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. Beduhn

Supreme Court of Wyoming

November 22, 2017

BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, WYOMING STATE BAR, Petitioner,
v.
NICK EDWARD BEDUHN, WSB # 6-3763, Respondent.

          ORDER OF SIX MONTH SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW

          E. JAMES BURKE Chief Justice.

         [¶1] 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

         [¶3] 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

         [¶4] 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

         [¶5] 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

         [¶6] 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

         [¶7] 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

         [¶8] 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.

         BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT STATE OF WYOMING

         IN THE MATTER OF NICK EDWARD BEDUHN RESPONDENT.

         NO. 2017-028

         REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION FOR SIX MONTH ORDER OF SUSPENSION

         THIS 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 follows:

         Findings of Fact

         1. 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.

         2. This 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.

         3. Bar 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 returned unclaimed.

         4. On 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.

         5. On May 26, 2017, the Review and Oversight Committee issued a Finding of Probable Cause authorizing the filing of a formal charge against Respondent.

         6. In 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.

         7. Bar 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).

         8. The 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.

         9. Rule 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."

         10. 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.

         11. Respondent did not seek an extension of time to file an answer to the formal charge nor did he contest the entry of default.

         12. The 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.

         13. As 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).

         Determination of the Appropriate Sanction

         14. In 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.

         15. In 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.

         16. Respondent inflicted actual injury upon his client. See "The Potential or Actual Injury Caused by the Lawyer's Misconduct, " infra.

         17. The 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 ...

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.