In the Matter of Lawrence E. Schneider, Respondent.
PROCEEDING IN DISCIPLINE Original proceeding in discipline.
Moylan, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, argued the cause,
and Stanton A. Hazlett, Disciplinary Administrator, was with
her on the formal complaint for the petitioner.
Lawrence E. Schneider, respondent, argued the cause pro se.
an original proceeding in discipline filed by the office of
the Disciplinary Administrator against the respondent,
Lawrence E. Schneider, of Topeka, an attorney admitted to the
practice of law in Kansas in 1977.
September 7, 2016, the office of the Disciplinary
Administrator filed a formal complaint against the respondent
alleging violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional
Conduct (KRPC). The respondent filed an answer on October 3,
2016. A hearing was held on the complaint before a panel of
the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys on November 8,
2016, where the respondent was personally present. The
hearing panel determined that respondent violated KRPC 1.3
(2017 Kan. S.Ct. R. 290) (diligence), and 1.4(b) (2017 Kan.
S.Ct. R. 291) (communication).
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
. . . .
Throughout the respondent's career, he has been a solo
practitioner. Over time, his practice has become focused
primarily in the area of bankruptcy law.
In April, 2011, the Kansas legislature enacted K.S.A.
60-2315, which allows a debtor in bankruptcy to claim, as
exempt, federal and state earned income tax credits.
On January 29, 2013, the respondent filed a chapter 7
bankruptcy petition on behalf of A.J. and M.J., husband and
wife. At that time, the respondent's practice was to not
list a possible federal and state earned income tax credit
exemption on the schedule C to the bankruptcy petition.
Rather, the respondent's practice was to amend the
schedule C if a client received a federal or state earned
income tax credit exemption. The respondent acknowledges that
his practice was not the best practice. However, the
respondent points out that a debtor may amend a schedule any
time prior to discharge.
In this case, as a result of the respondent's practice,
the respondent did not list the debtors' federal and
state earned income tax credit exemption on the schedule C
filed with the chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.
On April 8, 2014, the bankruptcy trustee filed a motion for
the debtors to turn over their 2012 income tax refunds in the
amount of $2, 999.50. The respondent failed to file a
response to the motion. On May 15, 2014, the court granted
the trustee's motion and ordered the debtors to provide
the trustee with their income tax refund in the amount of $2,
"12. On May 17, 2014, the respondent filed an amended
schedule C to the bankruptcy petition. The amended schedule C
listed $2, 991.00 as exempt federal and state earned income
The debtors did not pay the income tax refunds in the amount
of $2, 999.50 to the trustee as ordered by the court.
On July 1, 2014, the trustee filed a motion asking that the
court order the debtors and the respondent to appear and show
cause why the debtors should not be held in contempt for
failing to comply with the court's May 15, 2014, order.
The court issued an order to show cause.
The respondent and the trustee established a monthly payment
plan and the respondent personally paid the $2, 999.50 to the
trustee in full.
On June 24, 2013, the respondent filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy
petition on behalf of J.R. and I.R., husband and wife. Again,
based on his pattern and practice, the respondent did not
list the debtors' possible 2013 federal and state earned
income credit exemption on the schedule C to their bankruptcy
petition. On March 20, 2014, the bankruptcy court entered a
discharge order, discharging the debtors' debts.
On April 18, 2014, the bankruptcy trustee filed a motion
requesting authority to allocate $1, 994.52 of the
debtors' $5, 160.00 2013 federal and state income tax
refund. On May 6, 2014, the respondent filed a response to
the trustee's motion, arguing that $4, 068.00 of the
debtors' state and federal income tax refunds were exempt
as earned income credit.
On May 9, 2014, the respondent filed an amended schedule C to
the bankruptcy petition, listing $4, 068.00 of the
debtors' income tax refunds as exempt federal and state
earned income credit. On May 15, 2014, the trustee filed an
objection to the amended schedule C, arguing that the
debtors' inexcusable delay in claiming the exemption
caused prejudice to the trustee and that the claimed
exemption should therefore be denied as waived.
Later, the respondent and the trustee entered into a
compromise and settlement whereby the ...