In the Matter of Daniel Hart Phillips, Respondent.
proceeding in discipline. One-year suspension.
R. Moylan, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, argued the
cause, and Stanton A. Hazlett, Disciplinary Administrator,
was with her on the formal complaint for the petitioner.
Craig Robinson, of Wichita, argued the cause, and Daniel Hart
Phillips, respondent, argued the cause pro se.
an uncontested original proceeding in discipline filed by the
office of the Disciplinary Administrator against respondent,
Daniel Hart Phillips, of Wichita, an attorney admitted to the
practice of law in Kansas in 1978.
February 16, 2017, the office of the Disciplinary
Administrator filed a formal complaint against respondent
alleging violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional
Conduct (KRPC). Respondent filed an answer on March 13, 2017.
A hearing was held on the complaint before a panel of the
Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys on May 31, 2017, at
which the respondent appeared personally and by counsel. The
panel determined that respondent violated KRPC 8.4(g) (2017
Kan. S.Ct. R. 379) (engaging in conduct adversely reflecting
on lawyer's fitness to practice law).
conclusion of the hearing, the panel made the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law, together with its
recommendation to this court:
"8. On April 27, 2016, A.J., a prospective client,
called the respondent, seeking representation. During the
telephone conversation, the respondent called A.J.,
'baby, ' which made A.J. feel uncomfortable. After
the respondent called A.J. 'baby, ' A.J. tape
recorded the remainder of their telephone conversation. The
respondent scheduled an office appointment with A.J. for the
next day. The remainder of the telephone conversation went as
'[By A.J.] You didn't forget about me, did you?
'[By the respondent] No, what do you need? With a voice
like that, I can't forget that.
'[By A.J.] Okay.
'[By the respondent] So you want to bring your paperwork
and come see me tomorrow at noon?
'[By A.J.] Yeah, that'll be fine.
'[By the respondent] Do you know where it's at?
'[By A.J.] No, I'm not really familiar.
'[By the respondent] Okay. So write this down. Okay?
'[By A.J.] Okay.
'[By the respondent] Tell me when you're ready.
'[By A.J.] I'm ready.
'[By the respondent] 1919 North Amidon.
'[By A.J.] Uh-huh.
'[By the respondent] I'm on the third floor, Suite
312. When you get off the elevator on the third floor, you do
a U-turn to your left.
'[By A.J.] Okay.
'[By the respondent] I'm down the hallway. Now, do
you know that Amidon is up there at 21st and Amidon where
Twin Lakes is?
'[By A.J.] Yeah, I know where-I know where that's at.
You need me to bring you pretty much everything that I got.
'[By the respondent] To show that you guys are married.
'[By A.J.] Okay.
'[By the respondent] And don't wear any under
A.J.'s nine year-old daughter overheard the
"9. On April 28, 2016, the respondent called A.J. three
times to confirm their appointment, but A.J. did not answer
the telephone calls. A.J. did not attend the scheduled
"10. On May 6, 2016, A.J. filed a complaint with the
disciplinary administrator's office regarding the
respondent's conduct. Additionally, A.J. filed a police
report against the respondent. The respondent's statement
caused A.J. to suffer anxiety and depression. Additionally,
the respondent's statement caused A.J. to lose faith in
the legal system.
"11. On June 15, 2016, the respondent provided a written
response to the complaint. The respondent's response, in
its entirety, is as follows:
'Please find this letter as a response to the above
referred to complaint by [A.J.]. I apologize that my response
took a bit longer than the twenty days normally allowed in
matters of this nature. It was my intent to ultimately
provide Ms. Baird, Mr. Morgan and most importantly [A.J.] an
honest and heartfelt response. I have spent a considerable
amount of time daily internalizing and reflecting upon the
facts surrounding and involving my contact, attitude and
statements towards [A.J.]. I request that you share this
letter in its entirety, with [A.J.].
'Let me first and foremost apologize to [A.J.] and her
child, as well, for by [sic] behavior, my conduct
and the things I said. There was absolutely nothing said to
me on her behalf that would have warranted the outlandish,
crude, and totally unacceptable remarks I made towards her.
Without warning and totally without provocation on her part,
I assaulted her very person and character in such a manner as
to affect her life as a victim. I have detrimentally
impacted both her life and that of her child. In the end, I
seek her forgiveness and hope that she can forgive me,
feeling that forgiveness coming from her may allow her the
ability to move forward and put this matter both in some
grace, perspective and behind her.
'"Good people do bad things" is a subject that
I encounter all the time with my clients and at the age of 65
and with two sons of my own at home who are 8 and 6, it is a
regular subject that I deal with both myself and with them.
My oldest son, William, is going into the third grade and
when he gets in trouble in school, I always emphasize that .
. . Being truthful with himself and then others is the first
step to correcting the behavior and then the problem.
'In this particular situation, I began individual
counseling with Renee C. Fields, LSCSW, 1919 North Amidon,
Suite 108, Wichita, Kansas 67203. Her office number is
316.425.0033 and her fax number is 316.425.0239. I have
executed a Release of Information to both Kate Baird and
'As I stated earlier, my behavior towards [A.J.] was
inexcusable. It is not my character to make those kinds of
remarks to anyone, let alone made to a complete stranger. For
a few weeks before I even entered into counseling, I
continually pondered what was going through my mind at the
time that would have resulted in those remarks. Allow me to
share two very important and relevant circumstances.
'1. The morning of April 27th, I was at the Courthouse
and ran into a female client whom I had not seen or dealt
with in years. She had some domestic issues which she only
lightly went into. She had no money to pay me but as it
happens from time to time, you find people, potential
clients, who will offer sexual favors in a desperate attempt
to get them through a bad legal situation. Those encounters
throughout the life of my legal practice have always left me
disgruntled and result in bringing up a past bad memory of my
ex-wife's behavior when she was involved in her drug
addiction. In regard to my encounter at the Courthouse, I was
very direct and adamant that the behavior and approach
towards me was not welcome.
'2. I left the Courthouse and in driving back to my
office, all I could think about was my own past experience
with addiction and recovery and how me [sic]
ex-wife's  addiction impacted me. My own recovery came
sooner than her own. I remembered how she would disappear for
days into her active using and with no money she prostituted
herself by the use of sex to obtain drugs. In the end and in
an attempt to help her, I went to Kansas City where she was
living, and obtained furniture and an apartment for her to
live. I spent almost $5000.00 on that specific weekend and
invested tremendous emotion to help. That trip was the last
time I saw or heard from her. As a result I have felt angry,
used, bitter and betrayed for a long time. It was an
experience and feeling I had thought I could suppress for
'I came back to the office in that frame of mind and
without gathering myself and settling my thoughts, I
encountered [A.J.], an innocent and complete stranger. The
above explanation, I am certain, represents only a small
representation of the thoughts that ran through my head on
'I now better understand that sobriety also results in
residual issues. Counseling so far has exposed me to the fact
that the process of sobriety begets anger issues. That
results in . . . Good people making bad decisions. I can only
hope that your investigation may see this incident as
isolated in nature. My own phone records show that I
attempted to contact [A.J.] two or three times before her
scheduled appointment on April 28th. My primary purpose was
to apologize to her for the statements I made and the stress
I caused her and her child.
'Please find this as my response to your initial letter.
I again apologize to [A.J.] and her child. I believe in my 38
years as an attorney I have touched many lives in positive
ways and I hope you will see my aberrant behavior as an
anomaly . . . yet a serious one at that. I remain available
to your office to answer any questions and/or provide
"12. Based on the respondent's stipulation and the
findings of fact above, the hearing panel concludes as a
matter of law that the respondent violated KRPC 8.4(g), as
detailed below. The deputy disciplinary administrator also
alleged that the respondent violated KRPC 8.4(d). The hearing
panel concludes that the facts do not support a conclusion
that the respondent violated KRPC 8.4(d). Accordingly, the
allegation that the respondent violated KRPC 8.4(d) is
"13. 'It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to
. . . engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on
the lawyer's fitness to practice law.' KRPC 8.4(g).
The respondent engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on
his fitness to practice law when he asked a prospective
client to not wear 'under panties' to her appointment
with him. The hearing panel concludes that the respondent
violated KRPC 8.4(g).
"American Bar Association Standards for Imposing
"14. In making this recommendation for discipline, the
hearing panel considered the factors outlined by the American
Bar Association in its Standards for Imposing Lawyer
Sanctions (hereinafter 'Standards'). Pursuant to
Standard 3, the factors to be considered are the duty
violated, the lawyer's mental state, the potential or
actual injury caused by the lawyer's misconduct, and the
existence of aggravating or mitigating factors.
"15. Duty Violated. The respondent violated his
duty to the public to maintain his personal integrity.
"16. Mental State. The respondent knowingly
violated his duty.
"17. Injury. As a result of the
respondent's misconduct, the respondent caused mental