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Kentucky Bar Ass'n v. Francis

Supreme Court of Kentucky

August 21, 2014

KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION, MOVANT
v.
CABELL D. FRANCIS II, RESPONDENT

Released for Publication September 3, 2014.

Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Keller, Noble and Scott, JJ., concur. Venters, J., not sitting.

OPINION AND ORDER

John D. Minton Jr., CHIEF JUSTICE.

The Board of Governors of the Kentucky Bar Association (KBA) has recommended that Cabell D. Francis II be found guilty of five counts of misconduct (stemming from three charges), be suspended from the practice of law for 181 days, and be ordered to refund money to a client.

Francis was admitted to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky on May 1, 1976; his KBA member number is 23310; his bar roster address is 101 Lancaster Street, Stanford, Kentucky 40484.

The first two charges, KBA Case Nos. 21536 and 21725, appear to arise from the same set of facts.

Page 751

In January 2013, the Office of Bar Counsel received notice that three payments[1] to AT& T on his client trust account with First Southern Bank were returned for insufficient funds. The first two payments were each in the amount of $283.30, and the third was in the amount of $159.77. In February 2013, the Office of Bar Counsel was notified that two additional payments, one for $20.00 (with check number 1818 and no statement as to whom it was payable) and one for $83.65 (payable to " CCK" ), were also returned for insufficient funds. The Office of Bar Counsel inquired of Francis about the payments, specifically asking for an explanation of why they had been drawn on the trust account since they appeared to be for personal matters, but received no response.

In March 2013, the Office of Bar Counsel received notice of another payment (for $186.86) on Francis's trust account for which there was insufficient funds; the notice did not say to whom it was payable. Again, the Office of Bar Counsel tried to contact Francis about the matter, but he failed to respond. Notice of a final payment (for $170 to ATMOS Energy) for which there were insufficient funds was received on May 31, 2013. Again, the Office of Bar Counsel sought an explanation for this payment but received no response.

Each notice from the Office of Bar Counsel sent to Francis stated that failure to respond could constitute misconduct under SCR 3.130-8.1(b).

In August 2013, the Inquiry Commission filed a complaint asserting that Francis had engaged in misconduct in his handling of his trust account and a copy was sent to Francis by certified mail, which went unclaimed. A copy was personally served on Francis in October 2013. Francis did not respond to the complaint.

As a result, the Inquiry Commission issued a one-count charge alleging a violation of SCR 3.130-8.1(b)[2] for failing to respond to the Inquiry Commission complaint. This charge was issued on December 27, 2013, and eventually became KBA Case No. 21725. This charge was personally served on Francis in February 2014. Francis did not respond to this charge.

On January 9, 2014, approximately two weeks after issuance of the first charge, the Inquiry Commission issued a two-count charge of misconduct. The KBA Case No. 21536 was assigned to this charge, which alleged ...


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