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Greene v. Kentucky Bar Association

Supreme Court of Kentucky

February 14, 2019

FRED GARLAND GREENE MOVANT
v.
KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION RESPONDENT

          OPINION AND ORDER

         Movant, Fred Garland Greene, was admitted to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky on September 1, 1972. His Kentucky Bar Association ("KBA") member number is 26890, and his bar roster address is P.O. Box 490, Russellville, KY 42276. Pursuant to SCR 3.480(2), he moves this Court to enter a negotiated sanction imposing a three-year suspension. The KBA has no objection. Finding this sanction to be the appropriate discipline for his misconduct, we grant Greene's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Greene has a history of prior discipline. He received private admonitions July 22, 1985, August 11, 2004, May 7, 2007, September 20, 2012, March 20, 2013, July 17, 2013, and July 17, 2017. He received a public reprimand and thirty-day suspension with conditions on November 21, 2012. Most recently, Greene received a one hundred and eighty-one-day suspension with sixty-one-days probated for one year upon conditions on October 20, 2016.

         The current case spans three consolidated KBA files which arise from a period when Greene was suspended from the practice of law. We will address each in turn.

         A. KBA 17-DIS-0044

         Greene represented Mr. and Mrs. Damon Green in a property action during his suspension from the practice of law. Throughout this representation, Greene sent letters regarding the case to the clients, advising them on legal matters. He also sent a letter to counsel for the opposing party in a case in which he stated he had advised the clients.

         The Inquiry Commission issued a two-count charge against Greene alleging violations of SCR 3.130(5.5)(a)(1) and SCR 3.130(3.4)(c). SCR 3.130(5)(a) reads: "A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, or assist another in doing so." SCR 3.130(3.4) reads: "A lawyer shall not: (c) knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists."

         Movant admits that he violated SCR 3.130(3.4)(c) by engaging in the practice of law in violation of his suspension order. He requests dismissal of the SCR 3.130(5.5)(a)(1) count. The KBA has no objection.

         B. KBA 17-DIS-0255

         Greene's son, Jim Greene, and daughter-in-law, Lara Hunt, are attorneys licensed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In early 2017, Greene requested Jim and Lara to come to Russellville and discuss an opinion letter (dated in 2015) regarding one of his clients, Peggy Violett.

         Jim, Lara, their child, and his friend met in Greene's law office with Violett, her two daughters and two sons-in-law on February 17, 2017. At the time of the meeting, Jim, Lara, and Violett were unaware that Greene was suspended from the practice of law.

         Greene asked Lara to prepare an estate plan for Violett. After some correspondence regarding the matter, Lara learned that Greene was suspended from practice. Lara advised Greene she would no longer assist him in Violett's estate plan matter.

         Violett met with Greene at his residence regarding the estate plan. Greene reviewed and discussed draft documents with Violett and told her to take the drafts with her, make changes, and return the drafts to him. Violett returned the documents to Greene with her changes.

         On May 26, 2017, Violett visited Greene's law office where he and his administrative assistant were present. During this visit, four documents were executed: a will, a power of attorney, a trust, and a health care surrogate. One of the witnesses to the will was listed as William Sandlin. However, it was not William who signed the will but his wife, Joyce, Greene's assistant. Greene notarized William's purported signature on the will.

         Further, Greene dated the will, power of attorney, trust, and health care surrogate as if executed on December 1, 2015. Per Greene's request, Violett wrote him a check for $2, 500 after the documents were executed. Greene took the check to the bank and cashed it that day. On or about July 19, 2017, Violett ...


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