In the Matter of James Darrell Dotson, Respondent Appellate Case No. 2019-001503
Submitted September 26, 2019
S. Nichols, Disciplinary Counsel, and Carey Taylor Markel,
Deputy Disciplinary Counsel, both of Columbia, for the Office
of Disciplinary Counsel.
Darrell Dotson, of North Carolina, 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,
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. Respondent requests his
suspension be applied retroactively to October 13, 2016, the
date of his interim suspension. See In re Dotson,
418 S.C. 253, 792 S.E.2d 1 (2016). We accept the Agreement
and suspend Respondent from the practice of law in this state
for one year, retroactive to the date of his interim
suspension. The facts, as set forth in the Agreement, are as
J retained Respondent to represent him in a workers'
compensation matter. Respondent failed to completely and
diligently pursue Client J's legal matter and failed to
adequately communicate with Client J for several months,
including Client J's repeated requests for his client
the time he represented Client J, Respondent suffered from a
mental health condition that impaired his fitness to practice
law. Respondent failed to seek adequate and appropriate
treatment and failed to withdraw from the representation.
Respondent failed to respond to ODC's notice of
investigation regarding Client J's complaint. Ultimately,
Respondent appeared before ODC in response to a subpoena
issued pursuant to Rule 19(c)(3), RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR.
Following a Rule 19(c)(3) interview with ODC, Respondent
entered into a deferred discipline agreement, which was
accepted by the Commission on October 22, 2014. In the
deferred discipline agreement, Respondent admitted violating
the following Rules of Professional Conduct: 1.1
(competence), 1.2 (scope of representation), 1.3 (diligence),
1.4 (communication), and 8.1 (knowingly failing to respond to
a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary
authority), Rule 407, SCACR. Respondent agreed to comply with
certain terms and conditions set forth in the deferred
discipline agreement. When Respondent failed to comply with
the deferred discipline agreement, the Commission terminated
the agreement on October 16, 2015.
S paid Respondent $4, 500 to represent him in his divorce
proceeding. Respondent stopped communicating with Client S,
and the divorce action was dismissed based on the 365-day
rule. Respondent did not respond to Client S's phone
initially failed to provide a written response to ODC's
notice of investigation. Only after being compelled to appear
and provide testimony pursuant to Rule 19, RLDE, did
Respondent provide any response to Client S's complaint.
Respondent stated he spoke with Client S, met with him
"numerous times," prepared and filed the pleadings,
and appeared on behalf of Client S at a temporary hearing;
however, Respondent admitted he subsequently let the case
lapse. Respondent explained he did not provide Client S with
his client file because it was locked in a storage unit and
Respondent could not afford to pay the past-due bill.
Respondent maintained the files were subsequently destroyed
by Hurricane Matthew.