Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Board of Professional Responsibility v. Allred

Supreme Court of Wyoming

August 24, 2016

BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, WYOMING STATE BAR, Petitioner,
v.
SPENCER L. ALLRED, WSB # 7-4601, Respondent.

          ORDER OF PUBLIC CENSURE

          E. JAMES BURKE Chief Justice.

         [¶1] This matter came before the Court upon a "Report and Recommendation for Order of Public Censure, " filed herein August 15, 2016, by the Board of Professional Responsibility for the Wyoming State Bar, pursuant to Rule 12 of the Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure (stipulated discipline). The Court, after a careful review of the Board of Professional Responsibility's Report and Recommendation and the file, finds that the Report and Recommendation should be approved, confirmed, and adopted by the Court, and that Respondent Spencer L. Allred should be publicly censured for his conduct. It is, therefore, [¶2] ADJUDGED AND ORDERED that the Board of Professional Responsibility's "Report and Recommendation for Order of Public Censure, " which is attached hereto and incorporated herein, shall be, and the same hereby is, approved, confirmed, and adopted by this Court; and it is further

         [¶3] ADJUDGED AND ORDERED that Spencer L. Allred is hereby publicly censured for his conduct, which is described in the Report and Recommendation for Order of Public Censure. The Wyoming State Bar may issue a press release consistent with the one set out in the Report and Recommendation for Order of Public Censure; and it is further;

          [¶4] ORDERED that, pursuant to Rule 25 of the Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, Mr. Allred shall reimburse the Wyoming State Bar the amount of $50.00, representing the costs incurred in handling this matter, as well as pay the administrative fee of $750.00. Mr. Allred shall pay the total amount of $800.00 to the Wyoming State Bar on or before September 30, 2016; and it is further

         [¶5] ORDERED that the Clerk of this Court shall docket this Order of Public Censure, along with the incorporated Report and Recommendation for Order of Public Censure, as a matter coming regularly before this Court as a public record; and it is further

         [¶6] ORDERED that, pursuant to Rule 9(b) of the Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, this Order of Public Censure, along with the incorporated Report and Recommendation for Order of Public Censure, shall be published in the Wyoming Reporter and the Pacific Reporter; and it is further

         [¶7] ORDERED that the Clerk of this Court cause a copy of this Order of Public Censure to be served upon Respondent Spencer L. Allred.

         In the Matter SPENCER L. ALLRED, WSB # 7-4601, Respondent.

         BPR No. 2016-014

         August 15, 2016

         REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION FOR ORDER OF PUBLIC CENSURE

         THIS MATTER came before the Board of Professional Responsibility on the 9th day of August, 2016, for consideration of the Stipulation for Public Censure submitted pursuant to Rules 9 and 12 of the Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, and the Board having reviewed the Stipulation, the accompanying affidavit of factual basis and being fully advised in the premises, FINDS, CONCLUDES and RECOMMENDS as follows:

         Respondent has been licensed to practice in Wyoming since 2009, and is engaged in the active practice of law in Afton, Wyoming. In May of 2014, Respondent undertook to represent a client ("Client") in a divorce action. Respondent accepted a $10, 000.00 retainer to be applied against fees earned and costs incurred in the case. Respondent filed the complaint on May 30, 2014.

         Initially, Client's husband was self-represented. He soon hired an attorney, and Respondent began exploring settlement with his attorney. One issue in the divorce case was the valuation of a business which was the couple's principal source of income. Respondent researched experts to appraise the business, but did not actually retain an expert.

         There were significant delays in the proceeding. Client's husband changed lawyers twice. Respondent was dealing with significant personal issues in his life - Respondent and his wife had recently adopted two children, and Respondent's wife was fully employed in a position that required a 200 mile commute.

         As Respondent concedes, Client became justifiably frustrated with the lack of progress in her divorce. Respondent admits that he had tarried on moving the matter forward with formal discovery based upon his belief that the matter would settle. At Client's insistence, Respondent communicated a formal settlement offer to husband's counsel in February 2015, and served extensive written discovery requests at the same time. Respondent acknowledged to Client that the case had taken too long and Respondent should have been more aggressive in moving it forward.

         After the settlement offer was sent in February 2015, the husband changed counsel and there were further delays while his new counsel got up to speed on the case. Again, Respondent concedes that he should have been more vigilant in moving the case forward. He failed to do so.

         In May 2015, when no response to the February 2015 settlement offer had been received, Respondent complied with Client's direction to send a revised settlement offer. Respondent assured Client that he would push settlement so that Client could move on with her life.

         Respondent's office received a written counteroffer from the husband's attorney in June 2015, but Respondent neglected to read it until mid-July 2015. The counteroffer was disappointing to both Client and Respondent. At this point, Respondent came to the conclusion that the matter was unlikely to settle, and set about preparing the case for trial. Respondent worked with Client to prepare Rule 26 disclosures.

         In early August 2015, a new attorney entered an appearance in the case for the husband. The new attorney was much more aggressive than her predecessors, sending extensive written discovery requests and insisting on scheduling Client's deposition.

         By the fall of 2015, Client's frustration with the case had understandably reached a boiling point. Rather than deal with the situation head-on, Respondent avoided his client's calls and neglected to respond to numerous emails, which contributed to a deteriorating relationship between Respondent and his client.

         By late November 2015, Client had responded to extensive discovery requests. Though she had been deposed by the husband's counsel, Respondent failed to take the husband's deposition in a timely manner. Client's $10, 000.00 retainer was exhausted and she had very little to show for her expenditures of time and money in the case. Respondent and his client had an uncomfortable meeting in early December 2015 and soon parted ways, with Client deciding to retain other counsel. In January 2016, Client submitted a complaint against Respondent to the Office of Bar Counsel.

         Respondent has conditionally admitted to multiple violations of Rule 1.3 (diligence) and 1.4 (communication with client) of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct. Respondent has also conditionally admitted to multiple violations of Rule 1.5 (fees) in failing to exercise professional judgment in his billing in the matter. In hindsight, Respondent agrees that he should have written off unproductive, excessive, or redundant hours charged to Client. Respondent is extremely embarrassed and remorseful about his conduct in representing Client, which Respondent admits did not comport with the level of diligence, communication and billing judgment which Client rightfully expected. Accordingly, Respondent has refunded the entire $10, 000.00 retainer Client paid Respondent.

         ABA Sanction Standards

         Respondent's violations of Rules 1.1 and 1.3 call into play Standard 4.4, "Lack of Diligence, " of the ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions. Standard ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.