In the Matter of Jonathan L. B. Davis, Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2018-002251
Submitted February 7, 2019
S. Nichols, Disciplinary Counsel, and Ericka M. Williams,
Senior Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, both of Columbia, for
the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
Jonathan L.B. Davis, of Columbia, pro se.
attorney disciplinary matter, respondent and the Office of
Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) have entered into an Agreement for
Discipline by Consent (the 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 a
definite suspension of not more than two years. We accept the
Agreement and suspend respondent from the practice of law in
this state for one year, retroactive to respondent's
interim suspension. The facts, as set forth in the Agreement,
are as follows.
2015, respondent was retained to represent a husband and wife
(Complainants) in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy matter. Respondent
had never handled a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Respondent
filed a petition on Complainants' behalf; however, the
United States Trustee pointed out multiple inaccuracies in
the documents filed by respondent. Respondent acknowledged
the errors and promptly amended the filings.
days after filing the bankruptcy petition, respondent filed
an application for employment as the primary attorney for
Complainants. The bankruptcy court granted respondent's
application but the delayed filing meant respondent was
acting without the required authority for the first six weeks
of the case in violation of the rules of the United States
did not have an active trust account at the time Complainants
began paying respondent pursuant to a retainer agreement.
Respondent deposited the retainer funds into his general
operating account in violation of Rules 1.15(a) and 1.15(c),
RPC, Rule 407, SCACR (safekeeping of client property).
Respondent later opened a trust account and transferred the
held Complainants' retainer, less disbursement for the
filing fee and transcript cost, from the time it was paid
prior to the filing of the petition until respondent filed
his first fee application with the court. Because respondent
was owed fees for pre-petition work, he was not a
disinterested party, and the bankruptcy court disqualified
him from representing Complainants. That fact also barred
respondent from receiving any compensation whatsoever and
required he disgorge the remaining balance of the retainer.
2013, respondent filed for relief on behalf of Complainant B
pursuant to Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
In September 2013, Complainant B's vehicle was totaled in
an accident, and Complainant B asked respondent to file
various motions on her behalf related to her payment for the
totaled vehicle and the purchase of a replacement. Despite
Complainant B's calls and emails, respondent failed to
file the requested motions for over a month. Even after
respondent finally filed a motion to incur debt, he had to
amend the filing twice and failed to file any other pleadings
addressing Complainant B's remaining issues.
hearing was held in bankruptcy court to address Complainant
B's concerns regarding respondent's failure to file
the appropriate motions related to her totaled vehicle. At
the hearing, the United States Trustee noted additional
amendments to respondent's filings were needed before an
amended bankruptcy plan could be confirmed. The court
continued the hearing to ensure respondent filed all amended
pleadings. Respondent filed an amended plan but failed to use
the forms required by the court. A deficiency notice was
issued. Days later, respondent filed the necessary
amendments, but again failed to use the proper ...