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In re Bosnak

Supreme Court of South Carolina

April 19, 2017

In the Matter of John Michael Bosnak, Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2017-000606

          Submitted April 4, 2017

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

          John Michael Bosnak, of Columbia, pro se.

          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 a public reprimand or definite suspension not to exceed one (1) year. Respondent requests that any period of suspension be imposed retroactively to February 2, 2016, the date of his interim suspension from the practice of law. In the Matter of Bosnak, 415 S.C. 332, 782 S.E.2d 123 (2016). Respondent further agrees to pay the costs incurred in the investigation and prosecution of this matter within thirty (30) days of the imposition of discipline and to complete the Legal Ethics and Practice Program Ethics School and Trust Account School within one (1) year of the imposition of discipline. We accept the Agreement and suspend respondent from the practice of law in this state for one (1) year, retroactive to the date of his interim suspension. In addition, we order respondent to pay the costs incurred in the investigation and prosecution of this matter and to complete the Legal Ethics and Practice Program Ethics School and Trust Account School as specified in the conclusion of this opinion. The facts, as set forth in the Agreement, are as follows.

         Facts

         Matter I

         Respondent represented a client in a probate matter following the death of the client's son. The client was appointed as Personal Representative of the estate.

         On November 26, 2008, respondent brought a wrongful death suit on behalf of the estate against a police department and other named parties in federal court. On April 23, 2010, the defendants in the lawsuit moved to dismiss the case for failure to prosecute. In July of 2010, the federal court dismissed the lawsuit for failure to prosecute stating that respondent did not respond to the motion to dismiss on behalf of the estate.

         Respondent filed a motion to reconsider. In the order denying the motion, the federal court stated: "The case has been marked by numerous delays on the part of plaintiff's counsel, who failed to file documents in a timely fashion, failed to respond to any discovery requests except for providing the defendants with one document, failed to respond to the defendants' motion to compel discovery responses, failed to respond to the Court's order regarding that discovery, and failed to respond to the defendants' motion to dismiss."

         The client hired an attorney (Complainant) to gather information about the dismissal of the case. The Complainant contacted the probate court and scheduled a status conference in the case for February 4, 2011. Respondent was served with notice of the status conference but failed to attend.

         On February 8, 2011, the client, as Personal Representative, issued a subpoena to respondent for documents on February 16, 2011, and for his testimony on February 23, 2011. Respondent failed to comply with the subpoenaed requests for documents. On the morning of the scheduled deposition, respondent left a message at Complainant's office stating that he would not be attending the deposition because he was in trial in General Sessions Court.

         Respondent was sent another subpoena for March 18, 2011. One minute prior to the deposition, respondent faxed a motion to quash the deposition as the client had not waived attorney-client privilege.[1]

         In response to the motion to quash, the Personal Representative filed a motion to compel, sanction and hold respondent in contempt. The hearing was scheduled for June 1, ...


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