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From the Spring 2019 Journal

NOTE: More than 29,000 people are eligible to practice law in North Carolina. Some share the same or similar names. All discipline reports may be checked on the State Bar’s website at ncbar.gov/dhcorders.

Disbarments

Charles K. Blackmon of Greensboro surrendered his law license and was disbarred by the State Bar Council on January 18, 2019. Blackmon admitted that he misappropriated and converted to his own use funds totaling at least $4,250 to which his law firm employer was entitled.

Andrew Craig Jackson Jr. of West Jefferson surrendered his law license and was disbarred by the Wake County Superior Court on November 1, 2018. Jackson installed a video camera in the bathroom of his law office for the purpose of secretly recording individuals using the bathroom without their knowledge or consent.

Suspensions & Stayed Suspensions

Jeffrey Warren Ellingworth of Syracuse, New York, and formerly of Charlotte, did not inform clients that his license was suspended, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, neglected multiple clients, did not participate in mandatory fee dispute resolution, engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, and did not respond to the Grievance Committee. The Disciplinary Hearing Commission suspended him for four years. After serving two years of the suspension, Ellingworth will be eligible to apply for a stay of the remaining two years upon showing compliance with numerous conditions.

The DHC suspended former Superior Court Judge Arnold O. Jones of Goldsboro for five years. Jones was convicted of the felony of promising and paying gratuities to a public official in violation of 18 U.S.C. 201(c)(1)(A). He attempted to induce a law enforcement officer to unlawfully obtain his wife’s text messages.

Tania Leon of Charlotte forged her husband’s endorsement on a check to take funds to which she was not entitled from their joint investment account and filed a complaint against her husband for money owed in which she made false statements and asserted frivolous positions. The DHC suspended her for two years. The suspension is stayed for two years upon Leon’s compliance with numerous conditions.

Hubert N. Rogers III of Lumberton violated multiple trust account rules. The DHC suspended him for two years. The suspension is stayed for four years upon Rogers’ compliance with numerous conditions.

Interim Suspensions

The chair of the DHC entered an order of interim suspension of the law license of Steven P. MacGilvray of Raleigh after MacGilvray pled guilty to misdemeanor larceny.

Reprimands

The Grievance Committee reprimanded Alan Briones of Raleigh. Briones represented a client in a time-sensitive civil claim. He delayed and neglected the case. He ultimately filed a complaint containing significant errors. When the client pointed out the errors, Briones said he would file an amended complaint and later said he had filed it when he had not. Briones did not respond timely to the Grievance Committee and, when he did respond, falsely represented that the client owed additional attorney’s fees and was responsible for the lack of communication.

The Grievance Committee reprimanded James A. Clark of Raleigh. When a lawyer left the interstate law firm with which Clark was associated, Clark took over representation of a client without explaining her right to remain with the firm or seek representation elsewhere. Clark did not timely pursue the client’s appeal. When the firm’s interstate law firm registration expired, Respondent assisted the firm in the unauthorized practice of law.

Rocky Mount lawyer Thomas J. Moore II was reprimanded by the Grievance Committee for failing to file three civil complaints before the claims were barred by applicable statutes of limitation.

The Grievance Committee reprimanded Charlotte lawyer Allen Torres for making a false representation in response to a request for production of documents.

Alton Williams of Raleigh was reprimanded by the Grievance Committee. Williams did not tell his client that the client was called and failed, and did not diligently handle his client’s traffic case. Williams also neglected a client’s personal injury case by not communicating with the subrogation claim holder and the client about funds held in his trust account.

Reinstatements from Disability Inactive Status

Elisabeth Murray-Obertein of Morganton petitioned to be reinstated from disability inactive status to active status. The DHC entered an order on December 6, 2018, that will reinstate Murray-Obertein to active status if she satisfies enumerated conditions.

Reinstatements from Disbarment

Shawn David Clark of Hickory petitioned for reinstatement from disbarment. He was disbarred in 2013 for having sex with a client, making false statements to a tribunal and to the Grievance Committee, suborning a witness to give false testimony, committing criminal acts including communicating threats and obstruction of justice, engaging in conduct involving deceit and misrepresentation, and engaging in a conflict of interest. The State Bar moved to dismiss the petition because it was filed before Clark was eligible to apply for reinstatement. Clark withdrew the petition but indicated that he intends to refile.

Orders to Show Cause

The Wake County Superior Court held Charles L. Morgan Jr. of Charlotte in contempt and censured him pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 5A-12 for twice violating the court’s injunction that prohibited him from handling entrusted funds and that required him to produce financial records to the State Bar. 

The Wake County Superior Court entered a consent order censuring Hendersonville lawyer Scott Shelton pursuant N.C. Gen. Stat. § 5A-12 for violating the court’s injunction that prohibited him from handling entrusted funds and that required him to produce financial records to the State Bar.

Notice of Intent to Seek Reinstatement

In the Matter of James Walter Smith

Notice is hereby given that James Walter Smith of Durham, NC, intends to file a petition for reinstatement before the Disciplinary Hearing Commission of the North Carolina State Bar. James Walter Smith was disbarred in 1982 pursuant to voluntary surrender of his license in which he admitted to the crime of Armed Bank Robbery on July 21, 1981.

Individuals who wish to note their concurrence with or opposition to the petition for reinstatement should file written notice with the Secretary of the North Carolina State Bar, PO Box 25908, Raleigh, NC, 27611, before May 1, 2018 (60 days after publication). 

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