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In re Evans

October 26, 2007

IN THE MATTER OF DORSEY EVANS, RESPONDENT.


Per curiam.

ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN DISCIPLINE

Indefinite suspension.

This is an original uncontested proceeding in discipline filed by the Disciplinary Administrator against respondent, Dorsey Evans, an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Kansas on February 11, 1959, albeit respondent has been administratively suspended in this state since November 20, 1987. Respondent is also admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland. The respondent's last registration address filed with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts of Kansas is Washington, D.C.

The complaint against respondent in this state arises out of a final adjudication of a disciplinary action and accompanying sanction in the District of Columbia, for which respondent was also reciprocally sanctioned in the state of Maryland. The formal complaint here charged respondent with violating Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct (KRPC) 1.1 (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 358) (competence), KRPC 1.7(b) (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 411) (conflict of interest), and KRPC 8.4(d) (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 510) (misconduct).

A hearing was held before a panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys on May 3, 2007. The respondent appeared pro se, by telephone. During his direct examination, the respondent testified that he had fulfilled the requirements for reinstatement in the District of Columbia. He was reinstated to the practice of law with the condition of probation and oversight of his practice on September 6, 2006. The respondent had also been reinstated to the practice of law in Maryland on March 13, 2007.

HEARING PANEL FINDINGS

The hearing panel found the following facts by clear and convincing evidence:

"2. The Respondent was admitted to the practice of law in the District of Columbia on June 1, 1960. Thereafter, on December 10, 1985, the Respondent was admitted to the practice of law in the state of Maryland.

"3. On April 27, 2006, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued an order of discipline regarding the Respondent. See In re Evans, 902 A.2d 56 (D.C. 2006). In its opinion, the Court incorporated the Board on Professional Responsibility's report. The findings of fact contained in the Board's report included the following:

A. Respondent's Practice

"1. Respondent is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, having been admitted on June 1, 1960. Respondent is also admitted to practice law in Maryland and Kansas.

"2. Respondent's practice has included probate matters in the D.C. Superior Court since that court was formed in 1972.

"3. Respondent also has an active real estate settlement practice. In 1997, Respondent owned Delco Title, which he operated out of his law office in Silver Spring, Maryland. Bankers Financial Group, a mortgage lending company, used Respondent and Delco Title repeatedly for mortgage settlements over a three- to four-year period through 1997, sending Delco Title approximately 20 loans per month for handling.

B. The Heirs of Zaidee Robinson

"4. Mrs. Zaidee H. Robinson died in 1987. At the time of her death, Zaidee Robinson owned real property located at 716 Ingraham Street in northwest Washington, D.C. (hereinafter the 'Ingraham Street property'). As of April 1997, Zaidee Robinson's estate had never been probated.

"5. Zaidee Robinson was survived by two sons, Maurice and Clifton.

"6. Maurice Robinson died in 1989. He was survived by his wife, Carolyn Robinson and two sons Qawi and Yusef. At the time of his death, Maurice and his family resided at the Ingraham Street property.

"7. Following his mother's death, Clifton Robinson was incarcerated.

C. Respondent's Representation of Carolyn Robinson

"8. On April 17, 1997, Bankers Financial contacted Delco Title about handling a closing on a real estate loan for Carolyn Robinson. The loan was for $65,000 on the Ingraham Street property, where Carolyn Robinson lived at the time.

"9. At some point after the initial referral, Respondent learned that the Ingraham Street property was deeded to Zaidee rather than Carolyn Robinson. Carolyn Robinson subsequently retained Respondent to assist her in becoming personal representative of Zaidee Robinson's estate and in closing the loan on the Ingraham Street property. As described by Respondent, his 'office was asked to handle a title closing for Carolyn Robinson and a probate estate was opened to have the appropriate people appointed to sign for the loan.'

"10. The Committee concluded that the record is unclear regarding whether Respondent or a representative of Delco Title or anyone else in Respondent's office disclosed his interest in Delco Title to Carolyn Robinson. We disagree with this finding in view of Respondent's testimony that there was no situation in which it would have been appropriate for him to disclose his interest in Delco to Carolyn Robinson and that he had no knowledge whether she had such information prior to representing her in connection with the estate. Accordingly, the Board finds that Bar Counsel proved by clear and convincing evidence that Respondent did not himself disclose his conflict to Carolyn Robinson and did not know whether she had knowingly waived the potential conflict prior to representing her in his capacity as an attorney.

"11. On April 24, 1997, Respondent filed a Petition for Probate in the Probate Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, on behalf of Qawi S. Robinson, Carolyn Robinson, and Clifton Robinson, as petitioners. Qawi and Carolyn Robinson are listed as personal representatives. The petition bears signatures of all three petitioners and Respondent signed as counsel.

"12. The petition listed Maurice Robinson, Carolyn's husband, as 'deceased.' At the time of the filing, no probate estate had been opened for Maurice Robinson.

"13. The petition listed Clifton Robinson as 'incarcerated.' Respondent was informed by Carolyn Robinson that Clifton would waive his interest in the estate. Respondent made no effort to confirm this purported waiver with Clifton Robinson.

"14. Forms entitled 'Renunciation, Nomination of Personal Representative and Waiver of Bond' signed by Clifton and Yusef Robinson were filed with the Petition (the 'renunciation forms').

"15. On April 29, 1997, a Probate Judge signed an Abbreviated Probate Order appointing Carolyn and Qawi Robinson as co-personal representatives of the estate of Zaidee Robinson.

"16. On May 8, 1997, Qawi and Carolyn Robinson, as co-personal representatives of the estate, deeded the Ingraham Street property to Carolyn Robinson.

"17. The same day, Carolyn Robinson executed a Deed of Trust mortgaging the Ingraham Street property for $65,000.

"18. The interest rate on the mortgage was 12.930%. A broker's fee of $6,500 was paid to Bankers ...


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