Released for Publication March 3, 2015.
John D. Minton Jr., CHIEF JUSTICE. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Keller, Noble, and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur.
OPINION AND ORDER
John D. Minton Jr., CHIEF JUSTICE.
Robert H. Hoskins, KBA No. 87199, was admitted to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky on May 1, 1998; and his bar roster address is listed as 1040 Richwood Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45208. The Board of Governors (Board) unanimously found Hoskins guilty of violating SCR 3.130-1.3 (two counts), SCR 3.130-1.4(a)(3) & (4), SCR 3.130-1.16(d), SCR 3.130-8.1(b), and SCR 3.130-1.15(b). For these violations, the Board unanimously recommends Hoskins: (1) be suspended from the practice of law for sixty days; (2) pay restitution to his former clients in the amount of $1,275.00; (3) attend the Ethics and Professionalism Enhancement Program (EPEP); and (4) pay all associated costs. Neither party filed a notice of review with this Court. For the following reasons, we adopt the Board's recommendation.
This case concerns two separate complaints to the Kentucky Bar Association (KBA). The two complaints are the first disciplinary actions that have been filed against Hoskins.
A. KBA File No. 22327.
On June 26, 2013, Scott and Ann Games retained Hoskins to represent them in an uncontested divorce action, for which they paid him an advanced fee of $1,275.00. Over the following sixty days, the Gameses attempted to contact Hoskins numerous times without any response. Hoskins also failed to appear for an appointment to complete the necessary paperwork to move the divorce proceeding forward. So the Gameses asked Hoskins for a full refund, but he never responded to them. An Inquiry Commission complaint was issued against Hoskins on December 3, 2013. Notification of the complaint was sent to Hoskins's bar roster address via certified mail, but the notification was returned and marked " Unclaimed-Unable to Forward." On January 13, 2014, service was made on the Executive Director of the KBA pursuant to SCR 3.175. Hoskins failed to file a response to the complaint.
B. KBA File No. 22449.
On August 9, 2013, an order was entered against Walter Smith in Kenton Family Court. Smith retained Hoskins to represent him in an appeal of the order. Smith paid Hoskins an advanced fee of $1,500.00 for the representation. Hoskins filed a notice of appeal on September 4, 2013; but the notice incorrectly stated that the appeal was from a July 9, 2013, order. In September 2013, a dispute arose between Smith and Hoskins regarding the attorney/client relationship. However, Hoskins did not take steps to withdraw as Smith's counsel. On September 25, 2013, the Kentucky Court of Appeals issued a Show Cause Order to Hoskins, as attorney for Smith, asking him to explain why the appeal should not-be dismissed for failure timely to file a notice of appeal. No response to the order was filed, and the appeal was dismissed on November 12, 2013. Subsequently, Smith asked Hoskins for a refund of any unearned portion of the advanced fee payment. Without providing
an accounting of the fee payment, Hoskins responded that it had already been exhausted.
On December 9, 2013, Smith filed a complaint against Hoskins to the KBA. Hoskins received a copy of the complaint and signed the certified mail restricted delivery receipt at his bar roster address on January 15, 2014. He filed a response to the complaint on January 29, 2014. On March 5, 2014, the Office of Bar ...