In the Matter John W. Bledsoe, III, Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2017-002322
Submitted February 21, 2018
S. Nichols, Disciplinary Counsel, and Julie K. Martino,
Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, of Columbia, for Office of
W. Bledsoe, III, of Darlington, pro Se.
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 a confidential admonition or public
reprimand. As a condition of discipline, respondent
agrees to complete the Legal Ethics and Practice Program
Ethics School within one year of being sanctioned. We accept
the Agreement and issue a public reprimand. The facts, as set
forth in the Agreement, are as follows.
early 2016, respondent was retained to represent Client A in
a divorce and custody action. Following a temporary hearing,
the judge awarded custody of one child to Client A and
custody of the other child, as well as child support, to
Client A's spouse. Despite the fact child support was to
be paid monthly, respondent prepared a temporary order
requiring Client A to pay child support weekly. Although
respondent submitted an amended temporary order to the judge
which stated child support payments were to be made monthly,
funds were garnished from Client A's payroll checks on
four occasions for weekly payments as a result of the
original order, causing Client A to experience financial
difficulties, including difficulties paying for rent,
utilities, and food.
was retained to represent Client B in a divorce and custody
action after Client B, while being represented by another
attorney, lost custody of her child at a temporary hearing.
Client B's spouse died before the final hearing could be
held. Subsequently, the family court awarded temporary
custody of Client B's child to the sister of Client
B's spouse (Aunt) and the sister's husband (Uncle).
Shortly after the temporary hearing in which custody was
awarded to Aunt and Uncle, Client B released respondent and
retained a new attorney.
point during his representation of Client B, respondent
expressed to Client B that he was interested in a sexual
relationship with her. Respondent asked Client B to show him
her breasts. Client B showed respondent her breasts, but felt
ashamed and humiliated. Respondent and Client B did not
engage in a sexual relationship.
admits that, in Matter A, his mistake in drafting the
original order and his delay in recognizing the mistake and
submitting an amended order violated Rule 1.3, RPC, Rule 407,
SCACR ("A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and
promptness in representing a client."). With regard to
Matter B, respondent admits that in requesting to see Client
B's breasts, he violated Rule 1.7(a)(2), RPC, Rule 407,
SCACR ("Except as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer
shall not represent a client if the representation involves a
concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of
interest exists if: . . . (2) there is a significant risk
that the representation of one or more clients will be
materially limited . . . by a personal interest of the
lawyer.") and Rule 8.4(e), RPC, Rule 407, SCACR
("It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: . . .
(e) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the
administration of justice[.]"). Finally, respondent
admits the allegations contained in the Agreement constitute
grounds for discipline under Rule 7(a)(1), RLDE, Rule ...