In the Matter of Kenneth J. Geniuk, Respondent.
proceeding in discipline. Disbarment.
Danielle M. Hall, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, argued
the cause, and Stanton A. Hazlett, Disciplinary
Administrator, was with her on the formal complaint for the
appearance by respondent.
an original proceeding in discipline filed by the office of
the Disciplinary Administrator against the respondent,
Kenneth J. Geniuk, of Gladstone, Missouri, an attorney
admitted to the practice of law in Kansas in 2007.
April 11, 2017, 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 did not file an answer. A hearing was
held on the complaint before a panel of the Kansas Board for
Discipline of Attorneys on June 13, 2017, where the
respondent did not appear. The hearing panel determined that
respondent violated KRPC 5.5(a) and (b) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R.
363) (unauthorized practice of law); 7.1(a) (2018 Kan. S.Ct.
R. 372) (communications concerning a lawyer's services);
8.3(a) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 380) (reporting professional
misconduct); 8.4(d) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 381) (engaging in
conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice); Kansas
Supreme Court Rule 207(c) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 246) (failure
to report action); Kansas Supreme Court Rule 208(c) (2018
Kan. S.Ct. R. 246) (failure to notify Clerk of the Appellate
Courts of change of address); and Kansas Supreme Court Rule
211(b) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 251) (failure to file answer in
conclusion of the hearing, the panel made the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law, together with its
recommendation to this court:
. . . .
"7. The Kansas Supreme Court admitted the respondent to
the practice of law in the State of Kansas on September 28,
2007. On September 18, 2013, the Kansas Supreme Court issued
an order suspending the respondent's license to practice
law for failing to comply with the annual requirements to
maintain a law license. The order of suspension was mailed
via certified mail to the respondent's
registration address. The respondent's license remains
suspended. [Footnote: The respondent's license to
practice law in Kansas had previously been suspended on
September 14, 2012. As such, the Supreme Court issued an
order of suspension. In October, 2012, the respondent
complied with the requirements and sought and obtained
reinstatement of his license in Kansas.]
"8. The Missouri Supreme Court admitted the respondent
to the practice of law on April 16, 2008. On June 28, 2016,
the Missouri Supreme Court issued an order indefinitely
suspending the respondent's license to practice law for
having violated Rule 1.3 (diligence) and 1.4 (communication).
"9. After the respondent's license to practice law
in Kansas was suspended by the Supreme Court, the respondent
engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
"10. On January 6, 2015, the respondent entered his
appearance on behalf of the natural father in [a] child in
need of care case filed in Wyandotte County, Kansas, case
number 2014JC217. The respondent entered his appearance using
a generic form with hand-written case specific information.
On the respondent's entry of appearance, the respondent
listed an address in Kearney, Missouri. The respondent
included his Kansas bar number next to his name.
"11. That same day, the respondent appeared with his
client in that case for a review hearing. The respondent
failed to inform his client, opposing counsel, and the court
that his license to practice law in Kansas had been
"12. On April 17, 2015, the respondent appeared on
behalf of his client for another review hearing. Again, the
respondent failed to inform his client, opposing counsel, and
the court that his license to practice law in Kansas has been
"13. On July 27, 2015, the Honorable Daniel Cahill
received notice from staff that the respondent's license
to practice law in Kansas was suspended in 2013. After
learning that the respondent's Kansas license had been
suspended, Judge Cahill searched for the respondent's
contact information. Because the respondent's license was
suspended, when Judge Cahill searched the Kansas Online
Attorney Directory for the respondent's name, the search
yielded no results. Judge Cahill located the respondent's
contact information on the Missouri Attorney Directory.
"14. That same day, the respondent appeared before Judge
Cahill for another review hearing. After the respondent
stated his appearance, Judge Cahill inquired whether the
respondent was a licensed Kansas attorney. The respondent
asserted that he was a Missouri lawyer and appeared by the
authority of KRPC 5.5(c)(2).
"15. KRPC 5.5(c)(2) provides:
'(c) A lawyer admitted in another United States
jurisdiction and not disbarred or suspended from practice in
any jurisdiction, may provide legal services on a temporary
basis in this jurisdiction that:
. . . .
(2) are services in or reasonably related to a pending or
potential proceeding before a tribunal in this or another
jurisdiction, if the lawyer, or a person the lawyer is
assisting, is authorized by law or order to appear in such
proceeding or reasonably expects to be so authorized.'
"16. The respondent argued that KRPC 5.5(c)(2) applied
because he planned to file a paternity action in Missouri
after the child in need of care case was resolved. The
respondent, however, did not disclose that he had a Kansas
license to practice law and that his license had been
suspended for failing to comply with the annual requirements
to maintain a license.
"17. Judge Cahill disagreed with the respondent's
interpretation of KRPC 5.5(c)(2) and informed the respondent
that he was not authorized to practice law. Judge Cahill
directed the respondent to leave counsel table.
'[Judge Cahill] observed [the respondent's client]
approach [the respondent] and have a brief conversation with
him. The [client] then immediately turned to the Court and
requested certain documentation. It was clear from this
exchange that [the respondent] was continuing to advise [his
client] on legal matters even after the Court had informed
him that he was ineligible to do so.'
"18. Even though the respondent argued that he was
authorized to represent his client by virtue of KRPC
5.5(c)(2) and his Missouri license to practice law, in his
entry of appearance, the respondent included his Kansas bar
number, the respondent did not include his Missouri bar
number, and the respondent did not reference KRPC 5.5(c)(2).
"19. After the respondent's appearance on July 27,
2015, Judge Cahill confirmed that the respondent had a Kansas
license which had been suspended.
"20. Also on July 27, 2015, Judge Cahill filed a
complaint with the disciplinary administrator's office
against the respondent.
"21. The respondent provided a written response to the
complaint. In the respondent's response, the respondent
'This letter is in response to your letter of July 29,
2015, regarding the above referenced disciplinary matter. As
a prefatory note, your letter was addressed to an office I
have not maintained since about January of last year. The
envelope, however, appears to have a label covering the old
address, and as such the letter was resent to my current
address. From my receipt of the letter, I am within the 20
days in which you requested a response. However, based on the
date of the letter, said 20 days has already expired. I left
you a voice mail about this earlier today.
'To address the complaint filed by Hon. Daniel Cahill, it
is true that I entered my appearance on behalf of and
represented [T.F.] in case number 2014 JC 217 now pending in
the District Court of Wyandotte County, Kansas. [T.F.]
contacted me last year with regard to his situation, as set
'[T.F.] is [a] resident of the State of Missouri. He
resided in Missouri with his girlfriend and his daughter,
[A.F.]. Last year, his girlfriend left him and moved to an
unknown location in the State of Kansas. She had already been
gone several weeks when [T.F.] contacted me. His desire was
to gain custody of his daughter. In Missouri, "child
custody" is a matter to be determined as an issue in an
underlying case, and with limited exceptions not applicable
to [T.F.]'s situation, is not a stand alone proceeding.
Since [T.F.] was not married to his child's mother, the
way to plead this in Missouri is through a paternity action.
This is a common practice in Missouri-i.e., even where
paternity is not disputed, a paternity action is filed in
order to establish rights of custody and child support.
'I prepared pleadings to file in Jackson County,
Missouri. I explained to [T.F.] that, pursuant to [the]
Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Act, Missouri would
likely be determined to be the home state of the child for
child custody determination. However, since she had already
moved to Kansas, we may need to have a hearing regarding
which state is appropriate for jurisdiction if it was
determined by the Missouri courts that the child had no home
state, since the child technically did not reside within any
one state for the six months prior to when we intended to
'The filing of the paternity matter was delayed for a
time, as we were attempting to locate where, exactly, in
Kansas the mother had moved to so that we could list her
location on the summons for service. Before we could locate
her and file the Missouri action, however, the child was
taken into custody by the Kansas Department of Social
Services, and a ...