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Kentucky Bar Association v. Gibson

Supreme Court of Kentucky

August 24, 2017

KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION MOVANT
v.
CARL WAYNE GIBSON respondent

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN D. MINTON, JR. CHIEF JUSTICE.

         The Inquiry Commission issued a four-count charge against Carl Wayne Gibson[1] on June 12, 2015, alleging he violated Supreme Court Rules (SCR) 3.130(1.3), 3.130(1.4)(a)(3), 3.130(1.4)(a)(4), and 3.130(8.4)(c). Gibson filed an Answer admitting to the factual allegations but denying that he violated any rules of professional conduct. His case was submitted to a Trial Commissioner, who recommended the following sanctions: (1) a thirty-day suspension from the practice of law; (2) refunding fees to his client for failing to perform the agreed-upon legal services; and (3) payment of the costs of the disciplinary proceedings.

         The Trial Commissioner issued his report on April 25, 2017. Under SCR 3.360(4), either party may file a notice of appeal with the Disciplinary Clerk. If no notice is timely filed, the record is forwarded to the Supreme Court for entry of final order under SCR 3.370(9), which provides that "If no notice of review is filed by either of the parties, or the Court...the Court shall enter an order adopting the decision of the Board or the Trial Commissioner, whichever the case may be, relating to all matters." Neither Gibson nor the KBA filed a notice of appeal from the Trial Commissioner's report, and upon a full examination of the record, this Court declines to take further review. So, under the terms of SCR 3.370(9), we now adopt the Commissioner's findings of fact and recommended sanctions verbatim.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

1. The Respondent, Carl Wayne Gibson, was admitted to the Kentucky Bar Association on October 11, 2002.
2. Mr. Michael Todd Dove hired the Respondent in March of 2014 and paid the Respondent approximately $680.00 to represent him in an uncontested divorce action. Such fee paid by Mr. Dove included $500.00 for legal services and a $176.00 filing fee.
3. Mr. Dove and his now ex-wife finalized and signed all necessary paperwork pertaining to the divorce by May 5, 2014.
4. The Respondent text messaged with Mr. Dove regarding the proceedings. On April 11, 2014, the Respondent texted Mr. Dove and stated that, "Judge has it for review. His clerk will call if he has questions. If hot, he will have it wrapped up soon." The Respondent apologized to Mr. Dove via text message on April 22, 2014 and advised Mr. Dove that he 'was in Court at the moment and would stop by the Judge's office that day to check the status of the matter. Mr. Dove requested status updates via text message on April 24, May 1, May 6, and May 19, 2014. The only response to those text messages by the Respondent was on May 19, 2014, at which time the Respondent stated he would try to get in and see the Judge and stated, "If not, I will just go on and put it on the calendar."
5. The Respondent did prepare a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, which was signed by Mr. Dove and-his now ex-wife and an Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service which was signed by his now ex-wife which were finally filed with the Clark Circuit Court on or about June 5, 2014. No documents were filed in the divorce action prior to June 5, 2014.
6. On June 5, 2014, the Respondent advised Mr. Dove via text message that he had filed a Motion to be heard oh July 8, 2014. The Respondent has provided no explanation as to what Motion he filed that was to be heard on July 8th and the Court record from the divorce action reveals that no Motion was filed by the Respondent.
7. On July 8, 2014 and July 9, 2014, Mr. Dove and the Respondent communicated by text message, at which time the Respondent indicated to Mr. Dove that "everything went fine, " that the Judge did not "indicate any issues" and that "I will know for sure in the next day or so."
8. Mr. Dove attempted further communications with the Respondent and attempted to get updates and reports regarding the status of his divorce from the Respondent throughout July and early August, without any response from the Respondent.
9. Mr. Dove contacted the Clark Circuit Court Clerk several times on his own and was advised that a couple of additional items were still needed in order for the divorce to be finalized. Mr. Dove then retained new counsel to finish his divorce.
10.The Court granted Mr. Dove's new counsel's Motion to Substitute Counsel and signed and entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decree for ...

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