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Kentucky Bar Association v. Burgin

Supreme Court of Kentucky

May 14, 2015

KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION, MOVANT
v.
RUSSELL W. BURGIN, RESPONDENT

Released for Publication May 27, 2015.

OPINION AND ORDER

Page 402

 John D. Minton, Jr.

The Respondent, Russell W. Burgin,[1] is alleged to have committed four violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. He did not respond to the bar complaint or the resulting formal charge, and thus this matter has proceeded as a default case under Supreme Court Rule 3.210. The Board of Governors has reviewed the matter and has recommended that Burgin be found guilty of all four counts and be suspended from the practice of law for 181 days. This Court accepts the recommendation.

I. Background

The present case stems from KBA File 22690, which concerns the following facts.

Burgin was hired by Sharon Roundtree in April 2012 to represent her in an uncontested divorce. She apparently paid Burgin's fee in installments, and the final payment was made in June 2012, at which time Burgin was to proceed with the divorce action.

Burgin filed the divorce petition in Laurel Circuit Court in August 2012. Roundtree and her then husband entered into a written separation agreement in October 2012. After that point, however, Burgin did not take the necessary steps to complete the divorce. As of January 2015, no divorce decree had been entered, and Roundtree claims that she lacks the financial resources to hire a new attorney to finish the divorce action.

Roundtree repeatedly attempted to contact Burgin about her case and requested information about its status. Burgin failed to respond to these inquiries. Burgin also failed to refund any of the fees paid by Roundtree.

In March 2014, Roundtree filed a bar complaint, to which Burgin never responded. In September 2014, the Inquiry Commission issued a four-count charge against Burgin alleging the following violations:

1) SCR 3.130-1.3[2] by failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in dealing with the divorce action.
2) SCR 3.130-1.4(a)(3)[3] by failing to keep Roundtree reasonably informed about the status of the matter, and SCR 3.130-1.4(a)(4)[4] by failing to promptly reply to Roundtree's reasonable requests for information.
3) SCR 3.130-1.16(d)[5] by failing to give reasonable notice to Roundtree that he had abandoned the matter and ...

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