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Kentucky Bar Association v. King

Supreme Court of Kentucky

September 28, 2017

KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION MOVANT
v.
JAMES GRANT KING RESPONDENT AND JAMES GRANT KING MOVANT
v.
KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION RESPONDENT

          OPINION AND ORDER

         Movant, James Grant King, Kentucky Bar Association (KBA) Number 88465, [1] admits to violating the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct and moves this Court to impose the sanction of permanent disbarment. The KBA has no objection to King's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The misconduct leading up to King's motion to resign under terms of permanent disbarment spans six KBA files and occurred over the course of more than a decade. Only one of the files has progressed to the point of the KBA issuing charges, however, King acknowledges that sufficient facts exist in the remaining files to justify the issuance of charges. In order to terminate all KBA proceedings, he seeks to resign under terms of permanent disbarment.

         The facts contained in the KBA files are disconcerting to say the least. On separate occasions, King used various clients' funds for his personal use. To do so, King used an assortment of tactics. He lied about settlement agreements, failed to reimburse entities with subrogation interests, wrote cold checks, and falsified information. King has since been indicted on three felony charges related to fraud he perpetrated after defaulting on a loan.

         A. KBA File 16-DIS-0012

         King represented Duane Isbell in a personal injury action in 2006. An agreed order was entered in 2007 stating Isbell would receive $75, 000, but would be required to reimburse Medicare for his medical bills. King placed $20, 000 of the settlement in escrow, purportedly to pay Medicare following negotiations of the total bill. King collected his fee out of the remaining $55, 000, then distributed the balance to Isbell. King negotiated a reimbursement total of almost $14, 000 with Medicare in 2008 and sent Isbell a letter in 2009 indicating he paid Medicare. In 2010, King gave Isbell a check for around $6, 000, which should have been the balance remaining in the escrow account after paying Medicare. Isbell grew concerned when years passed without him receiving a release from Medicare. In 2013, King sent Isbell a letter and a second check purportedly to Medicare from a separate escrow account. However, that account had been drained of funds.

         In 2016, Medicare told Isbell it had never received a check from King and that interest had accrued over the years. Isbell's balance at that time was more than $25, 000. Isbell and Medicare both requested a copy of the cancelled check from King, but King responded to neither party.

         The Inquiry Commission charged King with violating SCR 3.130-1.3 for failing to pay Medicare on Isbell's behalf, -1.15(a) for comingling funds, and -8.4(c) for deceiving Isbell with a check written to Medicare from an account he knew had a zero balance and dishonestly misappropriating the funds he should have used to pay Medicare. \ '

         B. KBA File 16-DIS-0393

         Bruce Jett, King's neighbor, loaned King $97, 500. Under the terms of the promissory note, King was to pay interest of 3.5% per annum and pay the . loan off in full within a year. King also signed the title of a bass boat over to. Jett as collateral. After King failed to make any payments on the loan, Jett attempted to transfer the title to the boat into his name as partial payment for the debt. However, King had fraudulently applied for a lost title and used the copy to sell the boat to another individual. King apparently used the funds to purchase another boat. King gave the new boat to Jett as partial repayment, but Jett had to pay a balance on the boat, as King could not pay the difference. As of the time this case was filed, King still owed Jett approximately $30, 000, with interest continuing to accrue.

         Based on these actions, the McCracken County Grand Jury indicted King of three felonies: defrauding a secured creditor, entering false information to produce a title document, and theft by deception.

         The Inquiry Commission has not issued a formal charge related to this KBA file, as it placed the case in abeyance pending the outcome of the underlying criminal charges.

         C. KBA File 17-DIS-0067

         Randall and Holley Reaves hired King to represent them in a car wreck case. The Reavises also granted King a limited power of attorney. King signed an agreement on behalf of Holley, settling her case for $33, 000 and releasing all claims. However, in spite of this settlement, King continued to advise the Reavises that their case was still ongoing. Holley finally contacted the insurance carrier, and was advised her claim had been settled and a check had been issued. Holley also learned that Randall's ...


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