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State ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of the Neb. Supreme Court v. Sundvold

Supreme Court of Nebraska

June 19, 2015

STATE OF NEBRASKA EX REL. COUNSEL FOR DISCIPLINE OF THE NEBRASKA SUPREME COURT, RELATOR,
v.
THOMAS G. SUNDVOLD, RESPONDENT

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, McCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 413

Original action.

Per Curiam.

INTRODUCTION

This case is before the court on the conditional admission filed by Thomas G. Sundvold, respondent, on April 15, 2015. Prior to the filing of the conditional admission at issue in this case, this court filed an opinion on April 4, 2014, in case No. S-13-002, in which we suspended respondent for a period of 3 years followed by 2 years' monitored probation upon reinstatement. See State ex rel. Counsel for Dis. v. Sundvold, 287 Neb. 818, 844 N.W.2d 771 (2014). Accordingly, respondent was suspended at the time he filed the present conditional admission. We accept respondent's conditional admission and order that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of 6 months, which suspension shall commence immediately consecutive to respondent's current 3-year suspension followed by 2 years' monitored probation upon reinstatement.

FACTS

Respondent was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Nebraska on September 25, 2003. At all relevant times, [291 Neb. 198] he was engaged in the private practice of law in Lincoln, Nebraska.

As stated above, prior to the filing of the conditional admission at issue in this case, in case No. S-13-002, the Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court filed formal charges against respondent on January 3, 2013, and it filed amended formal charges on February 15. The amended formal charges contained two counts against respondent and generally alleged that respondent had violated his oath of office as an attorney, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 7-104 (Reissue 2012), and several of the Nebraska Rules of Professional Conduct. A referee was appointed, and after holding

Page 414

an evidentiary hearing, the referee determined that respondent had violated Neb. Ct. R. of Prof. Cond. § § 3-501.1 (competence); 3-501.3 (diligence); 3-501.4(a) and (b) (communications); 3-501.15(a) and (c) (safekeeping property); and 3-508.4(a), (c), and (d) (misconduct); and his oath of office as an attorney. The referee recommended that respondent be suspended for a period of 3 years, followed by 2 years' monitored probation.

Respondent initially filed exceptions to the referee's report regarding findings of fact and conclusions of law and the recommended discipline; however, in his brief to this court, respondent stated that he withdrew his exceptions to the referee's findings of fact and conclusions of law and took exception only to the referee's recommended discipline. We filed an opinion on April 4, 2014, in which we suspended respondent for a period of 3 years, followed by 2 years' monitored probation upon reinstatement. See State ex rel. Counsel for Dis. v. Sundvold, supra.

In the current case, case No. S-14-828, formal charges were filed against respondent on September 10, 2014. The formal charges consist of two charges against respondent. In the two counts, it was alleged that by his conduct, respondent had violated his oath of office as an attorney, § 7-104, and Neb. Ct. R. of Prof. Cond. § § 3-501.1 (competence); 3-501.3 (diligence); 3-501.4(a)(3) (communications); 3-501.5(a) (fees); 3-501.15(a), (c), (d); and (e) (safekeeping property); [291 Neb. 199] 3-501.16(d) (declining or terminating representation); and 3-508.4(a), (c), and (d) (misconduct).

With respect to count I, the formal charges state that on July 5, 2011, an owner of commercial property in Papillion, Nebraska, filed suit in the district court for Sarpy County for unpaid rent against a company and the company's owner. On August 5, respondent filed an answer on behalf of his client--the ...


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