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In re Smalls

Supreme Court of South Carolina

October 4, 2017

In the Matter of Darryl D. Smalls, Respondent. Appellate No. 2017-001219

          Submitted September 14, 2017

          Lesley M. Coggiola, Disciplinary Counsel, of Columbia, for Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

          Darryl D. Smalls, of Columbia, pro se.

          PER CURIAM:

         In this attorney disciplinary matter, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) and Respondent 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 definite suspension for no less than nine (9) months and no more than three (3) years. Respondent requests that any suspension be made retroactive to October 10, 2016, the date of his interim suspension. We accept the Agreement and impose a definite suspension of eighteen (18) months from the practice of law. We grant Respondent's request to make his suspension retroactive to the date of his interim suspension.

         Facts and Law

         Pattern of Failure to Pay Court Reporters

         On May 5, 2009, Respondent received a transcript for a deposition and an invoice for $107.75 from Southern Reporting (Southern). Southern sent several notices to Respondent that payment was due and called Respondent in an attempt to collect, but could not reach him. On December 2, 2009, Southern filed a complaint with ODC. After notice of the complaint, Respondent paid the invoice on January 19, 2010.

         Graber Reporting Service (Graber) issued invoices for transcripts to Respondent in October 2009 for $130.35, in July 2010 for $483.65, and in August 2010 for $321.59. After repeated attempts to collect these invoices, Graber filed a complaint with ODC in February 2012. After notice of the complaint, Respondent paid the invoices on March 12, 2012.

         On January 25, 2012, Respondent received a transcript of a deposition and an invoice for $183.25 from Ray Swartz & Associates (Swartz). Swartz sent Respondent several letters asking for payment of the invoice. On October 24, 2012, Swartz filed a complaint with ODC. After notice of the complaint, Respondent paid the invoice on November 27, 2012. Respondent's failure to pay Swartz followed his receipt of a letter of caution in April 2012 for the same misconduct.

         Graber issued invoices for transcripts to the Respondent in May 2013 for $526.05 and in July 2013 for $319.75. After repeated attempts to collect these invoices, Graber filed a second complaint with ODC on April 17, 2014. After notice of the complaint, Respondent paid the invoices on July 7, 2014. Respondent's failure to pay Graber followed his receipt of a letter of caution in April 2012 for the same misconduct.

         On December 10, 2014, Respondent received a transcript of a deposition and an invoice for $78.50 from Creel Court Reporting (Creel). After repeated phone messages and several collection letters, Creel could not collect payment and filed a complaint with ODC on January 7, 2016. Respondent has yet to pay these invoices. Respondent's failure to pay Creel followed his receipt of a letter of caution in April 2012 and a confidential admonition in October 2014 for the same misconduct.

         Respondent admits his pattern and practice of failing to timely pay for court reporting services violates Rule 4.4 (in representing a client, lawyer must have respect for rights of third persons) and Rule 8.4(e) (it is professional misconduct to engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the ...


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