OPINION AND ORDER
Kentucky Bar Association (KBA) charged Damian
Gallaher in six separate matters, each of which
proceeded as a default case under SCR 3.210. Based on its
proceedings, the KBA Board of Governors found Gallaher guilty
in all six cases, and recommended that Gallaher be suspended
from the practice of law for five years, with the suspension
being probated to one year upon Gallaher satisfying certain
conditions. We adopt the Board's recommendations. SCR
noted, this matter involves six separate KBA cases or files.
Because Gallaher had left his place of employment without a
forwarding address and had apparently failed to furnish a new
address to the KBA Director, SCR 3.175(1), efforts to notify
Gallaher by certified mail or personal service in all these
case files were unsuccessful. Thus, the complaints and
charges in all cases were served on Gallaher through the KBA
Director. SCR 3.175(2). We address each file in turn.
KBA File No. 16-DIS-0239 (Dye).
9, 2016, Kayla Dye retained Gallaher to represent her in a
divorce matter, paying him $1, 691 as a retainer. Gallaher
filed one pleading, a response to Dye's husband's
motion for temporary relief. Gallaher further appeared at a
hearing in June 2016 concerning that motion. Gallaher
thereafter failed to take any further action on the case,
including failure to file responses to certain
Interrogatories that had been served on Dye or to produce
documents. As a result, the circuit court issued two contempt
orders against Dye. "
retaining new counsel in September 2016, Dye filed a
complaint against Gallaher in September 2016. Dye asserted
that Gallaher failed to communicate matters with her relating
to her case despite her numerous attempts to contact him.
was charged with a violation of the following rules:
Count I: SCR 3.130(1.3): "A lawyer shall act with
reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a
Count II: SCR 3.130(1.4)(a)(3) and (4): "A lawyer shall:
(3) keep the client reasonably informed about the status of
the matter; and (4) promptly comply with reasonable requests
Count III: SCR 3.130(1.16)(d): "Upon termination of
representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent
reasonably practicable to protect a client's interests,
such as giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time
for employment of other counsel, surrendering papers and
property to which the client is entitled and refunding any
advance payment of fee or expense that has not been earned or
Count IV: SCR 3.130(8.4)(c): "It is professional
misconduct for a lawyer to ... engage in conduct involving
dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation".
KBA FILE 16-DIS-0264 (Womack).
represented Mark Womack in a divorce matter involving Heather
Jenkins pending in the Boyd Circuit Court. In May 2016, the
court conducted a hearing at which it found Womack in
contempt for failure to pay daycare expenses and child
support and issued an arrest warrant for Womack. The court
further directed Rhonda Copley, Jenkins' counsel, to
prepare an order to provide that. Womack could purge himself
of the arrest warrant by paying the amount due.
the hearing, Gallaher contacted Ms. Copley to advise that
Womack issued a check payable to him for $2, 900 in payment
for the daycare expenses and child support. However, Gallaher
failed to turn over the check despite numerous requests from
counsel. Gallaher even provided Ms. Copley with a copy of the
check, but stated that it was thrown in a box as he was
moving offices and he was unable to find it. Ms. Copley
ultimately filed a motion to compel in September 2016. The
circuit court ordered Gallaher to immediately turn over the
check. The check was never paid.
Inquiry Commission initiated a complaint in December 2016
after receiving a letter from Ms. Copley regarding the
actions of Gallaher. The Inquiry Commission thereafter issued
a charge against Gallaher asserting violation of the
Count I: SCR 3.130(4.4)(a): "In representing a client, a
lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose
other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, or
use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal
rights of such a person."
Count II: SCR 3. 130(8.4)(c): "It is professional
misconduct for a lawyer to . . . engage in conduct involving
dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."
KB A FILE 16-DIS-0347 (Oliver).
March 2016, Dennis M. Oliver retained Gallaher to represent
him in two matters: (1) a criminal case involving a charge of
assault in the 4th degree pending in the Green up District
Court and (2) a family court visitation matter. Oliver paid
Gallaher $2, 000 as a retainer, $1, 500 in March 2016, and
$500 in April 2016.
rescheduled a pretrial conference in the criminal case and
appeared at that pretrial, but only spoke with Oliver
immediately prior to the hearing. Another pretrial was set
for October 12, 2016. Gallaher did not contact Oliver
regarding the case in the interim. Additionally, Gallaher
failed to appear at the October pretrial hearing.
asserts that Gallaher took no further action on his criminal
case and the district court ultimately appointed a public
defender to represent him. Oliver also claims that Gallaher
failed to take any action with respect to his visitation
matter. As a result, Oliver has not seen his three-year-old
daughter since March 2016. Oliver filed a complaint against
Gallaher in November 2016.
Inquiry Commission filed a four (4) count charge against
Gallaher alleging the following rule violations:
Count I: SCR 3.130(1.3): "A lawyer shall act with
reasonable diligence and promptness in representing ...