Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Geer

Supreme Court of South Carolina

March 28, 2018

In the Matter of Joel F. Geer, Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2017-000273

          Heard March 5, 2018

          Disciplinary Counsel John S. Nichols and Senior Assistant Disciplinary Counsel Ericka M. Williams, for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

          Joel F. Geer, Respondent, pro se, of Greenville.

          Lance S. Boozer, Guardian Ad Litem, pro se.

          PER CURIAM.

         In this attorney disciplinary matter, a hearing panel of the Commission on Lawyer Conduct (Panel) issued a report recommending that Respondent Joel F. Geer be disbarred; that he be ordered to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings; and that he be ordered to pay restitution. Neither the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) nor Respondent took exception to the Panel's report. For the reasons that follow, we find the appropriate sanction is a three-year definite suspension and the payment of costs of the disciplinary proceedings. We further order Respondent to pay $31, 794.92 in restitution.

         I.

         On April 10, 2015, the Court placed Respondent on interim suspension and appointed a receiver to protect the interests of Respondent's clients. In re Geer, 412 S.C. 124, 771 S.E.2d 345 (2015). Formal Charges were filed against Respondent in July 2015, and Supplemental Formal Charges were filed against him in August 2016. As a result of Respondent's failure to answer either set of charges, the following allegations against him were deemed admitted pursuant to Rule 24(a), RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR.

         Matter I

         In 2013, Respondent represented a limited liability company (LLC) in collecting money owed by a customer, and Respondent obtained a confession of judgment in favor of the LLC in the amount of $31, 794.92. Before the judgment was satisfied, the customer filed bankruptcy. Respondent prepared a Proof of Claim but failed to file it with the bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy estate had sufficient assets to pay the debt owed to the LLC, but by the time the LLC secured alternate counsel, its claim was time-barred.

         Matter II

         Respondent was administratively suspended from the practice of law on March 14, 2014, for failing to pay his annual license fees as required by Rule 401, SCACR; Respondent was reinstated on March 26, 2014. Prior to being reinstated, however, Respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law when he filed pleadings in circuit court on behalf of a shareholder client on March 17, 2014. Subsequently, the circuit court ordered that all corporate funds in the possession of Respondent's client be deposited with a court-appointed receiver and denied Respondent's request to receive attorney's fees from those funds. In disregard of the circuit court's order, attorney's fees were withheld prior to the funds being turned over to the receiver. Ultimately, Respondent's law firm remitted the withheld funds but only after the circuit court issued a Rule to Show Cause why Respondent should not be held in contempt. Throughout the pendency of the matter in circuit court, Respondent failed to respond to telephone calls and emails from court staff, failed to appear at multiple hearings, and failed to timely comply with court orders and sanctions imposed by the circuit court.

         Matter III

         In June 2014, Respondent accepted a fee of $250 to represent a client in connection with a car loan issue. Several months later, Respondent cancelled several meetings with the client, then stopped communicating with the client altogether. Eventually, the client's emails to Respondent were returned with a message that Respondent's email ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.