that the funds were ...