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From the Summer 2020 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

Parker Russell Himes of Chicago, Illinois, formerly of Charlotte, pled guilty to numerous drug felony offenses of obtaining or attempting to obtain controlled substances by fraud. He also provided the State Bar a letter bearing a forged signature. He surrendered his license to the DHC and was disbarred.

Bradley R. Lamb, formerly of Pittsboro, was disbarred by the DHC. He was convicted in Florida of the criminal offenses of promoting the sexual performance of a child by transmitting child pornography over the internet, engaging in sexual acts over the internet with reason to believe he was being viewed by a minor, and solicitation of a person believed to be a child over the internet. An order of interim suspension of his law license was entered in November 2007 and remained in effect until the order of disbarment was entered after his release from prison.

Joseph Lee Levinson of Benson pled guilty to the felony offense of conspiracy to obtain money in the custody of a bank by false pretenses by, among other devices, misrepresenting to lenders that his client was purchasing houses as rental property when his client was actually purchasing them as marijuana grow houses for a large-scale drug trafficking operation. In January 2016, the chair of the DHC entered an order of interim suspension of his law license. In February 2020, Levinson surrendered his license and was disbarred by the DHC.

Suspensions & Stayed Suspensions

Brandon Graham of Gaston County possessed heroin, methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia and made a misleading statement to police during a traffic stop. The chair of the DHC entered an order suspending his license on an interim basis. The DHC ultimately suspended his license for five years. After serving one year of active suspension, Graham may apply for a stay of the balance upon showing compliance with numerous conditions. He received credit toward the period of active suspension for the time his license was subject to interim suspension.

David B. Hefferon of Charlotte provided legal services to a client who was homeless, vulnerable, and at risk of losing custody of her child. Hefferon paid for hotel rooms before the client’s court dates and, on at least one occasion, visited her in the hotel room bringing alcohol for them to share. Hefferon admitted that he kissed the client and touched her breast. The DHC suspended Hefferon’s license for one year. The suspension is stayed for two years upon compliance with conditions designed to protect the public and ensure adequate boundaries with female clients.

Andrew LeLiever of Sanford did not adequately communicate with clients, did not act with diligence in representing clients, entered into an employment agreement with a client without documenting the terms of the agreement in writing, advising his client of the desirability of seeking the advice of independent counsel, and obtaining his client’s informed, written consent to the essential terms of the agreement, did not participate in the State Bar’s fee dispute resolution program, and did not timely respond to the Grievance Committee. The DHC suspended LeLiever’s license for two years. The suspension is stayed for two years upon his compliance with numerous conditions.

Ada L. Mason of Newton Grove committed drug offenses. Her law license was suspended by the Wayne County Superior Court in 2013. She successfully completed probation and the charges were dismissed. In March 2020, the court rescinded the order suspending her license subject to resolution of a disciplinary action in the DHC. The DHC suspended her license for three years. The suspension is stayed for five years upon her compliance with numerous conditions.

Yuanyue Mu of Cary did not promptly deposit entrusted funds, did not adequately supervise an assistant, disbursed funds from his trust account for clients in excess of any funds held for the clients, did not promptly reimburse the resulting deficiencies to the trust account, and did not conduct monthly and quarterly trust account reviews and reconciliations. The DHC suspended him for two years. The suspension is stayed for two years upon his compliance with numerous conditions.

Emily Moore Tyler of Raleigh altered a notary acknowledgment on a filed pleading and was dishonest to judges about it. She was suspended by the DHC for five years.
Louis P. Woodruff of Raleigh did not supervise his spouse/office manager, who misappropriated funds from Woodruff’s trust account. He was suspended for two years. The suspension is stayed for two years upon Woodruff’s compliance with numerous conditions.

Completed Motions to Show Cause

The Wake County Superior Court entered an order enjoining Douglas P. Connor of Mount Olive from handling entrusted funds and from serving in any fiduciary capacity. Connor was then serving as trustee of a testamentary trust and did not resign when the injunction was entered. The court ordered Connor to show cause why he should not be held in civil contempt for violating the injunction. After hearing, the court found that Connor’s lack of compliance was not willful and directed him to resign from the trusteeship within ten days. Connor did not resign. He finally resigned after the court entered another order for Connor to show cause why he should not be held in contempt.

Completed Grievance Noncompliance Actions before the DHC

The chair of the DHC ordered Harold R. Crews of Walkertown to show cause why his law license should not be suspended pursuant to 27 N.C. Admin. Code 1B § .0135 for failure to provide information and trust account records to the Grievance Committee. Crews did not respond to the show cause order. He was suspended by the DHC and will not be eligible for reinstatement until he provides the requested information and records.

Censures

James Armstrong of Concord was censured by the Grievance Committee. He engaged in the unauthorized practice of law while administratively suspended by preparing a deed for his church and by holding himself out as “Attorney at Law.”

Jack Kaplan of High Point was censured by the Grievance Committee. He did not appear at a small claims hearing on behalf of his client and misrepresented the truth to his client about the disposition of the small claims case. Kaplan misrepresented to his client that the client had been cheated and that the opposing counsel had the small claims judgment changed from dismissal without prejudice to dismissal with prejudice. The Grievance Committee found that Kaplan knew he had no proof to support those statements, and that those misrepresentations were made to defend his inaction in the case.

Reprimands

The Grievance Committee reprimanded Brian Dunaway of Charlotte. While working for Kealy Law Center, an out-of-state law firm based in Colorado, Dunaway aided in the unauthorized practice of law, collected an improper fee, and did not supervise his out-of-state nonlawyer assistants in their provision of legal services to his clients and in their handling of his clients’ entrusted funds.

Transfers to Disability Inactive Status

Michael H. Griffin, formerly of Shelby and now of Florida, was transferred to disability inactive status by the DHC.

Bradley S. Moree of New Hanover County was transferred to disability inactive status by the chair of the Grievance Committee.

Notice of Intent to Seek Reinstatement

In the Matter of Ertle Knox Chavis

Notice is hereby given that Ertle Knox Chavis of Lumberton intends to file a petition for reinstatement before the Disciplinary Hearing Commission of the North Carolina State Bar. Chavis misappropriated entrusted client funds and engaged in a conflict of interest. An Order of Disbarment was issued against Chavis on January 23, 2015.
Individuals who wish to note their concurrence with or opposition to this petition for reinstatement should file written notice with the secretary of the North Carolina State Bar, PO Box 25908, Raleigh, NC, 27611, before August 1, 2020 (60 days after publication).

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