OPINION AND ORDER
Thomas Sparks, Kentucky Bar Association (KBA) Number 85840,
was admitted to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of
Kentucky on October 13, 1995, and his bar roster address is
listed as 1719 Ashley Circle, Suite 100, P.O. Box 1925,
Bowling Green, Kentucky, 42102. Based on three separate KBA
files, the Board of Governors recommends this Court find
Sparks guilty of violating SCR 3.130-1.3 (three counts),
3.130-1.4(a)(3) (three counts), 3.130-1.4(a)(4) (three
counts), 3.130-1.5, 3.130-1.15(a), 3.130-1.16(d) . (three
counts), 3.130-3.4(c) (two counts), 3.130-5.5, and
3.130-8.4(c). For these violations, the Board recommends
Sparks be permanently disbarred from the practice of law and
pay all associated costs. For the following reasons, we adopt
the Board's recommendation.
current case spans three separate KBA files. We will address
each in turn.
KBA File Number 16-DIS-0353
Putty paid Sparks $20, 000 to represent his grandson Trevor
in a civil lawsuit stemming from Trevor's assault.
Service was never completed against the named defendant or
several John Does identified in the complaint.
case was ultimately dismissed for lack of prosecution. Larry
died the year after he paid Sparks to represent Trevor, and
three years after all correspondence from Sparks ceased, two
of Trevor's family members filed bar complaints against
Sparks. Copies of the complaints were mailed to Sparks at his
bar roster address, but were returned as undeliverable.
Attempted service by the Warren County Sheriffs office also
failed, and Sparks was served pursuant to 3.175(2) via
service on the KBA Director. Sparks failed to respond to
either bar complaint.
the Inquiry Commission issued an eight-count charge, alleging
Sparks had violated: (1) SCR 3.130-1.3 (by failing to act
with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing
Trevor); (2) 3.130-1.4(a)(3) (by failing to keep Trevor
reasonably informed about the status of his case); (3)
3.130-1.4(a)(4) (by failing to promptly comply with
reasonable requests for information); (4) 3.130-1.5 (by
collecting an unreasonable fee); (5) 3.130-1.15(a) (by
failing to hold the funds paid him by Larry on Trevor's
behalf separate from his own property); (6) 3.130-1.16(d) (by
failing to protect Trevor's interests by giving him
reasonable notice, surrendering Trevor's file, and
refunding any unearned fee); (7) 3.130-3.4(c) (by knowingly
disobeying an obligation under the rules of a tribunal); and
(8) 3.130-8.4(c) (by engaging in conduct involving
"dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation").
of the charge was attempted in much the same way as it had
been for the complaints. After other attempts at service
failed, Sparks was served via the KBA Director. Sparks did
not respond to the charge.
KBA File Number 16-16157
facts concerning the second charge contained in the case at
bar involve Larry Putty's daughter, Kandy Putty Fear and
her husband Gregory. Kandy and Gregory paid Sparks a $2, 500
retainer to represent them in a legal matter related to real
property. Sparks did file a lawsuit on Kandy and
Gregory's behalf. However, after being granted a
continuance in that case, he pursued no further action until
after he was suspended from the practice of law by this Court
in a separate matter, Kentucky BarAss'n v.
Sparks, 480 S.W.3d 278 (Ky. 2016). Then, in spite of the
fact that he was suspended from the practice of law at the
time, Sparks filed a pretrial compliance statement and
appeared before the court at a pretrial conference. Sparks
failed to schedule his clients' depositions and did not
return the phone calls or letters of opposing counsel. The
trial court eventually dismissed the Fears' lawsuit for
failure to prosecute the case after no one appeared in court
on their behalf at a hearing.
Inquiry Commission filed a six-count charge against Sparks
related to the Fears' case, alleging Sparks had violated:
(1) SCR 3.130-1.3 (by failing to act with reasonable
diligence and promptness in representing the Fears); (2)
3.130-1.4(a)(3) (by failing to keep the Fears reasonably
informed about the status of their case); (3) 3.130-1.4(a)(4)
(by failing to promptly comply with the Fears' reasonable
requests for information); (4) 3.130-1.16(d) (by failing to
protect the Fears' interests by giving them reasonable
notice, surrendering their file, and refunding any unearned
fee); (5) 3.130-3.4(c) (by knowingly disobeying an obligation
under the rules of a tribunal); and (6) 3.130-5.5 (by
practicing law while under suspension from the practice).
the previous file, service through the mail and the Sheriffs
office upon Sparks were unsuccessful. Service was completed
through the KBA Director, and, again, Sparks responded to
neither the complaint nor the charge.
KBA File Number 17-DIS-0108
Bobby Gilmer hired Sparks to file a lawsuit on his behalf
against a contractor. Gilmer, an elderly retired veteran,
paid Sparks $2, 500 as an advance retainer. Sparks's sole
communication with Gilmer was one letter regarding the
representation. Gilmer ...