Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Deines

Supreme Court of Kansas

November 30, 2018

In the Matter of Brandon W. Deines, Respondent.

          Original proceeding in discipline.

          Matthew J. Vogelsberg, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, argued the cause, and Stanton A. Hazlett, Disciplinary Administrator, was with him on the formal complaint for the petitioner.

          No appearance by respondent.

          PER CURIAM.

         This is an original proceeding in discipline filed by the office of the Disciplinary Administrator against the respondent, Brandon W. Deines, of Lawrence, an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Kansas in 2008.

         On August 25, 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 to the complaint. On September 7, 2017, the respondent and the office of the Disciplinary Administrator filed a joint motion for temporary suspension; the motion was granted by order dated September 18, 2017. The hearing panel granted respondent's motion to continue the hearing, set a date for a prehearing conference on October 4, 2017, and, after the prehearing conference, set December 5, 2017, as the date for the hearing. On December 5, 2017, respondent and the office of the Disciplinary Administrator filed a joint stipulation in which respondent stipulated to the admission of the exhibits of the office of the Disciplinary Administrator, to extensive facts, and to rules violations. A hearing was held on the complaint before a panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys on December 5, 2017, where the respondent was personally present. The hearing panel determined that respondent violated KRPC 1.1 (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 289) (competence); 1.3 (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 292) (diligence); 1.4(a) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 293) (communication); 1.15(b) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 328) (safekeeping property); 1.16(d) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 333) (termination of representation); 3.2 (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 343) (expediting litigation); 8.4(d) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 381) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice); and 8.1(b) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 379) (failure to respond to a disciplinary authority); Kansas Supreme Court Rule 207(b) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 246) (failure to cooperate in disciplinary investigation); and Kansas Supreme Court Rule 211(b) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 251) (failure to file answer in disciplinary proceeding).

         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

. . . .
"DA12724
"16. In Douglas County District Court, W.S. was convicted of felony crimes. Years later, W.S. filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence. The Douglas County District Court dismissed the motion. Counsel for W.S. docketed an appeal on his behalf. The Kansas Court of Appeals allowed counsel to withdraw on behalf of W.S. and issued a stay on the appeal until new appellate counsel could be appointed. Thereafter, the respondent was appointed to represent W.S. in his appeal of the dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence.
"17. After receiving notice that the respondent had been appointed to represent W.S., on June 1, 2016, the Kansas Court of Appeals lifted the stay and ordered that W.S.'s brief be filed by July 5, 2016. On July 5, 2016, the respondent filed a motion for an extension of time to file W.S.'s brief. On July 18, 2016, the Kansas Court of Appeals granted the motion, directing that the respondent file a brief on behalf of W.S. by August 4, 2016. The respondent failed to file a brief by August 4, 2016.
"18. On August 26, 2016, the Kansas Court of Appeals issued an order noting that W.S.'s brief was past due. The order warned the respondent that if he failed to file W.S.'s brief by September 14, 2016, W.S.'s appeal would be dismissed without further notice. The respondent neither filed a brief nor otherwise responded to the court's order by September 14, 2016.
"19. On October 3, 2016, the Kansas Court of Appeals dismissed W.S.'s appeal. Thereafter, on November 16, 2016, the court issued the mandate. On November 14, 2016, Jennifer Bates, Chief Deputy Clerk of the Kansas Appellate Courts, notified the disciplinary administrator's office that the respondent failed to file an appellate brief on behalf of W.S., resulting in the dismissal of the appeal. The disciplinary administrator's office treated the correspondence from Ms. Bates as a complaint.
"20. On November 15, 2016, the disciplinary administrator's office sent a letter to the respondent notifying him that a complaint had been filed regarding the respondent's failure to file a brief on behalf of W.S. The disciplinary administrator's office explained to the respondent that the complaint had not been docketed for investigation. The disciplinary administrator's office directed the respondent to provide a written response within 15 days. The respondent failed to provide a written response within 15 days.
"21. On December 8, 2016, the disciplinary administrator's office sent a second letter to the respondent, noting that the 15-day time period had passed without receiving a response from the respondent. The letter reminded the respondent that he had a duty under Rules 8.1 and 207, to provide a response to the complaint. The disciplinary administrator's office directed the respondent to provide a written response within 10 days. The respondent failed to provide a written response.
"22. On January 3, 2017, the disciplinary administrator's office docketed the complaint for investigation. The disciplinary administrator's office notified the respondent that the complaint had been docketed and referred to the Douglas County Ethics and Grievance Committee for investigation. The disciplinary administrator's office again directed the respondent to provide a written response to the complaint.
"23. On January 5, 2017, Sherri Loveland, chairman of the Douglas County Ethics and Grievance Committee, spoke to the respondent over the phone regarding the complaint filed against him. The respondent told Ms. Loveland that he would draft a response as soon as possible and provide copies to Ms. Loveland and the disciplinary administrator's office. Additionally, on January 25, 2017, Ms. Loveland also wrote to the respondent directing him to provide a written response to the complaint. The respondent never provided a written response to the complaint.
"24. The respondent stipulated that his conduct in DA12724 violated KRPC 1.1 (competence), 1.3 (diligence), 3.2 (expediting litigation), 8.1(b) (cooperation), 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice), and 207 (cooperation).

         "DA12746

"25. In late 2014, J.S. retained the respondent to bring a lawsuit on his behalf for water damage to his home. In January, 2015, the respondent filed a lawsuit in Miami County District Court, case number 2015CV02, on behalf of J.S.
"26. As the case progressed, the respondent failed to timely respond to J.S.'s requests for updates regarding the status of the case. Despite numerous requests from J.S., the respondent failed to notify J.S. that the case was scheduled for mediation until 40 minutes prior to when the mediation was set to begin.
"27. In August, 2016, the defendants filed motions for summary judgment. The respondent failed to file responses to the motions.
"28. The district court scheduled a pretrial conference and a hearing on motions for September 21, 2016, 9:00 a.m. The respondent failed to appear at the pretrial conference. The district court granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment. Additionally, the district court granted the defendants' oral motion to dismiss the case based on the respondent's failure to prosecute the case and to follow the court's orders.
"29. The respondent failed to inform J.S. that the court dismissed the case. J.S. learned of the dismissal after receiving a copy of the order in the mail from the court. J.S. called the respondent's office several times to speak with him about the order of dismissal, but the respondent did not answer his phone or return J.S.'s phone calls.
"30. Sometime after learning that the court dismissed the case, J.S. went to the respondent's office to speak with him about the order of dismissal. J.S. noticed that the respondent's office was open, but the respondent was not present. J.S. sent the respondent a text message informing him that he was in the building and was waiting to speak with him. After a period of time, J.S. entered the men's room near the lobby of the building. When he went in the men's room, J.S. found the respondent inside the men's room talking on a cell phone. At the hearing on this matter, the respondent denied waiting in the men's room to avoid J.S.
"31. J.S. asked the respondent about the order of dismissal. The respondent told J.S. that he was not aware that the case had been dismissed. The respondent told J.S. that he would have the case refiled.
"32. The respondent did not take any further action on behalf of J.S. Additionally, the respondent failed to return J.S.'s phone calls after speaking to him about the order of dismissal in late September, 2016.
"33. Later, J.S. retained new counsel to determine whether the case could be salvaged. J.S.'s new attorney sent a letter to the respondent on January 3, 2017, requesting a complete copy of the file. The respondent failed to respond to the letter from the new attorney.
"34. In late January, 2017, J.S. filed a complaint with the disciplinary administrator's office regarding the respondent's conduct. On February 2, 2017, the disciplinary administrator's office sent a letter to the respondent notifying him of J.S.'s complaint, enclosing a copy of the complaint, informing the respondent that the complaint had been docketed and referred to Ms. Loveland for investigation, and asking the respondent to provide a written response to the complaint within 20 days.
"35. On February 24, 2017, Ms. Loveland met the respondent at the Douglas County courthouse and accompanied him to his office so she could retrieve J.S.'s file from the respondent. The respondent provided Ms. Loveland with some documents, but acknowledged that he would have to locate additional electronic documents. The respondent assured Ms. Loveland that he would provide the rest of the documents.
"36. On March 20, 2017, Ms. Loveland contacted J.S.'s new attorney regarding his representation. The new attorney told Ms. Loveland that he still needed more documents from the respondent before he could proceed with J.S.'s case. On March 22, 2017, Ms. Loveland returned to the respondent's office and asked him to provide the documents that the new attorney requested. The respondent provided Ms. Loveland with discovery responses and electronic copies of other documents and pleadings from J.S.'s case. The respondent never provided the new attorney with the deposition transcripts, summary judgment pleadings, or the summary judgment order.
"37. The respondent stipulated that in DA12746 he violated KRPC 1.1 (competence), 1.3 (diligence), 1.4 (communication), 1.16(d) (termination of representation), 3.2 (expediting litigation), 8.1(b) (cooperation), 8.4(d) engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice), and 207 (cooperation).

         "DA12825 and DA12876

"38. In February, 2015, K.M. filed a quiet title action against S.M. In Shawnee County District Court, case number 2015CV158. S.M., a California resident, provided her brother, G.H., with power of attorney to act as her agent in defending against the lawsuit. On October 1, 2015, G.H. and the respondent entered into a contingency fee agreement for the respondent to represent S.M. On October 2, 2015, the respondent entered his appearance on behalf of S.M.
"39. On December 15, 2015, the respondent filed a counterclaim against K.M. and claims against two title companies. In his pleading, the respondent mistakenly referred to the title companies as cross-claimants rather than third-party defendants. Additionally, prior to bringing the claims against the title companies, the respondent failed to obtain the district court's leave to file a third-party petition as required by K.S.A. 60-214. Finally, the respondent failed to serve a summons or copy of the petition on the title companies.
"40. On February 5, 2016, the title companies filed a motion to dismiss the third-party petition. The respondent filed a response on March 2, 2016. The court denied the motion to dismiss and provided the respondent 90 days to correct certain errors. The respondent took no action. On August 29, 2016, the title companies renewed their motion to dismiss. The respondent did not amend the pleadings or file a response to the title companies' second motion to dismiss. On October 6, 2016, the court granted the title companies motion to dismiss the third-party claims.
"41. The court scheduled a pretrial conference for the original cause of action for November 15, 2016. The respondent failed to appear at the pretrial conference. Following the pretrial conference, opposing counsel erroneously prepared an order of dismissal rather than an order of default judgment. The court signed the order prepared by opposing counsel.
"42. During the period of representation, the respondent failed to return G.H.'s telephone calls and keep G.H. updated regarding the status of the case.
"43. In late December, 2016, the respondent (falsely) told G.H. that he would be requesting that S.M.'s case be scheduled for trial. In late February, 2017, G.H. learned that the respondent failed to attend the pretrial conference and that the court dismissed the case.
"44. On March 2, 2017, G.H. terminated the respondent's representation. G.H. directed the respondent to provide him with the file within two weeks. The respondent never provided G.H. with the file. The respondent failed to withdraw from the representation.
"45. In early April, 2017, G.H. filed a complaint against the respondent with the disciplinary administrator's office. The disciplinary administrator's office docketed the complaint against the respondent for investigation. On April 13, 2017, the disciplinary administrator's office sent the respondent a letter, notifying him that the complaint filed by G.H. had been received and docketed for investigation. The disciplinary administrator's office informed the respondent that the complaint had been referred to Ms. Loveland for investigation and directed the respondent to provide a written response to the complaint within 20 days.
"46. On April 24, 2017, Ms. Loveland wrote to the respondent and directed him to contact her to make arrangements to review G.H.'s file. The respondent ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.