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State ex rel. Counsel for Discipline v. Tighe

Supreme Court of Nebraska

October 28, 2016

State of Nebraska ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court, relator.
v.
David W. Tighe, respondent.

         1. Disciplinary Proceedings. Violation of a disciplinary rule concerning the practice of law is a ground for discipline.

         2. _ . The basic issues in a disciplinary proceeding against a lawyer are whether discipline should be imposed and, if so, the type of discipline appropriate under the circumstances.

         3. _ .To determine whether and to what extent discipline should be imposed in a lawyer discipline proceeding, this court considers the following factors: (1) the nature of the offense, (2) the need for deterring others, (3) the maintenance of the reputation of the bar as a whole, (4) the protection of the public, (5) the attitude of the offender generally, and (6) the offender's present or future fitness to continue in the practice of law.

         4. _ . Cumulative acts of attorney misconduct are distinguishable from isolated incidents, therefore justifying more serious sanctions.

         5. _ . The propriety of a sanction must be considered with reference to the sanctions imposed in prior similar cases.

         Original actions.

          Kent L. Frobish, Assistant Counsel for Discipline, for relator.

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

         [295 Neb. 31] PER CURIAM

         INTRODUCTION

         The Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court filed a motion for reciprocal discipline and formal charges against David W. Tighe, docketed as cases Nos. S-14-685 and S-16-130. These cases were consolidated for purposes of briefing, oral argument, and disposition.

         Tighe is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association and practices law in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2014, Tighe was suspended from practicing before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. Following Tighe's failure to respond to an order to show cause entered by this court, Tighe was temporarily suspended from the practice of law in Nebraska. This case is docketed at No. S-14-685.

         In addition, formal charges were filed in the case docketed at No. S-16-130. Tighe filed an answer admitting the allegations. We granted the Counsel for Discipline's motion for judgment on the pleadings and ordered the parties to brief the issue of the appropriate discipline to impose. We also ordered consolidation of cases Nos. S-14-685 and S-16-130.

         We now order that Tighe be indefinitely suspended from the practice of law.

         BACKGROUND

         The facts alleged in the formal charges are uncontested by Tighe. Tighe was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Nebraska on December 14, 2007. He is engaged in the private practice of law in Omaha and is under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Inquiry of the Second Judicial District. This case is composed of two consolidated cases, Nos. S-14-685 and S-16-130, initiated by the Counsel for Discipline against Tighe. These cases were consolidated for purposes of briefing, oral argument, and disposition.

         [295 Neb. 32] Count I

         In 2013, Tighe represented Ellen Miller in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nebraska. As a result of Tighe's failure to file necessary documents, Miller's bankruptcy case was closed without discharge, despite the fact that Miller had fulfilled all of the terms of her chapter 13 plan.

         In 2014, Miller learned that she did not receive her discharge, because creditors began contacting her again. Pursuant to her own investigation, Miller learned that Tighe had not filed a "Certification by Debtor in Support of Discharge.'' On March 28, Miller filed a pro se motion to reopen her bankruptcy case and included allegations of Tighe's deficient representation. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge granted Miller's motion and issued an order to Tighe, directing him to respond to Miller's allegations by May 11. After Tighe failed to respond to this order, the bankruptcy court issued a show cause order. Tighe was later suspended from practice before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

         Thereafter, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska issued an order to show cause as to why that court should not enter a reciprocal order. On July 28, 2014, that court issued an order suspending Tighe from practicing law before the U.S. District Court until further order of the court, because Tighe's response addressed neither the ...


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