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In re Florez

Supreme Court of Kansas

January 24, 2014

In the Matter of Pantaleon FLOREZ, Jr., Respondent.

Page 756

Stanton A. Hazlett, Disciplinary Administrator, argued the cause and was on the formal complaint for the petitioner.

John J. Ambrosio, of Ambrosio & Ambrosio, Chtd., of Topeka, argued the cause, and Pantaleon Florez, Jr., respondent, argued the cause pro se.

ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN DISCIPLINE.

PER CURIAM.

This is an original proceeding in discipline filed by the Disciplinary Administrator's office against the respondent, Pantaleon Florez, Jr., of Topeka, an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Kansas in 1981.

On August 31, 2012, the office of the Disciplinary Administrator filed a formal complaint against the respondent alleging violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct (KRPC). Respondent answered on September 24, 2012. The disciplinary administrator and respondent entered into a written stipulation on February 25, 2013. A panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys held a hearing on February 27, 2013, where respondent appeared in person and through counsel. The hearing panel determined that respondent violated KRPC 8.4(d) (2013 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 655) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) and 8.4(g) (engaging in conduct adversely reflecting on lawyer's fitness to practice law).

Upon conclusion of the hearing, the panel made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, together with its recommendation to this court:

" FINDINGS OF FACT
....
" 8. On February 25, 2013, the respondent, his counsel, and Mr. Hazlett entered into a written stipulation. In the stipulation, the respondent admitted to [298 Kan. 812] facts as detailed below. Additionally, the respondent stipulated that he violated KRPC 8.4(d) and KRPC 8.4(g). The stipulation provided as follows:
‘ COMES NOW the Disciplinary Administrator's Office, through Stanton A. Hazlett, and the respondent, through John Ambrosio, and enter into the following stipulation in Case DA11,388. Both the Disciplinary Administrator's Office and the respondent understand that this stipulation is not binding on the panel hearing this case or on the Kansas Supreme Court. The Disciplinary Administrator and the respondent stipulate as follows:
‘ 1. Pantaleon Florez, Jr. is an attorney at law, Kansas Attorney Registration No. 10889....
‘ 2. On September 9, 2008, the complainant, [L.L.], filed a paternity action in Sedgwick County District Court in which it was alleged that the respondent, Pantaleon Florez, Jr., was the father of A.L. The complainant sought a determination of visitation and custody and temporary orders.
‘ 3. The respondent filed an Answer on September 26, 2008, in which he stated that he was without sufficient information to admit or deny that he was the father of A.L. He represented himself at this time.
‘ 4. On December 2, 2008, the court ordered that the respondent pay temporary child support in the amount of $500.00 a month from the date of the child's birth, August 26, 2008. Also, on December 2, 2008, the court ordered the respondent to provide income information and complete a domestic relations affidavit. On December 4, 2008, the respondent was served with interrogatories and a request for production of documents. The respondent had 30 days,

Page 757

pursuant to K.S.A. 60-233 and 234, until January 4, 2009, to answer the interrogatories. By this time it had been determined that the respondent was the father of A.L.
‘ 5. On January 26, 2009, the complainant filed a motion to compel respondent to provide income information, including the respondent's 2007, and 2008, income tax returns and bank statements. The complainant requested that the respondent file his domestic relations affidavit. On January 28, 2009, an amended motion to compel was filed. In that motion, complainant's counsel alleged that respondent had not provided income information previously requested. The respondent did file a domestic relations affidavit on March 27, 2009.
‘ 6. On February 24, 2009, the respondent was ordered by the court to provide complainant's counsel with copies of the respondent's 2006, 2007 and 2008 tax returns by April 15, 2009. The respondent was to provide his 2004 and 2005 tax returns within ten days of February 24 and to respond to interrogatories within 30 days. Also on February 24, 2009, the complainant filed an Affidavit In Contempt alleging that the respondent had failed to provide the documents previously ordered by the court to be produced.
[298 Kan. 813] ‘ 7. On June 1, 2009, the complainant filed a motion seeking various temporary orders. In that motion, the complainant noted that the domestic relations affidavit filed by the respondent was incomplete, the 2006, 2007 and 2008 tax returns had not been produced as ordered by the court and that other financial information had not been provided as promised by the respondent.
‘ 8. On September 17, 2009, a hearing was held after which Judge Patrick Walters ordered that the respondent pay child support in the amount of $918.00 a month from the date of A.L.'s birth. The Judge imputed $80,000.00 in yearly income to the respondent. The respondent had not provided tax returns for the years 2007, and 2008, as ordered by the court because he had not filed returns for those years. In addition, the complainant was awarded judgment for medical bills in the amount of $1,021.18, reimbursement of lab costs for DNA tests in the amount of $420.00 and attorney's fees assessed against the respondent in the amount of $15,408.93 to be paid to the attorney for the complainant. The court's orders were journalized on February 22, 2010. At the September 17, 2009, hearing the respondent acknowledged that he had not provided tax returns for the years 2007 and 2008 to opposing counsel as ordered by the court. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Walters admonished the respondent for his failure to provide his tax returns to counsel in spite of court orders to do so on several occasions. Judge Walters cited the respondent's failure to comply with the judge's orders regarding providing income information to opposing counsel as the basis for imputing income of $80,000.00 to the respondent.
‘ 9. On June 24, 2010, the respondent filed an appeal of the court's ruling regarding imputed income and the attorney's fees awarded against the respondent. On July 15, 2011, the Kansas Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's ruling on all issues.
'10. On July 30, 2010, the complainant filed a motion requesting that the respondent be held in contempt. The motion set out allegations that the respondent had again failed to file to pay [ sic ] child support, medical expenses and DNA costs.
'11. On August 10, 2010, a hearing was held at which the respondent was ordered by Judge Robb Rumsey to provide financial information regarding his law practice within ten days to the complainant's counsel. The respondent was also ordered to provide his accounts receivables and billing statements from his law practice to opposing counsel within 30 days. On October 26, 2010, the complainant filed ...

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