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

Supreme Court of Nebraska

April 27, 2017

State of Nebraska ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court, relator.
v.
Dustin A. Garrison, respondent.

         Original action. Judgment of suspension.

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

          Per Curiam

         INTRODUCTION

         This case is before the court on the conditional admission filed by Dustin A. Garrison, respondent, on December 27, 2016. The court accepts respondent's conditional admission and orders that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of 90 days followed by 1 year's monitored probation upon reinstatement.

         FACTS

         Respondent was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Nebraska on April 15, 2008. At all relevant times, he was engaged in the private practice of law in Beatrice, Nebraska.

         On August 24, 2016, the Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court filed formal charges against respondent. The formal charges consist of one count against respondent. With respect to the one count, the formal charges state that in August 2008, a client was injured by a vehicle that was [296 Neb. 551] being driven by Devin Witt and that was registered in Texas to "SERCO, Inc." A police report was issued, which listed addresses for both Witt and SERCO in Borger, Texas.

         The client initially retained a different attorney to represent him in a claim for damages against Witt and SERCO in Texas. In July 2009, that attorney was suspended from the practice of law, and his partner, respondent, began representing the client. No engagement contract was signed between the client and respondent.

         On February 18, 2010, respondent sent a letter to "Serco, Inc., " in Reston, Virginia, to make a claim for damages suffered by the client in the August 2008 accident. On February 19, Serco in Virginia, sent a letter to respondent stating that it had never employed Witt and that it did not own any vehicles that were in Nebraska or that were involved in an accident in August 2008.

         On May 21, 2012, respondent filed on a complaint on behalf of the client against "Serco, Inc., " a New Jersey corporation, and Witt, individually and as an employee of Serco in New Jersey. It was alleged in the complaint that Serco in New Jersey had a registered agent in Lincoln, Nebraska. Serco in New Jersey was served via U.S. mail through its registered agent in Lincoln, and Witt was served via U.S. mail at his address in Borger. A summons was served via certified mail to Serco in New Jersey, in care of its registered agent in Lincoln.

         On October 7, 2013, the trial court entered an order of summary judgment against Serco in New Jersey in the amount of $210, 216.36. In March 2014, respondent initiated garnishment proceedings on Serco's account at a Pennsylvania bank.

         In April 2014, Serco in New Jersey filed a motion to vacate the default judgment and a motion for temporary injunction, in which it stated that it was unrelated to the entity doing business as "SERCO in Borger, Texas, " which had been identified in the August 2008 police report. Serco in ...


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