BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, WYOMING STATE BAR, Petitioner,
GREG L. GODDARD, WSB # 5-1252, Respondent.
SUBMITTED this 19th of April, 2018.
ORDER OF SUSPENSION
JAMES BURKE CHIEF JUSTICE
This matter came before the Court upon the
"Board of Professional Responsibility's Report and
Recommendation for Order of 90 Day Suspension, " filed
herein April 24, 2018. 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, Greg L. Goddard, should be
suspended for his conduct. It is, therefore, [¶2]
ADJUDGED AND ORDERED that the "Board of
Professional Responsibility's Report and Recommendation
for Order of 90 Day 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
ADJUDGED AND ORDERED that, effective June 6,
2018, Greg L. Goddard is suspended from the practice of law
for 45 days. That number represents a suspension of 90 days
with credit for 45 days served, based on time served in
federal custody; and it is further
ORDERED that, pursuant to Rule 25 of the
Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, Mr. Goddard shall
reimburse the Wyoming State Bar the amount of $6, 927.54,
representing the costs incurred in handling this matter, as
well as pay the administrative fee of $750.00. Mr. Goddard
shall pay the total amount of $7, 677.54 to the Wyoming State
Bar on or before October 1, 2018; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk of this Court shall
docket this Order of Suspension, along with the incorporated
Report and Recommendation for Order of 90 Day Suspension, as
a matter coming regularly before this Court as a public
record; and it is further
ORDERED that, pursuant to Rule 9(b) of the
Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, this Order of
Suspension, along with the incorporated Report and
Recommendation for Order of 90 Day 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 Suspension to be served upon
Respondent, Greg L. Goddard.
DATED this 31st day of May, 2018.
BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION FOR ORDER OF 90 DAY SUSPENSION
JEFFREY A. DONNEL CHAIRMAN
MATTER came before the Board of Professional Responsibility
of the Wyoming State Bar (the "Board") on March 26,
2018, for a disciplinary hearing pursuant to Rule 15(b),
Wyo.R.Disc.Proc. The entire board was in attendance. The
Wyoming State Bar was represented by Bar Counsel. Mark W.
Gifford. Respondent was present in person as was his counsel,
Scott E. Ortiz. Bar Counsel's Exhibits BC-1 through BC-30
and BC-32 through BC-61 were received into evidence, as were
Respondent's Exhibits 1 and 25.
upon the exhibits received into evidence, the testimony of
witnesses and with due consideration given to the statements
of counsel, the Board unanimously FINDS, CONCLUDES and
RECOMMENDS as follows:
Board accepts the parties' pre-hearing stipulation and
renders the following findings based upon the stipulation,
Respondent's supporting affidavit of factual basis, and
the testimony and exhibits received into evidence at the
a. Respondent is a licensed attorney in the State of Wyoming,
Bar #5-1252. Respondent has been licensed to practice in
Wyoming since 1972, and maintains an active practice of law
in Buffalo, Wyoming,
b. This case stems from Respondent's representation of
Stacey Ridley and her desire to file personal bankruptcy.
Respondent's representation of Ms. Ridley originally
began in 2011 but, due to a number of personal issues, it was
very difficult for Ms. Ridley to follow through with the
requirements of filing a bankruptcy petition. After Ms.
Ridley stopped coming to Respondent's office for
scheduled appointments, and refused to sign necessary
paperwork, Respondent ultimately closed the file for a year
or more. In 2015, Ms. Ridley renewed her interest in filing a
c. Ms. Ridley's bankruptcy petition was ultimately
drafted and ready for filing in September 2015. This
generally coincided with a partial distribution of assets
from the Estate of Charles Evitt. In the Evitt probate
proceeding, Respondent was representing Ms. Ridley's
mother, Mary Jo Evitt. Ms. Evitt was the surviving spouse,
who had elected against the terms of her husband's will.
Ms. Ridley was Charles Evitt's stepdaughter. In his will,
Mr. Evitt left Ms. Ridley a cash bequest of $25, 000.
d. When preparing the petition, Respondent knowingly failed
to list the $25, 000 bequest as a contingent asset on Ms.
Ridley's bankruptcy schedule of assets.
e. One of Ms. Ridley's creditors was aware of the $25,
000 bequest in the will, and raised the issue with the
bankruptcy trustee. Within a couple of months after this
notification, the $25, 000 was provided to the bankruptcy
trustee and ultimately distributed to Ms. Ridley's
f. The Representative of the Office of the United States
Trustee, Daniel Morse, had serious concerns about this
sequence of events, and as a result, filed a complaint
against Ms. Ridley, based on the failure to list the $25, 000
g. After reviewing the complaint from the bankruptcy trustee,
Respondent agreed, via signed stipulation, to a two (2) year
suspension from practicing in bankruptcy court. Respondent
also agreed to return any fees he received from Ms. Ridley,
(or her family members), for the work Respondent performed
during the bankruptcy proceeding. Respondent farther agreed
to provide to the bankruptcy trustee verification of his
self-report of his actions to Bar Counsel.
h. Subsequent to Respondent's suspension in bankruptcy
court, Respondent was notified that the U.S. Attorney's
Office intended to seek an indictment charging Respondent
with a bankruptcy fraud offense.
i. After negotiations with the U.S. Attorney's office, a
plea agreement was reached wherein Respondent entered a
guilty plea to the misdemeanor offense of contempt of court.
Part of the plea agreement also required Respondent to spend
45 days in jail as part of a stipulated sentence. This plea
agreement was accepted by Magistrate Judge Kelly Rankin and
sentence was ordered.
j. Respondent began his jail sentence in early December 2016,
until ordered to be released by the Federal Marshal's
office in January 2017.
k. The failure on Respondent's part to list the $25, 000
contingent asset initially jeopardized Ms. Ridley's
chance to receive a discharge through the bankruptcy court.
Respondent obtained and paid for new counsel for Ms. Ridley.
After a hearing in bankruptcy court on February 23, 2017,
Judge Parker granted Ms. Ridley her discharge of debt.
Respondent has unconditionally admitted that his conduct in
the Ridley bankruptcy matter violated 8.4(b) (criminal
conduct reflecting adversely on the lawyer's honesty,
trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects) and
8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
misrepresentation). The parties have stipulated that these
admitted violations may be deemed established by clear and
convincing evidence, and the Board so finds.
Pursuant to the parties' stipulation, the charges of
violating Rules 3.3 (candor toward the tribunal), 4.1(a)
(false statement of material fact) and 8.4(d) (conduct
prejudicial to the administration of justice) are dismissed.
Board having accepted the parties' stipulation with
respect to Respondent's violation of Rules 8.4(b) and
8.4(c), the hearing proceeded with the presentation of
testimony and exhibits relevant to the four factors set forth
in Rule 15(b)(3)(D), Wyo.R.Disc.Proc, for the purpose of
determining the appropriate sanction for Respondent's
misconduct. These factors are:
(i) Whether the lawyer has violated a duty owed to a client,
to the public, to the legal system, or to the profession;
(ii) Whether the lawyer acted intentionally, knowingly, or
(iii) The amount of the actual or potential injury caused by