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DOC025

DOC025

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Published by: Circuit Media on Mar 15, 2011
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SUPREMECOURT,STATEOFCOLORADOORIGINALPROCEEDINGINDISCIPLINEBEFORETHEOFFICEOFTHEPRESIDINGDISCIPLINARYJUDGE1560BROADWAY,SUITE675DENVER,CO80202CaseNumber:
lOPDJ055
(consolidated
withlOPDJ069)
Complainant:
THEPEOPLEOFTHESTATEOFCOLORADO
Respondent:
DENNIS
L.
CARDER
DECISIONANDORDERIMPOSINGSANCTIONSPURSUANTTOC.R.C.P.
251.19(c)
OnJanuary10,2011,thePresidingDisciplinaryJudge("theCourt")heldaSanctionsHearingpursuanttoC.R.C.P.251.15(c).ElizabethE.KrupaappearedonbehalfoftheOfficeofAttorneyRegulationCounsel("thePeople").DennisL.Carder("Respondent")didnotappear,nordidcounselappearonhisbehalf.TheCourtnowissuesthefollowing"DecisionandOrderImposingSanctionsPursuanttoC.R.C.P.251.19(c)."
I.ISSUEANDSUMMARY
Intenclientmatters,Respondentfailedtocommunicatewithhisclientsandfailedtoperformworkontheirbehalf,effectivelyabandoningthem.Inmanyofthesecases,Respondent'sclientssoughtarefundoftheirretainersandreturnoftheirfiles,butRespondentneverprovidedaccountingsorrefunds,nordidheeverreturntheirfiles.Respondent'smisconductconstitutesabandonmentandconversion,warrantingdisbarment.
II.PROCEDURALmSTORY
OnFebruary16,2010,thePeoplepetitionedtheColoradoSupremeCourttoimmediatelysuspendRespondentpursuanttoC.R.C.P.251.8.6duetoRespondent'sfailuretocooperateonmattersinvolvingseriouscharges.TheColoradoSupremeCourtgrantedthePeople'spetitionfollowingbriefingfromthepartiesandimmediatelysuspendedRespondentonMarch28,2010.OnMay21,2010,thePeoplefiledacitationandcomplaintincasenumber10PDJ055andsentcopiesviacertifiedmailtoRespondentathisregisteredbusinessaddressof3617SouthAcomaStreet,Englewood,CO80110.ThiscertifiedmailingwasreturnedtothePeoplemarked"ReturntoSender-
 
Unclaimed-UnabletoForward-ReturntoSender."ThePeoplefileda"Proof(AttemptedService)"onAugust26,2010.
1
ThePeoplethereaftersentRespondentareminderletterdatedSeptember21,2010.
2
AfterRespondentfailedtoanswerthecomplaint,theCourtenteredits"OrderEnteringDefaultPursuanttoC.R.C.P.251.15(b)"onNovember29,2010.Duringthistime,thePeoplealsofiledseparateclaimsagainstRespondentincasenumber10PDJ069.OnJune23,2010,thePeoplefiledacitationandcomplaintinthatmatterandsentcopiesviacertifiedmailtoRespondentathisregisteredbusinessaddress,whichwasreturnedtothePeoplemarked"NotdeliverableasAddressed."OnJuly6,2010,thePeoplesentcopiesofthecitationandanamendedcomplainttoRespondent,andthismailingwaslikewisereturnedtothePeoplemarked"NotdeliverableasAddressed."ThePeoplefileda"ProofofAttemptedService"onAugust26,2010.
3
RespondentfailedtoanswerthePeople'scomplaint,andtheCourtenteredan"OrderEnteringDefaultPursuanttoC.R.C.P.251.15(b)"incasenumber10PDJ069onSeptember30,2010.OnJanuary3,2011,theCourtgrantedamotiontoconsolidatecasenumbers10PDJ055and10PDJ069.Duringthesanctionshearing,theCourtconsideredtestimonyandadmittedthePeople'sexhibits1-5.
III.FINDINGSOFFACTANDRULEVIOLATIONS
TheHearingBoardfmdsthefollowingfactsandruleviolationshavebeenestablishedbyclearandconvincingevidence.
Jurisdiction
RespondenttooktheoathofadmissionandwasadmittedtothebaroftheColoradoSupremeCourtonAugust29,2005.Heisregisteredupontheofficialrecords,attorneyregistrationnumber36474,andisthussubjecttothejurisdictionoftheHearingBoardinthesedisciplinary
proceedtngs.v
Respondent'sregisteredbusinessaddressis3617SouthAcomaStreet,Englewood,Colorado80110.
TheWashingtonMatter
OnJanuary19,2009,TammyWashington("Washington")hiredRespondentonaflat-feebasistohandleherChapter7bankruptcyproceeding,agreeingtopayhim$1,000.00total,plusa$299.00filingfee.RespondenttoldWashingtonhewouldprepareandfiletheappropriatepleadingstobeginher
1
See
Ex.Ato"Complainant'sMotionforDefault"filedonOctober6,2010.
2
SeeId.
atEx.B.
3
See
Ex.Ato"Complainant'sMotionforDefault"filedonAugust31,2010.
4
See
C.R.C.P.251.1
(b).
2
 
bankruptcyproceedingsonceshepaidthefirsttwopaymentinstallments,totaling$599.00.Theflat-feeagreementalsoprovidedthat"[o]nceAttorneybeginsworkonthiscontract,anyterminationofservicesbyClientwillresultinlossoftheagreed-uponfee."RespondentaskedWashingtontoprovidehimwithherpaystubsforthepriorsixmonths,buthedidnotrequestanyotherrecordsorinformationnecessarytopreparebankruptcyschedules.Washingtonpaidaninitialcheckof$299.00onJanuary19,2009,whichRespondentdepositedinhisbusinessaccountthenextday.HealsocashedcheckshereceivedfromheronFebruary20,2009($300.00),April7,2009($100.00),andApril20,2009($lOO.OO),eventhoughhehadnotperformedanyworkuptothattime.RespondentandWashingtonwereinintermittentcontactthespringandsummerof2009,butbetweenOctober2009andJanuary2010,RespondentfailedtoreturnWashington'scallsandwasotherwiseunavailabletospeakwithher,despitethemanyeffortsshemadetocontacthim.RespondentneverfiledaChapter7bankruptcyforWashington,nordidhereturnanyofthefundsshehadprovidedhim.RespondentviolatedmanyrulesgoverningprofessionalconductinhishandlingoftheWashingtonmatter:heviolatedColo.RPC1.3(failedtoactdiligentlyandpromptly);Colo.RPC1.4(a)(4)(failedtopromptlycomplywithreasonablerequestsforinformation);Colo.RPC1.5(f)(convertedunearnedfundsbyfailingtodeposittheminatrustaccount);Colo.RPC1.5(g)(includedanon-refundablefeeprovisioninfeeagreement);Colo.RPC1.16(d)(failedtorefundunearnedamountofretainerandfilingfees);andColo.RPC8.4(c)
(knowingly
exercisedunauthorizeddominionoverclientfundsandthusengagedinconductinvolvingdishonesty,fraud,deceit,ormisrepresentation).
TheGreenMatter
OnFebruary12,2008,AlfredGreen("Green")retainedRespondenttorepresenthimintwomatters.Inthefirst,GreenagreedtopayRespondent$75.00anhourplus15%ofanysettlement,witha$250.00retainer,tocollectagainstajudgmentGreenhadearlierobtainedagainstEAPAuto.ThesecondcoveredRespondent'srepresentationofGreeninawarrantydisputewithBroadwayDodge,forwhichGreenagreedtopayRespondent$150.00perhour,withaninitial$500.00retainer.GreenwroteRespondentacheckfor$750.00tocoverbothretainers,andRespondentcashedthecheckthatsameday.Noevidenceexiststhat,duringtheremainderof2008,RespondentperformedanyworkforGreenoneithertheEAPAutomatterortheBroadwayDodgematter.Nevertheless,onsevenoccasionsbetweenFebruaryandJune2008,Respondent'strustaccountdippedbelow$750.00,andbyJuly8,2008,only$3.30remainedinthataccount.OnJanuary8,2009,anotherattorneysentalettertoRespondentonGreen'sbehalf,requestingthatRespondentprovideanitemizedaccount
3

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