Respondent filed an answering brief on November 29, The pretrial stipulation deadline was scheduled for December 14, On December 20, , six days after the deadline, Respondent wrote to the Court advising that he would bring the pretrial stipulation to the pretrial conference on December 21, The Court in its Opinion repeatedly stated that Conley had failed to produce sufficient evidence to prove her claims.
Respondent entered his appearance on July 31, on behalf of plaintiff Sandra D. Jackson v. Dover Downs Inc. Jackson's deposition was taken by Dover Downs, Inc. On September 14, Dover Downs' attorney requested additional discovery photos of accident scene, contact information regarding Jackson's treating physicians and documentation if Jackson was claiming lost income. The same information was requested by letters to Respondent dated October 26, , November 23, , December 29, and February 8, Respondent admits that he did not provide some of the requested information that he had promised to provide.
An Order granting a Motion to Compel production of this information was entered on June 24, A Stipulated Order was entered on September 2, purportedly resolving the issues. On January 20, , Dover Downs filed a further Motion to Compel Discovery and Motion for Sanctions based upon further failures of Respondent to respond to discovery requests. On February 8, a Stipulated Order was entered purportedly resolving the pending discovery issues.
The Court ruled at the Pretrial Conference that Jackson's evidence and testimony of witnesses would be limited because of a failure to respond to previous discovery requests. Respondent filed a Motion for Continuance of the May 23, trial on May 18, The Motion was granted by Orders dated May 19, and May 20, Another attorney entered his appearance on behalf of Jackson and a Substitution of Counsel Form was filed on June 22, An Order was entered on July 19, by the trial Judge upon application of Jackson's new attorney revising prior Orders and permitting additional witnesses to testify because of Respondent's performance deficiencies, including Respondent's failure to prepare the plaintiffs' lay and expert witnesses for trial.
Robbin Vann, No. The opening brief and appendix of Cheswold in this appeal were due to be filed on July 6, The motion was granted on July 6, The opening brief and appendix were scheduled to be filed on August 6, Respondent did not file the brief and appendix on August 6, On August 9, , a Clerk of the Delaware Supreme Court sent a letter to Respondent advising, among other things, that his brief was overdue. Respondent did not contact or respond to the Clerk. On August 10, , four days after his brief was due, Respondent, on behalf of Cheswold, filed a second Motion for Extension of Time under Rule 15 b iv.
The motion was granted on August 10, The opening brief and appendix were scheduled to be filed on August 11, Respondent did not file the brief and appendix on August 11, On August 12, , a Clerk of the Delaware Supreme Court sent a letter to Respondent advising, among other things, that his brief was overdue.
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On August 12, , attorneys for Robbin Vann, the opposing party, filed a Motion to Dismiss the appeal based upon Cheswold's failure to file a timely brief on appeal. On August 16, , Respondent, on behalf of Cheswold, filed a Motion for Leave under Rule 15 b v vi vii requesting a third extension of time to file the overdue brief until August 19, This Motion was denied by the Court on August 17, On August 20, the Motion was granted and the brief was due to be filed no later than p.
On August 20, , the Court issued a Rule to Show Cause to Respondent to appear on August 25, to show cause why he should not be sanctioned pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 33 for performance deficiencies. Respondent filed an Answer to Rule to Show Cause on August 24, admitting performance deficiencies. Respondent appeared in Court on August 25, Respondent admitted performance deficiencies.
At the conclusion of the Rule to Show Cause Hearing on August 25, , the Court imposed a private admonition among other sanctions.
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On August 26, , the day after the Hearing, Respondent through counsel sent a letter to the Clerk of the Supreme Court disclosing to the Court for the first time a Private Admonition. Respondent confirmed many of the admissions he had made in his Response. Respondent testified that he had developed a dependency on prescription drugs over a course of time which had adversely impacted his practice.
At the April 12 Hearing, he initially testified that he first realized he had a drug dependency issue in July Respondent admitted that he had violated Rules 1. He entered a drug treatment program for 30 days during the Jackson case and had the matter transferred to another law firm.
Conley v. Chaffinch
He admitted to missing deadlines in that case. Respondent admitted that with respect to the Jackson case, he violated Rules 1. Respondent admitted the allegations contained in the Court's Order to Show Cause. Respondent maintained throughout his testimony that he did not appreciate that a disciplinary sanction, such as a private admonition, could be imposed as a result of his performance deficiencies. At any time before or during the rule to show cause hearing, did you engage in any mental calculus or thought process as to whether you would or would not tell the Court about the prior private admonition?
Just to explain, the rule to show cause comes pretty quickly as far as they issue it, they tell you to appear here. There's not a whole lot of time to calculate things before you go in and meet with them.
It's a pretty—it's somewhat of a traumatic experience. It's not something that you really—to me, that you can really calculate.
At no point in time did it trigger in my mind that I needed—did I think I needed to disclose this private admonition. That never was triggered in my mind of the prior disciplinary order. I understand that the Supreme Court has an ability to do anything they want. It did not trigger in my mind, no.
Respondent expressly denied that there was a plan to avoid disclosure during the hearing to avoid a harsher sanction and then wait until the following day to disclose it:. With reference to this part of your answer to No. And I certainly—if that was the plan, I mean, I certainly know that, if I disclosed it, I wouldn't have disclosed it the next day. Otherwise, I know the Supreme Court can do whatever they want, essentially. I wanted to make sure I was absolutely candid to the Court about the issue. That's why I disclosed it the next day.
If I wanted to hide it, I wouldn't have disclosed it the next day. That wouldn't make sense to me. Slanina], at that point in time, since they had already given me a private admonition as a sanction, I disclosed it to you [Mr. Slanina] and authorized you to make sure that they knew that I had a previous private admonition. After being questioned by the Panel as to whether he had discussed the Private Admonition before the August 25 Hearing, Respondent testified that he had discussed the Private Admonition with Mr.
Slanina in the days just before the August 25 Show Cause Hearing. After giving that testimony, and upon re-cross-examination by the ODC, Respondent testified that the conversation with Mr. Slanina outside the court house after the August 25 Show Cause Hearing was actually the second time he had discussed the Private Admonition with Mr.
I did discuss with him after—that would be the second time I discussed with him as far as kind of—the first time was far as I had the notice of disclosure to the Court. The first time would be Mr. Slanina had some questions as far as discussing—initial questions that he probably asked as far as your background is and where you're at. And I think that was up—those were the only two times I discussed it with Chip.
Respondent's counsel advised the Panel that they had anticipated that they would be asked whether he and his counsel had discussed the Private Admonition prior to the August 25 Hearing, and that the Respondent was prepared to waive the attorney-client privilege on a limited basis in order to address this point. Slanina about the Private Admonition before the August 25 Hearing. Respondent also testified that he had discussed Supreme Court Rule 33 with Mr.
Slanina prior to the Show Cause Hearing. The text of the Rule itself states that a private reprimand is a possible sanction for a performance deficiency. Slanina, I take it, about Rule 33 and the range of potential sanctions that we could impose under that Rule? Thus, the Board was presented with Respondent's outright denials of any specific intent to conceal the Private Admonition at the August 25 Hearing as part of a pre-conceived plan to obtain a lighter sanction. Balanced against this testimony is Respondent's testimony that he had discussed the Private Admonition with Mr.
Slanina in the days just prior to the August 25 Hearing, and that he had read and discussed Rule 33 prior to that hearing. However, two factors persuade us that Respondent has knowingly violated his duty of candor to the Supreme Court.
First, the questioning by the Court should have prompted the disclosure of his prior Private Admonition as the Court clearly appeared to be asking whether Respondent's performance deficiencies were an isolated event. As to the first point, a number of questions posed by the Court should have prompted immediate disclosure of any prior disciplinary sanction. The following questions illustrate the point:.
Poliquin's shoulder until we can be satisfied that this is indeed, as he claims, a once—you know, basically, a one-shot problem, which is the product of being overly extended as distinguished from a deeper psychological problem that in other cases has manifested itself in many different ways. Respondent testified that during this questioning, he was not thinking about the Private Admonition.
Ortiz v. State, A.2d | Casetext
Rather, he was thinking about how he could assure the Court this conduct would not occur in the future. As to the second factor, i. State of Delaware Dept. Further, on December 21, , Vice Chancellor Lamb denied Respondent's request for injunctive relief on the ground that the application filed by the Respondent did not conform to Court of Chancery Rule 65 and did not exhaust administrative remedies.
Thus, given that the basis for the Private Admonition consisted of complaints from three different courts, Respondent's Counsel's statement that Respondent had been performing within judicial expectations since could not possibly be true. Accordingly, the Panel believes that Respondent should have corrected any misimpression given to the Court at that point.