State of Nebraska ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court, relator.
Thomas A. Fitch, respondent.
action. Judgment of public reprimand.
Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy. Kelch,
and Funke, JJ.
case is before the court on the conditional admission filed
by Thomas A. Fitch, respondent, on June 7, 2017. The court
accepts respondent's conditional admission and enters an
order of public reprimand.
was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Nebraska
on April 29, 1992. At all relevant times, he was engaged in
the practice of law in South Sioux City, Nebraska.
6, 2017, the Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme
Court filed amended formal charges against respondent. The
amended formal charges consist of one count against
respondent arising from his conduct in connection with the
business of his client in which respondent was a participant.
The formal charges state that on September 26, 2007, Doug
Peterson met with respondent at respondent's office to
review and notarize documents with regard to Peterson's
agreement [297 Neb. 706] to purchase real property in Dixon
County, Nebraska. An abandoned gravel pit was located on the
property, and it was Peterson's intent to reopen the
gravel pit as an ongoing sand and gravel mining operation.
Prior to September 26, respondent had represented Peterson on
several matters. During their September 26 meeting, Peterson
informed respondent that he was looking for ways to finance
his nascent sand and gravel business.
the meeting, respondent invested in Peterson's sand and
gravel business, and brought in a longtime friend as an
investor. On February 12, 2008, "Peterson Sand &
Gravel, LLC" (LLC) was formed. Respondent prepared all
documents for the formation of the LLC. Respondent was one of
four members of the LLC.
Peterson was elected as the manager of the company to manage
the daily affairs of the company. Peterson was elected as
president of the LLC, and respondent was elected as the
secretary and treasurer. Eventually, Peterson resigned as
president of the LLC because of concerns that his prior
personal bankruptcy and current financial status might
jeopardize the LLC's ability to obtain a Small Business
Administration loan. On March 21, 2009, all members of the
LLC accepted the resignation of Peterson regarding his
membership in the LLC and all offices he held. Peterson
continued to serve as the daily operations manager of the LLC
through December 2013.
his previous resignation as president of the LLC, Peterson
signed as president of the LLC in a series of six promissory
notes and commercial debt modification agreements with a bank
in South Sioux City. Respondent also signed each of the loan
documents as secretary/treasurer of the LLC. At the time the
loan documents were inaccurately signed by Peterson as
president and by respondent as secretary/treasurer,
respondent knew that Peterson no longer served as president
of the LLC. However, respondent failed to inform the bank
that Peterson was no longer president of the LLC.
Neb. 707] The amended formal charges allege that by his
omissions, respondent violated his oath of office as an
attorney, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 7-104 (Reissue 2012), and
Neb. Ct. R. of Prof. Cond. §§ 3-501.3 (diligence),
3-501.8 (conflict of interest), and 3-508.4 (misconduct).
7, 2017, respondent filed a conditional admission pursuant to
Neb. Ct. R. § 3-313(B) of the disciplinary rules, in
which he conditionally admitted that he violated his oath of
office as an attorney and professional conduct rules
§§ 3-501.3, 3-501.8, and 3-508.4. In the
conditional admission, respondent knowingly does not
challenge or contest the truth of the matters conditionally
asserted and waives all proceedings against him in exchange
for a public reprimand.
proposed conditional admission included a declaration by the
Counsel for Discipline, stating that respondent's
proposed discipline is appropriate and consistent with
sanctions imposed ...