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State ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court v. Moore

Supreme Court of Nebraska

July 22, 2016

State of Nebraska ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court, relator.
v.
Laird T. Moore, respondent.

         Original action. Judgment of suspension.

          Heavican, C.J., Wright, Connolly, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, and Kelch, JJ.

          PER CURIAM.

         INTRODUCTION

         This case is before the court on the conditional admission filed by Laird T. Moore, respondent, on May 26, 2016. The court accepts respondent's conditional admission and orders that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of 2 years followed by 2 years' monitored probation upon reinstatement.

         FACTS

         Respondent was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Nebraska on May 3, 2002. At all relevant times, he was engaged in the private practice of law in Omaha, Nebraska.

         On December 18, 2015, the Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court filed formal charges against respondent. The formal charges consist of two counts against respondent. In the two counts, it is alleged that by his conduct, respondent violated his oath of office as an attorney, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 7-104 (Reissue 2012), and Neb. Ct. R. of Prof. Cond. [294 Neb. 284] §§ 3-501.1 (competence); 3-501.3 (diligence); 3-501.4(a) and (b) (communications); 3-501.15(a), (c), and (d) (safekeeping property); 3-508.1(b) (bar admission and disciplinary matters); and 3-508.4(a) and (d) (misconduct).

         With respect to count I, the formal charges state that on November 20, 2014, a client filed a grievance against respondent stating that respondent had failed to adequately represent her in her divorce case. On November 26, the Counsel for Discipline mailed a copy of the client's grievance to respondent at his then-current business address. Respondent was instructed to submit a written response to the client's grievance, but he did not.

         On January 15, 2015, the Counsel for Discipline sent a followup letter to respondent directing him to submit a written response to the client's grievance. Respondent did not respond to the January 15 letter. On February 4, the Counsel for Discipline sent another followup letter to respondent. On February 13, respondent called the Counsel for Discipline and stated that he would submit his response to the client's grievance on February 17. On February 18, the Counsel for Discipline received respondent's initial response to the client's grievance.

         A copy of respondent's response was mailed to the client, who submitted her reply on March 13, 2015. In her response, the client stated that respondent was not prepared for her trial, he had not contacted witnesses, and he had failed to deliver her file to her new attorney despite repeated requests. The client further stated in her response that respondent failed to provide an accounting of his time to justify the fee she paid him.

         On July 10, 2015, the Counsel for Discipline sent a letter to respondent asking for specific information regarding respondent's representation of the client. In addition, the Counsel for Discipline requested that respondent provide evidence that he had deposited the client's $1, 450 advance fee payment into his trust account. The letter was mailed to respondent's personal residence, and it was also sent to his current e-mail address. [294 Neb. 285] The formal charges state that as of December 17, respondent had not yet responded to the July 10 letter.

         The formal charges allege that by his actions with respect to count I, respondent violated his oath of office as an attorney and professional conduct rules §§ 3-501.1; 3-501.3; 3-501.4(a) and (b); 3-501.15(a), (c), and (d); 3-508.1(b); and 3-508.4(a) and (d).

         With respect to count II, the formal charges state that on January 17, 2011, a second client and her son signed fee agreements with respondent to represent their interests arising from a traffic collision. On March 2, 2015, the second client filed a grievance against respondent stating that respondent had neglected her case and had failed to communicate with her.

         On March 5, 2015, the Counsel for Discipline sent respondent a copy of the second client's grievance. Respondent was directed to file a response within 15 working days. The March 5 letter was mailed to respondent by certified mail at his office address maintained by respondent with the Attorney Services Division of the Nebraska Supreme Court. The certified ...


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