In the Matter of Paul Winford Owen, Jr., Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2016-001060
Submitted June 23, 2016
M. Coggiola, Disciplinary Counsel, and William C. Campbell,
Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, both of Columbia, for Office
of Disciplinary Counsel.
P. Freeman, Esquire, of Columbia, for Respondent.
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 an 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
order dated October 27, 2015, respondent was sanctioned by
the Honorable David R. Duncan, a judge of the United States
Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina, and
assessed a fine of $5, 000.00. The sanction arose
out of respondent's conduct in a bankruptcy court hearing
held on August 25, 2015. At the time of the hearing, the
parties were in binding arbitration and respondent's
arguments were still under consideration by the arbitrator.
Nevertheless, during the bankruptcy hearing, respondent made
arguments based on the United States Supreme Court decision
in Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, 574 ___U.S.
___, 135 S.Ct. 790, 190 L.Ed.2d 650 (2015). Respondent admits
the arbitration proceeding was the sole forum before which to
raise his argument under Jesinoski and that he
should not have presented the Jesinoski argument to
the bankruptcy court. As a result of respondent's
conduct, the bankruptcy court and opposing party were
required to endure a proceeding which was groundless.
respondent admits that, at the hearing, he told Judge Duncan
he was proceeding at the direction of the Bankruptcy Trustee
when, in actuality, he was responsible for the argument.
Respondent later wrote a letter to Judge Duncan in which he
called attention to his misstatement and apologized to all
acknowledges the Court deserves no less than complete, candid
disclosures which are truthful at the time they are made. He
agrees his misstatement regarding the Bankruptcy Trustee was
not excused by his corrective disclosure in his letter to the
admits that by his conduct he has violated the following
provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407,
SCACR: Rule 1.1 (lawyer shall provide competent
representation); Rule 3.1 (lawyer shall not bring or defend
proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless
there is basis in law and fact for doing so that is not
frivolous); Rule 3.3 (lawyer shall not knowingly make false
statement of fact to tribunal); Rule 3.4 (lawyer shall not
knowingly disobey obligation under rules of tribunal); 8.4(a)
(it is professional misconduct for lawyer to violate Rules of
Professional Conduct); Rule 8.4(d) (lawyer shall not engage
in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
misrepresentation); and Rule 8.4(e) (lawyer shall not engage
in conduct prejudicial to administration of justice).
also admits he has violated the following Rules for Lawyer
Disciplinary Enforcement, Rule 413, SCACR: Rule 7(a)(1) (it
shall be ground for discipline for lawyer to violate Rules of
respondent's misconduct warrants a public
reprimand. Accordingly, we accept the Agreement and
publicly reprimand respondent for his misconduct. Within
thirty (30) days of the date of this opinion, respondent
shall pay the costs incurred in the investigation and
prosecution of this matter by ODC and the Commission on
Lawyer Conduct (Commission). Within six (6) months of the
date of this opinion, respondent shall complete the Legal
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