PROCEEDING IN DISCIPLINE
Kimberly L. Knoll, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, argued
the cause, and Stanton A. Hazlett, Disciplinary
Administrator, was with her on the formal complaint for the
L. Todd, Jr., respondent, argued the cause pro se.
an unusual uncontested original proceeding in discipline
filed by the office of the Disciplinary Administrator against
Respondent Zane Todd, Jr., of Olathe, an attorney admitted to
the practice of law in Kansas in 1994.
case arose out of Respondent's failure to act promptly on
and communicate adequately about client A.B.'s request
for a recalculation of jail time credit. Although it appears
that Respondent and the prosecution ultimately agreed that no
relief was due the client, Respondent entered into a July 22,
2014, diversion agreement with the office of the Disciplinary
Administrator. Under the agreement, Respondent stipulated to
his violations of Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct (KRPC)
1.3 (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 292) (diligence) and 1.4 (2018 Kan.
S.Ct. R. 293) (communication) on A.B.'s case. The
agreement provided that Respondent would avoid sanction for
those violations if he met certain requirements, one of which
was completion of 16 hours of continuing legal education,
including 6 hours on ethics, within one year. Respondent
completed only 15 hours, and the diversion agreement was
the diversion was terminated, on June 13, 2016, the office of
the Disciplinary Administrator filed a formal complaint
against Respondent. The original hearing date was set for
September 20, 2016. The office of the Disciplinary
Administrator filed an amended formal complaint on August 22,
2016. By this time, Respondent had learned he was suffering
from what was believed to be a terminal illness. With
survival as his priority, he did not file an answer to either
complaint. At the September 20 hearing, on learning of
Respondent's illness, the office of the Disciplinary
Administrator requested a stay of the proceedings so that
Respondent could communicate with the Kansas Lawyers
Assistance Program (KALAP) and obtain an evaluation of
whether placement back on diversion would be appropriate. The
hearing panel filed an order granting the stay and directing
the parties to provide a status report on or before January
party filed a status report by the deadline.
office of the Disciplinary Administrator filed its status
report on January 19, 2017, stating that KALAP could not
confirm or deny whether Respondent had sought its assistance.
With no word from Respondent, the office also filed an
amended notice of hearing on March 27, 2017, which set a
second hearing for May 8, 2017. Service of the notice on
Respondent apparently failed.
April 4, 2017, Anne McDonald of KALAP informed the office of
the Disciplinary Administrator by letter that Respondent had
been in contact with her office several times during the
previous 17 months, that he appeared to be recovering
physically, that he had received good support from family and
friends, and that he had been able to return to law practice
full-time. She concluded: "I have not at this time asked
him to get an evaluation or to work with KALAP in a more
formal setting. If the panel sees fit to re-instate his
Diversion and wishes to include a formal contract with KALAP
as one of the conditions, I am certainly happy and willing to
do that." Ms. McDonald also stated that she had written
the letter at Respondent's request.
office of the Disciplinary Administrator emailed a copy of
Ms. McDonald's letter to Respondent and to members of the
hearing panel. In the email, the Deputy Disciplinary
Administrator stated: "I accept this as the answer to
the Panel's request for a status report."
received no notice of the hearing setting, the Respondent did
not appear on May 8. He moved to reopen the record; the
office of the Disciplinary Administrator did not object; and
the hearing panel granted the motion. A third hearing on the
amended formal complaint was set for August 29, 2017.
August hearing, the panel reviewed the evidence, including
live testimony from Respondent. It concluded that not only
had he violated KRPC 1.3 and 1.4, as stipulated in the
diversion agreement, but also that his conduct in failing to
complete the diversion CLE requirement and the
diversion's termination constituted a violation of KRPC
8.1(b) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 379) (failure to respond to lawful
demand for information from disciplinary authority) and that
he violated Kansas Supreme Court Rule 211(b) (2018 Kan. S.Ct.
R. 251) (failure to file answer in disciplinary proceeding).
The panel determined that Respondent's violations were
negligent and that his ill health "[c]learly"
contributed to them. The panel cited two provisions of the
American Bar Association Standards for Imposing Lawyer
"4.43 Reprimand is generally appropriate when a lawyer
is negligent and does not act with reasonable diligence in
representing a client, and causes injury or ...