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In re Pattison

June 8, 2007

IN THE MATTER OF JAMES B. PATTISON, RESPONDENT.


Per curiam.

ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN DISCIPLINE

Indefinite suspension.

This is an original uncontested proceeding in discipline filed by the Disciplinary Administrator against respondent, James B. Pattison, an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Kansas on April 28, 2000. The respondent was admitted to the practice of law in the state of Virginia in 1991. The respondent's last registration address filed with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts of Kansas is in Hutchinson, Kansas.

The formal complaint herein charged respondent with violating Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct (KRPC) 1.3 (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 371) (diligence), KRPC 1.4 (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 386) (communication), KRPC 1.15 (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 435) (safekeeping property), and KRPC 8.4 (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 510) (misconduct). The respondent filed an answer to the formal complaint admitting the alleged violations. A hearing was held before a panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys on January 16, 2007. The respondent appeared in person and pro se. At the hearing, the respondent admitted the factual allegations and KRPC violations set forth in the formal complaint.

In its final hearing report the panel concluded that the respondent violated KRPC 1.3, 1.4, 1.15(a), and 8.4(d). The hearing panel unanimously recommended that the respondent be indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in the state of Kansas. The respondent filed no exceptions to the final hearing report and, by letter dated March 5, 2007, to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, stated he agreed with all aspects of the report.

The panel found and concluded as follows:

"FINDINGS OF FACT

"Count I

"2. In March, 2003, Heriberto R. Martinez retained the Respondent to represent him in a felony drug case. Mr. Martinez and his companion, Vicki Unruh, paid the Respondent $1,600 for attorney fees associated with the case.

"3. The Respondent appeared in behalf of Mr. Martinez at the preliminary hearing. Following a contested hearing, Mr. Martinez was bound over on the felony charge. Following the preliminary hearing, the Respondent requested that Mr. Martinez provide the Respondent with $400 to obtain a transcript of the preliminary hearing. On July 7, 2003, Mr. Martinez paid the Respondent $400 for the transcript.

"4. The Respondent did not purchase a transcript from the court reporter. The Respondent converted the $400 to his own use.

"5. The Court scheduled trial for September 17, 2003. Prior to the trial date, Mr. Martinez and Ms. Unruh repeatedly attempted to contact the Respondent. Mr. Martinez met with the Respondent on a couple of occasions. However, the Respondent failed to return nearly all of Mr. Martinez' telephone calls.

"6. Prior to the trial date, the Respondent sought and obtained a continuance of the trial to October 6, 2003. However, the Respondent failed to inform Mr. Martinez that the trial had been continued. As a result, on September 17, 2003, Mr. Martinez appeared in court for trial. After arriving at the courthouse, Mr. Martinez learned that his trial had been continued to October 6, 2003.

"7. Finally, on September 23, 2003, the Respondent contacted Mr. Martinez and informed him of the new trial date.

"8. Mr. Martinez continued having difficulty communicating with the Respondent. On September 30, 2003, Mr. Martinez wrote to the Court and requested a new attorney. Mr. Martinez informed the Court that the Respondent had failed to keep him informed regarding the case. Thereafter, the Court appointed an attorney to represent Mr. Martinez.

"Count II

"9. Also in March, 2003, Ms. Unruh retained the Respondent to represent her at an aid in execution hearing regarding a collection matter that had previously been reduced to a judgment. Ms. Unruh paid the Respondent $400 for the representation. The Respondent continued the first setting of the hearing.

"10. Ms. Unruh repeatedly attempted to contact the Respondent regarding her case. The Respondent failed to return her telephone calls.

"11. Ms. Unruh appeared at the aid in execution hearing scheduled following the Respondent's requested continuance. However, the Respondent failed to appear at the hearing. Plaintiff's counsel, David Shriver, called the Respondent from the courthouse. The Respondent informed Mr. Shriver that he would not be appearing at ...


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