BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, WYOMING STATE BAR, Petitioner,
NICK EDWARD BEDUHN, WSB # 6-3763, Respondent.
ORDER OF SIX MONTH SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE OF
JAMES BURKE Chief Justice.
This matter came before the Court upon a
"Report and Recommendation for Six Month Order of
Suspension, " filed herein November 7, 2017, by the
Board of Professional Responsibility for the Wyoming State
Bar. This Court has carefully reviewed the Report and
Recommendation, the attached "Affidavit of Costs and
Expenses, " and the file. This Court finds the Report
and Recommendation should be approved, confirmed, and adopted
by the Court, and that Respondent, Nick Edward Beduhn, should
be suspended from the practice of law for a period of six
months, with that suspension to run consecutively to the
two-year suspension he is currently serving. See Board of
Professional Responsibility, Wyoming State Bar v.
Beduhn, 2017 WY 97, 402 P.3d 950 (Wyo. 2017). It is,
therefore, [¶2] adjudged and ordered
that the Board of Professional Responsibility's Report
and Recommendation for Six Month Order of Suspension, 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
adjudged and ordered that, as a result of
the conduct set forth in the Report and Recommendation for
Six Month Order of Suspension, Respondent, Nick Edward
Beduhn, shall be, and hereby is, suspended from the practice
of law for a period of six months, with the period of
suspension to begin on May 10, 2019; and it is further
ORDERED that, during the period of
suspension, Respondent shall comply with the requirements of
the Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, particularly the
requirements found in Rule 21; and it is further
ORDERED that, pursuant to Rule 25 of the
Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, Respondent shall
reimburse the Wyoming State Bar the amount of $605.15,
representing the costs incurred in handling this matter, as
well as pay the administrative fee of $750.00. Respondent
shall pay the total amount of $1, 355.15 to the Wyoming State
Bar on or before January 2, 2018; and it is further
ORDERED that Nick Edward Beduhn shall, on or
before January 2, 2018, reimburse the complainant the amount
of $1, 000.00; and it is further
ORDERED that, pursuant to Rule 9(b) of the
Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, this Order of Six
Month Suspension from the Practice of Law, along with the
incorporated Report and Recommendation for Six Month Order of
Suspension, shall be published in the Wyoming Reporter and
the Pacific Reporter; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk of this Court cause a
copy of this Order of Six Month Suspension from the Practice
of Law to be served upon Respondent, Nick Edward Beduhn.
THE SUPREME COURT STATE OF WYOMING
MATTER OF NICK EDWARD BEDUHN RESPONDENT.
AND RECOMMENDATION FOR SIX MONTH ORDER OF SUSPENSION
MATTER came before the Board of Professional Responsibility
of the Wyoming State Bar (the "Board") on October
17, 2017, for a telephonic disciplinary hearing pursuant to
Rule 15(b), Wyo.R.Disc.Proc. All Board members were in
attendance. The Wyoming State Bar was represented by Bar
Counsel, Mark W. Gifford. Respondent Nick Edward Beduhn
attended and was given the opportunity to make an opening
statement, cross-examine the witness and make closing
remarks. Bar Counsel Exhibit 1 was received into evidence.
Based upon the exhibits received into evidence, the testimony
of witness and with due consideration given to the statements
of counsel, the Board FINDS, CONCLUDES and RECOMMENDS as
Respondent has been licensed to practice in Wyoming since
2003 and, until this Court's order of immediate
suspension issued May 10, 2017, maintained an active practice
of law in Cody, Wyoming. Respondent is presently the subject
of a two year order of suspension issued by this Court on
August 24, 2017. The order of two year suspension provides
that the period of suspension runs from May 10, 2017.
disciplinary proceeding began with Bar Counsel's
investigation of a complaint submitted by a client of
Respondent's in March 2017. Complainant's complaint
chronicles her DUI arrest on June 17, 2016, her engagement of
Respondent, and Respondent's generally inattentive and
nonresponsive representation of her. For the last several
weeks before Complainant submitted her complaint. Respondent
did not respond to Complainant's inquiries regarding the
status of her case. When Complainant was successful in
talking with Respondent, he misled her as to the status of
her case. Complainant paid Respondent a $1, 000.00 fee and
received very little in terms of services. Respondent
eventually engaged other counsel in March 2017.
Counsel mailed Complainant's complaint to Respondent on
March 15, 2017, requesting a response by March 29, 2017. When
no response was received, a follow up request was sent by
certified mail on April 6, 2017. The follow up letter was
May 11, 2017, Bar Counsel served notice upon Respondent that
a request for authority to file a formal charge had been
submitted to the Review and Oversight Committee.
May 26, 2017, the Review and Oversight Committee issued a
Finding of Probable Cause authorizing the filing of a formal
charge against Respondent.
the formal charge filed in this matter on May 30, 2017, Bar
Counsel alleged that in Respondent's representation of
Complainant, Respondent violated Rules 1.1 (competence), 1.3
(diligence), 1.4 (communication with client) and 1.5 (fees)
of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct.
Counsel further alleged that in failing and refusing to
respond to Complainant's complaint, Respondent also
violated Rule 8.1(b) (failure to respond to a demand for
information in a disciplinary matter).
formal charge was served by certified mail, return receipt
requested, on May 30, 2017. The return receipt on file
indicates that the formal charge was retrieved by a person
believed to be Respondent's employee, from the Cody post
office on June 7, 2017. Rule 14(a), Wyo.R.Disc.Proc, provides
in relevant part, "Within 20 days after service of the
formal charge, or within such greater period of time as may
be approved by the BPR or a Disciplinary Judge, the
respondent shall file the original of an answer to the formal
charge with the BPR Clerk and shall serve a copy upon Bar
Counsel." Respondent failed to file an answer or
otherwise respond to the formal charge.
14(b)(1), Wyo.R.Disc.Proc, provides in relevant part,
"If the respondent fails to file an answer within the
period provided by subsection (a) of this Rule, Bar Counsel
shall file a motion for default with the BPR Clerk.
Thereafter, the BPR Clerk shall enter a default and the
formal charge shall be deemed admitted; provided, however,
that a respondent who fails to file a timely answer may, upon
a showing that the failure to answer was the result of
mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect, obtain
leave of the BPR to file an answer."
When Respondent failed to answer or otherwise respond to the
formal charge, default was entered pursuant to Rule 14(b)(1),
Wyo.R.Disc.Proc, on July 10, 2017. The matter was thereafter
set for a sanction hearing pursuant to Rule 14(b)(2),
Wyo.R.Disc.Proc, on October 17, 2017.
Respondent did not seek an extension of time to file an
answer to the formal charge nor did he contest the entry of
sanction hearing proceeded with a brief opening statement by
Bar Counsel. Bar Counsel informed the Board that a
stipulation was reached with Respondent shortly before the
hearing, which did not provide sufficient time to prepare the
paperwork and that the terms of the stipulation would
continue to be Bar Counsel's recommendation after
presenting evidence. Respondent, who was self-represented at
the hearing, waived opening statement. Bar Counsel called
Complainant as his only witness, who provided testimony
supporting the allegations of the formal charge.
a result of Respondent's default, the following
allegations of the formal charge are deemed admitted. The
factual basis is further established in the record by Bar
Counsel Exhibit 1, and by testimony adduced during the
sanction hearing. This Board finds that Respondent violated
Rules 1.1 (competence), 1.3 (diligence), 1.4 (communication
with client) and 1.5 (fees) of the Wyoming Rules of
Professional Conduct in his representation of Complainant,
and that he further violated Rule 8.1(b) (failure to respond
to a demand for information in a disciplinary matter).
of the Appropriate Sanction
considering the duties breached by Respondent in the
misconduct described above, the Board finds that Respondent
knowingly failed to perform services for a client and caused
injury or potential injury to a client for which, absent
aggravating or mitigating circumstances, suspension would be
the appropriate sanction. See ABA Standard 4.4,
"Lack of Diligence, " infra.
committing the foregoing violations, Respondent acted with
knowledge, i.e., he acted "with conscious awareness of
the nature or attendant circumstances of his *** conduct both
without the conscious objective or purpose to accomplish a
particular result." See "The Lawyer's
Mental State, " infra.
Respondent inflicted actual injury upon his client.
See "The Potential or Actual Injury Caused by
the Lawyer's Misconduct, " infra.
Board finds the following aggravating factors:
a. Prior disciplinary record.
b. Vulnerability of the victim.
c. Substantial experience in the practice of law.
See Aggravating ...