In the Matter of Ronald Wade Moak, Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2019-000202
Submitted April 17, 2019
S. Nichols, Disciplinary Counsel, and Sabrina C. Todd, Senior
Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, both of Columbia, for the
Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
W. Speedy and Zack Owen Atkinson, both of Speedy, Tanner,
Atkinson & Cook, LLC, of Camden, for Respondent.
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,
RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR. In the Agreement, respondent admits
misconduct and consents to the imposition of a definite
suspension of not more than one year. We accept the Agreement
and suspend respondent from the practice of law in this state
for one year from the date of this opinion. The facts, as set
forth in the Agreement, are as follows.
agreed to represent D.D. on seven drug charges and one count
of financial identity theft for a flat fee. D.D. was arrested
on a bench warrant several months before respondent's
representation began and remained in jail throughout the
representation, as respondent's efforts to have the bench
warrant lifted were unsuccessful. Respondent shared important
developments in the case with D.D., but did not write D.D.
and did not recall receiving the numerous letters D.D.
reports having sent respondent. Frustrated by D.D.'s
failure to make payments as promised, respondent eventually
stopped visiting D.D. in jail.
respondent ceased contact, D.D. wrote to the clerk of court
and a circuit judge regarding the lack of progress in his
case. Over a two-month period, the judge responded to four of
D.D.'s letters. Each time, the judge emailed respondent
and the solicitor, including D.D.'s letter and the
judge's response. D.D.'s first two letters concerned
evidence in his case. In the third letter, D.D. complained
about respondent and requested the public defender's
office be reappointed. The judge responded by asking
respondent and the solicitor to have D.D. brought to court so
his request could be heard. D.D. was not brought to court and
wrote to the judge again two weeks later, advising he had not
had any contact with respondent despite writing respondent
made no attempt to contact D.D. after learning D.D. was
contacting the judge and, instead, moved to be relieved after
receiving the judge's fourth response to D.D. By the time
of the hearing on respondent's motion to be relieved, it
had been at least six months since respondent communicated
with D.D. The court relieved respondent and reappointed the
sought respondent's assistance with enforcing a child
support order. Respondent agreed to pursue a contempt action
for a $600 fee. He received a down payment and K.F.'s
child support order. Respondent showed K.F. a copy of the
contempt complaint before he filed it, but did not provide
her with a filed copy. Respondent notified K.F. of the
hearing date and asked one of his friends to serve K.F.'s
ex-husband. However, respondent's friend failed to serve
the ex-husband. Respondent could not reach the friend prior
to the scheduled hearing and never learned why service did
not occur. Respondent told K.F. he would have the hearing
rescheduled and the documents served; however, he did not
request a new hearing date.
failed to respond to K.F.'s texts and/or communicate with
her family members. In one text, K.F. asked respondent to
return her documents and withdraw from the case so she could
hire new counsel. Respondent admits he never fully read the
text. K.F. also sent respondent a certified letter with the
same requests; however, respondent never collected the letter
from the post office.
month after the contempt hearing was scheduled to occur, K.F.
filed a complaint with ODC. Approximately six weeks after
learning of the investigation and after receiving multiple
status inquiries from ODC, respondent returned K.F.'s
file and had her execute a consent order relieving him. The
clerk of court does not have a copy of the consent order and
respondent did not retain a copy; however, K.F. was able to
hire new counsel who pursued a contempt action on her behalf.
filed both a disciplinary complaint and a fee dispute.
Believing the fee dispute was part of the disciplinary
investigation, respondent did not cooperate with the fee
dispute investigator. The Resolution of Fee Disputes Board
(the Board) decided K.F. was entitled to a refund of the $200
she paid respondent. Respondent did not appeal the