News & Notices

Orders of Discipline & Disability September 2023

 

Michigan Bar Journal

 

DISBARMENT

Amanda Ann Carmen Andrews, P75823, Port Clinton, Ohio, by the Attorney Discipline Board Tri-County Hearing Panel #9. Disbarment, effective June 15, 2023.1

The respondent was convicted in Ohio by guilty verdict of three separate felonies: Menacing by Stalking in violation of OCR 2903.11; nonsupport of dependents in violation of OCR 2912.21(A)(2); and nonsupport of dependents in violation of OCR 2912.21(A)(2) on Sept. 6, 2022, in a matter titled State of Ohio v. Amanda Ann Carmen Andrews, Common Pleas Court of Ottawa County, Ohio, Case No. 2021 CR I 243A. In accordance with MCR 9.120(B)(1), the respondent’s license to practice law in Michigan was automatically suspended effective Sept. 6, 2022, the date of respondent’s felony convictions.

Based on her convictions, the panel found that the respondent committed professional misconduct when she engaged in conduct that violated a criminal law of a state or of the United States, an ordinance, or tribal law pursuant to MCR 2.615 in violation of MCR 9.104(5).

The panel ordered that the respondent be disbarred from the practice of law in Michigan. Total costs were assessed in the amount of $3,736.66.

REINSTATEMENT

On April 5, 2023, Ingham County Hearing Panel #2 entered an Order of Suspension with Conditions (By Consent) suspending the respondent from the practice of law in Michigan for 90 days effective May 1, 2023. On July 25, 2023, the respondent filed an affidavit pursuant to MCR 9.123(A) attesting that he has fully complied with all requirements of the panel’s order and will continue to comply with the order until and unless reinstated. The board was advised that the grievance administrator has no objection to the affidavit, and the board being otherwise advised;

NOW THEREFORE,

IT IS ORDERED that the respondent, Frederick J. Blackmond, is REINSTATED to the practice of law in Michigan effective Aug. 2, 2023.

DISBARMENT (BY CONSENT)

Scott A. Chappelle, P43635, East Lansing, by the Attorney Discipline Board Ingham County Hearing Panel #3. Disbarment, effective July 22, 2023.2

The respondent was convicted on April 25, 2022, by guilty plea, of the felony offense of Tax Evasion in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201, in a matter titled United States of America v. Scott Allan Chappelle, United States District Court Western District of Michigan, Case No. 1:20 CR 0079 JMB. In accordance with MCR 9.120(B)(1), the respondent’s license to practice law in Michigan was automatically suspended effective April 25, 2022, the date the court accepted the respondent’s guilty plea.

Based on his conviction, admissions, and the stipulation of the parties, the panel found that the respondent committed professional misconduct when he engaged in conduct that violated a criminal law of a state or of the United States, an ordinance, or tribal law pursuant to MCR 2.615 in violation of MCR 9.104(5).

In accordance with the stipulation of the parties, the panel ordered that the respondent be disbarred from the practice of law in Michigan. Total costs were assessed in the amount of $1,186.56.

REPRIMAND

Leila L. Hale, P79801, Henderson, Nevada, by the Attorney Discipline Board. Reprimand, effective June 23, 2023.

The grievance administrator filed a Notice of Filing of Reciprocal Discipline pursuant to MCR 9.120(C) that attached a certified copy of an order publicly reprimanding the respondent entered by the Nevada Supreme Court on Feb. 17, 2023, in a matter titled In the Matter of Discipline of Leila L. Hale, Bar No. 7368, Nevada Supreme Court No. 84918.

An order regarding imposition of reciprocal discipline was issued by the board on April 3, 2023, ordering the parties to inform the board in writing within 21 days from service of the order of any objection to the imposition of comparable discipline in Michigan based on the grounds set forth in MCR 9.120(C)(1), and whether a hearing was requested. The 21-day period set forth in the board’s April 3, 2023, order expired without objection or request for hearing by either party.

On May 25, 2023, the Attorney Discipline Board ordered that the respondent be reprimanded. Costs were assessed in the amount of $1,509.

REINSTATEMENT

On May 17, 2023, Tri-County Hearing Panel #1 entered an Order of Suspension (By Consent) suspending the respondent from the practice of law in Michigan for 45 days effective May 27, 2023. On July 12, 2023, the respondent filed an affidavit pursuant to MCR 9.123(A) attesting that he has fully complied with all requirements of the panel’s order and will continue to comply with the order until and unless reinstated. The board was advised that the grievance administrator has no objection to the affidavit and the board being otherwise advised;

NOW THEREFORE,

IT IS ORDERED that the respondent, Zachary Hallman, is REINSTATED to the practice of law in Michigan effective July 18, 2023.

REPRIMAND WITH CONDITIONS (BY CONSENT)

John Lawrence McDonough, P68576, Three Rivers, by the Attorney Discipline Board Kalamazoo County Hearing Panel #2. Reprimand, effective June 29, 2023.

The respondent and the grievance administrator filed a Stipulation for Consent Order of Reprimand with Conditions pursuant to MCR 9.115(F)(5) that was approved by the Attorney Grievance Commission and accepted by the hearing panel. The stipulation contained the respondent’s admission that he was convicted by guilty plea of impaired driving, a misdemeanor, in violation of MCL 257.625(3)(a), in People v. John Lawrence McDonough, 8th District Court (Kalamazoo), Case No. 08-774-SD.

Based on the respondent’s conviction, admission, and the parties’ stipulation, the panel found that the respondent committed professional misconduct when he engaged in conduct that violated a criminal law of a state or of the United States, an ordinance, or tribal law pursuant to MCR 2.615 in violation of MCR 9.104(5).

In accordance with the stipulation of the parties, the hearing panel ordered that the respondent be reprimanded and subject to conditions relevant to the established misconduct. Costs were assessed in the amount of $938.51.

SUSPENSION (BY CONSENT)

Thomas C. Miller, P17786, Southfield, by the Attorney Discipline Board Tri-County Hearing Panel #60. Suspension, 180 days, effective Nov. 1, 2023.3

The respondent and the grievance administrator filed a Stipulation for Consent Order of 180-Day Suspension in accordance with MCR 9.115(F)(5) which was approved by the Attorney Grievance Commission and accepted by the hearing panel. Based upon the respondent’s admissions to all the allegations set forth in the formal complaint, the panel found that he committed professional misconduct during his representation of a client in a medical malpractice case. Specifically, the respondent prepared and filed an action but failed to advise his client regarding numerous defense motions filed and failed to respond to these motions, which were ultimately granted and the case was dismissed. When the client contacted the respondent regarding the status of her case, the respondent misrepresented that there was no activity and failed to tell her the case had been dismissed.

Based upon respondent’s admissions as set forth in the parties’ stipulation, the panel found that the respondent neglected a legal matter entrusted to him in violation of MRPC 1.1(c); failed to seek lawful objectives of his client in violation of MRPC 1.2(a); failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in violation of MRPC 1.3; failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of her matter and failed to comply properly with reasonable requests for information in violation of MRPC 1.4(a); failed to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation in violation of MRPC 1.4(b); engaged in conduct involving deceit or misrepresentation where such conduct reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in violation of MRPC 8.4(b); engaged in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of MCR 9.104(1); engaged in conduct that exposes the legal profession or the courts to obloquy, contempt, censure, or reproach in violation of MCR 9.104(2); engaged in conduct that is contrary to justice, ethics, honesty, or good morals in violation of MCR 9.104(3); and engaged in conduct in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct in violation of MRPC 8.4(a) and MCR 9.104(4).

In accordance with the parties’ stipulation, the panel ordered that the respondent’s license to practice law be suspended for a period of 180 days effective Nov. 1, 2023. Total costs were assessed in the amount of $1,288.28.

THREE-YEAR SUSPENSION

Scott Alan Mund, P56731, Muskegon, by the Attorney Discipline Board Muskegon County Hearing Panel #1. Suspension, three years, effective July 6, 2023.4

The respondent and the grievance administrator filed a First Amended Stipulation for Consent Order of Suspension which was approved by the Attorney Grievance Commission and accepted by the hearing panel. The amended stipulation contained the respondent’s admission that he was convicted by no contest plea of one count of the felony offense of Gross Indecency in violation of MCL/PACC 750.338B in the matter titled People v. Scott Alan Mund, Muskegon County Circuit Court Case No. 2021-004920-FH. In accordance with MCR 9.120(B)(1), the respondent’s license to practice law in Michigan was automatically suspended effective June 7, 2022, the date the court accepted the respondent’s no contest plea.

Based on the respondent’s admissions and the parties’ amended stipulation, the panel found that the respondent engaged in conduct involving a violation of the criminal law where such conduct reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness in violation of MRPC 8.4(b) and violated a criminal law of a state or of the United States, an ordinance, or tribal law pursuant to MCR 2.615 in violation of MCR 9.104(5).

In accordance with the amended stipulation of the parties, the hearing panel ordered that the respondent’s license to practice law in Michigan be suspended for three years effective July 6, 2023. Total costs were assessed in the amount of $943.08.

REPRIMAND (BY CONSENT)

John J. Puzzuoli, P43803, Warren, by the Attorney Discipline Board Tri-County Hearing Panel #103. Reprimand, effective July 5, 2023.

The respondent and the grievance administrator filed a Stipulation for Consent Order of Reprimand pursuant to MCR 9.115(F)(5) which was approved by the Attorney Grievance Commission and accepted by the hearing panel. The stipulation contained the respondent’s admission that he was convicted by guilty plea of operating a motor vehicle while impaired, a misdemeanor, in violation of MCL/PACC 257.6253-A in People v. John Joseph Puzzuoli, 86th District Court, Case No. 22-1910-SD-2.

Based on the respondent’s conviction, admission, and the parties’ stipulation, the panel found that the respondent committed professional misconduct when he engaged in conduct involving violation of the criminal law where such conduct reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in violation of MRPC 8.4(b) and that he violated a criminal law of a state or of the United States, an ordinance, or tribal law pursuant to MCR 2.615 in violation of MCR 9.104(5).

In accordance with the stipulation of the parties, the hearing panel ordered that the respondent be reprimanded. Costs were assessed in the amount of $759.48.

REINSTATEMENT (WITH CONDITIONS)

Jason P. Ronning, P64779, Hudsonville, by the Attorney Discipline Board. Reinstated, effective July 18, 2023.

The petitioner’s license to practice law in Michigan has been continuously suspended since Dec. 28, 2017. Grievance Administrator v. Jason P. Ronning, 17-130-MZ (Ref. 17- 27-JC; 17-28-GA) (120-day suspension, effective Dec. 28, 2017). Thereafter, three other separate, unrelated disciplinary matters were filed against the petitioner that ultimately led to the suspension of his license to practice law requiring reinstatement under MCR 9.123(B) and 9.124. Grievance Administrator v. Jason P. Ronning, 18-12-GA (180-day suspension, effective June 1, 2018); Grievance Administrator v. Jason P. Ronning, 19-26-GA (30-month suspension, effective Aug. 15, 2019); and Grievance Administrator v. Jason P. Ronning, 20-29-GA (one-year suspension, effective Oct. 9, 2020).

On May 31, 2022, the petitioner filed a petition for reinstatement pursuant to MCR 9.123 and MCR 9.124 which was assigned to Muskegon County Hearing Panel #2. After a hearing on the petition, the panel concluded that the petitioner satisfactorily established his eligibility for reinstatement and on March 21, 2023, issued an Order of Eligibility for Reinstatement with Conditions that indicated that an order of reinstatement would be issued upon receipt of written verification that the petitioner paid his applicable membership dues to the State Bar of Michigan in accordance with Rules 2 and 3 of the Supreme Court Rules Governing the State Bar and that the respondent had been recertified by the Board of Law Examiners.

On July 17, 2023, the board received from the petitioner written verification that the State Board of Law Examiners determined that he was entitled to recertification as a member of the State Bar of Michigan and that the petitioner paid his applicable membership dues. The board issued an Order of Reinstatement with Conditions reinstating the petitioner to the practice of law in Michigan effective July 18, 2023.

THREE-YEAR SUSPENSION WITH CONDITION (BY CONSENT)

James C. Scarletta, P68858, St. Clair Shores, by the Attorney Discipline Board Tri-County Hearing Panel #7. Suspension, three years, effective March 3, 2022.5

The respondent and the grievance administrator filed an Amended Stipulation for Consent Order of Discipline which was approved by the Attorney Grievance Commission and accepted by the hearing panel. The amended stipulation contained the respondent’s admission that he was convicted by no contest plea of Home Invasion — 2nd Degree in violation MCL/PACC 750.110A3, a felony, in the matter titled People of the State of Michigan v. James Christopher Scarletta, Washtenaw County Circuit Court Case No. 20-000654-FH. In accordance with MCR 9.120(B)(1), the respondent’s license to practice law in Michigan was automatically suspended effective Jan. 27, 2022, the date the court accepted the respondent’s no contest plea.

Based on the respondent’s admissions and the parties’ amended stipulation, the panel found that the respondent engaged in conduct that violated a criminal law of a state or of the United States, an ordinance, or tribal law pursuant to MCR 2.615 in violation of MCR 9.104(5).

In accordance with the stipulation of the parties, the hearing panel ordered that the respondent’s license to practice law in Michigan be suspended for three years effective March 3, 2022, as agreed to by the parties and that he be subject to a condition relevant to the established misconduct. Total costs were assessed in the amount of $1,459.90.

REPRIMAND (BY CONSENT)

Eldon J. Vincent, P65432, Marshall, by the Attorney Discipline Board Ingham County Hearing Panel #1. Reprimand, effective June 17, 2023.

The respondent and the grievance administrator filed a Stipulation for Consent Order of Discipline pursuant to MCR 9.115(F)(5) that was approved by the Attorney Grievance Commission and accepted by the hearing panel. The parties’ stipulation contained the respondent’s admission that he committed professional misconduct when he purchased stock ownership in a business entity formed by a client, offered to prepare the purchase documents, and did not advise his client in writing that he could obtain outside counsel to review the transaction.

Based on the respondent’s admissions and the stipulation of the parties, the panel found that the respondent engaged in a conflict of interest by entering into a business transaction with a client or knowingly acquiring an ownership adverse to a client unless the terms are fair and reasonable to the client, the client is given reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of independent counsel, and the client consents in writing in violation of MRPC 1.8(a)(1); engaged in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of MRPC 8.4(c) and MCR 9.104(1); engaged in conduct that exposes the legal profession to obloquy, contempt, censure, or reproach in violation of MCR 9.104(2); and engaged in conduct contrary to justice, ethics, honesty, or good morals in violation of MCR 9.104(3).

In accordance with the stipulation of the parties, the hearing panel ordered that the respondent be reprimanded. Costs were assessed in the amount of $759.48.

REPRIMAND WITH CONDITIONS (BY CONSENT)

Stephen K. Woods, P54528, Cassopolis, by the Attorney Discipline Board Berrien County Hearing Panel #1. Reprimand, effective June 17, 2023.

The respondent and the grievance administrator filed a Stipulation for Consent Order of Reprimand with Conditions pursuant to MCR 9.115(F)(5) that was approved by the Attorney Grievance Commission and accepted by the hearing panel. The stipulation contained the respondent’s admission that he was convicted by guilty plea on Nov. 16, 2022, of Operating While Intoxicated, 2nd offense, a misdemeanor, in violation of MCL/ PACC code 257.6251-A, in People v. Stephen K. Woods, 4th Judicial District, 22-0975-FD.

Based on the respondent’s conviction, admission, and the parties’ stipulation, the panel found that the respondent committed professional misconduct when he engaged in conduct that violated a criminal law of a state or of the United States, an ordinance, or tribal law pursuant to MCR 2.615 in violation of MCR 9.104(5).

In accordance with the stipulation of the parties, the hearing panel ordered that the respondent be reprimanded with conditions relevant to the established misconduct. Costs were assessed in the amount of $775.24.


 

ENDNOTES

1. The respondent has been continuously suspended from the practice of law in Michigan since Sept. 6, 2022. Please see Notice of Automatic Interim Suspension issued Oct. 28, 2022.

2. The respondent has been continuously suspended from the practice of law in Michigan since April 25, 2022. Please see Notice of Automatic Interim Suspension issued July 15, 2022.

3. The parties agreed that the order of suspension be ef­fective Nov. 1, 2023, in order to accommodate respon­dent’s clients and allow them to obtain substitute counsel as needed. The hearing panel found that this constituted good cause for the delayed effective date.

4. The respondent has been continuously suspended from the practice of law in Michigan since June 7, 2022. Please see Notice of Automatic Interim Suspension issued Sept. 6, 2022.

5. The respondent has been continuously suspended from the practice of law in Michigan since Jan. 27, 2022. Please see Notice of Automatic Interim Suspension issued March 11, 2022.