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In re Sample

Supreme Court of South Carolina

February 17, 2016

In the Matter of David B. Sample, Respondent

Submitted January 22, 2016

Appellate Case No. 2015-002517.

Lesley M. Coggiola, Disciplinary Counsel, and Ericka M. Williams, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, both of Columbia, for Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

David B. Sample, Pro se, Rock Hill.

PLEICONES, C.J., BEATTY, KITTREDGE and HEARN, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 584

 PER CURIAM

In this attorney disciplinary matter, respondent and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) 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 an admonition, public reprimand, or definite suspension not to exceed nine (9) months with conditions as set forth hereafter. We accept the Agreement and suspend respondent from the practice of law in this state for nine (9) months and impose the conditions as stated in the conclusion of this opinion. The facts, as set forth in the Agreement, are as follows.

Facts and Law

Matter I

Client A filed a complaint against respondent with ODC. ODC mailed a Notice of Investigation to respondent on March 18, 2013, requesting a response to the complaint within fifteen (15) days. When no response was received, respondent was served with a letter pursuant to In the Matter of Treacy, 277 S.C. 514, 290 S.E.2d 240 (1982), on April 17, 2013, again requesting respondent's response. Respondent's response was received by ODC on April 30, 2013. Ultimately, it was determined that the allegations in the complaint were without merit.

Respondent admits that by his conduct he has violated the following provision of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR: Rule 8.1(b) (in connection with disciplinary matter, lawyer shall not knowingly

Page 585

 fail to respond to lawful demand for information from disciplinary authority).

Respondent also admits he has violated the following provision of the RLDE: Rule 7(a) (1) (it shall be ground for discipline for lawyer to violate Rules of Professional Conduct).

Matter II

In February 2013, respondent was retained to represent Client B in a child custody matter. Client B paid respondent $1,000.00 of the $3,000.00 initial retainer fee quoted by respondent. Respondent informed Client B that a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) would be required and that respondent would have a GAL in place when Client B's daughter came to visit. Respondent represents he spoke with one GAL who was unable to serve; however, respondent failed to take any further steps to secure a GAL. At times during the representation, respondent failed to adequately communicate with Client B despite repeated telephone calls, voice messages, and emails. Client B discharged respondent and retained new counsel.

On June 24, 2013, respondent was mailed a Notice of Investigation requesting a response to the complaint within fifteen (15) days. When no response was received, respondent was served with a letter pursuant to In the Matter of Treacy, id., on July 17, 2013, again requesting his response. Respondent's written response to the Notice of Investigation was received by ODC on August 23, 2013.

Page 586

 Respondent admits that by his conduct he has violated the following provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR: Rule 1.2 (lawyer shall abide by client's decisions concerning objectives of representation); Rule 1.3 (lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing client); Rule 1.4 (lawyer shall keep client reasonably informed about status of matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information); Rule 1.16(d) (upon termination of representation, lawyer shall take steps to protect client's interests); and Rule 8.1(b) (in connection with disciplinary matter, lawyer shall not knowingly fail to respond to lawful demand for information from disciplinary authority).

Respondent also admits he has violated the following provision of the RLDE: Rule 7(a)(1) (it shall be ground for discipline for lawyer to violate Rules of Professional Conduct).

Matter III

Client C filed a complaint against respondent with ODC. On August 1, 2013, respondent was mailed a Notice of Investigation requesting a response to the complaint within fifteen (15) days. When no response was received, respondent was served with a letter pursuant to In the Matter of Treacy, id., on August 21, 2013, again requesting his response. Respondent's written response to the Notice of Investigation was received by ODC on August 23, 2013. Ultimately, it was determined that the allegations in the complaint were without merit.

Respondent admits that by his conduct he has violated the following provision of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR: Rule 8.1(b) (in connection with disciplinary matter, lawyer shall not knowingly fail to respond ...


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