ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN DISCIPLINE
Original proceeding in discipline.
This is an original proceeding in discipline filed by the office of the Disciplinary Administrator against the respondent, Roger Batt, of Wichita, an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Kansas in 1991.
On February 9, 2012, the office of the Disciplinary Administrator filed a formal complaint against the respondent alleging violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct (KRPC). A hearing was held on the complaint before a panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys on May 15, 2012, where the respondent appeared pro se. The hearing panel determined that respondent violated KRPC 1.3 (2011 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 433) (diligence); 1.4(a) (2011 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 452) (communication); 1.16(a)(3) and (d) (2011 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 535) (termination of representation); 3.2 (2011 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 552) (expediting litigation); 8.4(d) (2011 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 618) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice); and Kansas Supreme Court Rule 207(b) (2011 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 314) (failure to cooperate in disciplinary investigation).
Upon conclusion of the hearing, the panel made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, together with its recommendation to this court:
"6. [M.B.], an inmate at the Lansing Correctional Facility, retained the Respondent to represent him in relation to his brother's probate case. The administrator of the estate asserted that Mr. [B.] was financially obligated to the estate. The issue was how the administrator offset the financial obligation against the inheritance Mr. [B.] was entitled to receive from his brother's estate.
"7. The administrator filed a petition and scheduled a hearing on the petition.
"8. The Respondent failed to maintain adequate communication with Mr. [B.].
"9. The Respondent failed to attend the hearing on the petition. The Respondent failed to inform Mr. [B.] of the scheduled hearing. The Court entered judgment against Mr. [B.] for the financial obligation.
"10. As a result of the Respondent's failure to communicate, Mr. [B.] terminated the Respondent's representation. After Mr. [B.] terminated the Respondent's representation, the Respondent failed to timely withdraw from the representation.
"11. The Respondent ultimately refunded the full retainer to Mr. [B.].
"12. The Respondent was appointed to represent the natural mother in an appeal of the termination of her parental rights to the Kansas Court of Appeals in a case titled In re D.O., Jr., T.A.O., M.L.P., appellate case number 103,755.
"13. The Court informed the Respondent that the case would be expedited and no extensions of time would be granted. The Respondent failed to file a brief by the deadline.
"14. The Court extended the time for the Respondent to file the brief. Again, the Respondent failed to file the brief.
"15. As a result of the Respondent's failure to file a brief, the Court dismissed the appeal and the natural mother lost her opportunity to have the Court of Appeals review the order terminating her parental rights.
"16. [J.D.W.] retained the Respondent to represent her in a guardianship case involving her son. Previously, as a result of financial difficulties, Ms. [W.] allowed her mother, [S.K.S.], to care for the child. When Ms. [W.'s] financial difficulties improved she sought to have the child returned to her care but Ms. [S.] refused and filed a guardianship case.
"17. Ms. [W.] paid the Respondent $1,500 for the representation and the Respondent entered his appearance.
"18. The Respondent agreed to continue the case, contrary to Ms. [W.'s] wishes. After agreeing to the continuance, Ms. [W.] never heard from the Respondent again.
"19. On February 22, 2010, Ms. [W.] wrote to the Respondent directing him to withdraw from the representation. The Respondent failed to withdraw from the representation.
"20. Ms. [W.] hired a subsequent attorney, Stephen M. Turley. Mr. Turley filed an emergency motion. As a result of Mr. Turley's actions, Ms. [W.'s] son was returned to her.
"21. Eventually, the Respondent refunded Ms. [W.'s] entire retainer.
"22. [J.D.] retained the Respondent to represent her in a post-divorce child custody matter. Ms. [D.] paid the Respondent $2,500.00 for the representation.
"23. The Respondent informed Ms. [D.] that the summer of 2009 was the best opportunity for Ms. [D.] to attempt to gain residential custody of three of her children. The Respondent filed a motion in behalf of Ms. [D.] for a change of custody.
"24. Ms. [D.] repeatedly attempted to contact the Respondent by telephone. Ms. [D.] left many messages for the Respondent on the Respondent's answering machine and the Respondent's voice mail. The Respondent failed to return Ms. [D.'s] telephone calls.
"25. After the Respondent filed the motion, the Respondent did not have any additional contact with Ms. [D.] or the Court.
"26. Ms. [D.] requested that the Respondent return the unearned attorney fees. The Respondent failed to return the unearned fees. Ms. [D.] contacted the fee dispute committee for assistance. The fee dispute committee contacted the Respondent in an attempt to address Ms. [D.'s] grievance. The Respondent failed to respond to the fee dispute committee.
"27. Eventually, Ms. [D.] filed a small claims action against the Respondent. On the day of trial, the Respondent appeared and refunded the entire attorney fee plus interest. As a result, Ms. [D.] dismissed the small claims action.
"28. Ms. [D.], however, lost the opportunity to attempt to regain custody of three of her children.
"29. In a child in need of care case, the Respondent entered his appearance in behalf of the natural mother. The natural mother's parental rights were terminated and the Respondent filed a timely notice of appeal, in In re L.Z.M.T.,appellate case number 105,153.
"30. The Respondent filed a request for a transcript. However, the Respondent's request was misdirected for some period of time. At the same time, the Kansas Court of ...