Posted in Disbarred Attorneys, Grant County, Reprimand

Mark Stansfield

Mark Stansfield
License Number: 11356
License Type: Lawyer
Eligible To Practice: No
License Status: Disbarred
WSBA Admit Date: 11/3/1980
Contact Information
Public/Mailing Address: 212 G St SE
Quincy, WA 98848-1556
Phone: (509) 787-1795
Fax: (509) 787-2849
Practice Information Identified by Legal Professional
Firm or Employer:
Office Type and Size: Law firm with 2-5 WSBA members
Practice Areas: Criminal, Estate Planning/ Probate/ Wills, Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation
Languages Other Than English: None Specified
Professional Liability Insurance
Private Practice: Yes
Has Insurance? No – Click for more info
Last Updated: 2/25/2009 6:07:09 AM
Committees
Member of these committees/boards/panels:
None
Disciplinary History
Action Effective Date
Reprimand 07/17/2008
Disbarment 07/30/2013

In some cases, discipline search results will not reveal all disciplinary action relating to a Washington licensed legal professional, and may not display links to the official decision documents.

Discipline Notice – Mark Stansfield
License Number: 11356
Member Name: Mark Stansfield
Discipline Detail
Action: Reprimand
Effective Date: 7/17/2008
RPC: 1.2 – Scope of Representation
1.9 – (prior to 9/1/2006) Conflict of Interest; Former Client
Discipline Notice:
Description: Mark Stansfield (WSBA No. 11356, admitted 1980), of Quincy, was ordered to receive two reprimands on July 17, 2008, by order of the Washington State Supreme Court following an appeal. This discipline was based on conduct involving purporting to represent a person’s estate without authorization and conflicts of interest. For more information, see In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against Stansfield, 164 Wn.2d 108, 187 P.3d 254 (2008).

In May 2003, a two-car accident in Quincy resulted in the death of three people. The police report stated that there was probable cause to believe that the collision was due to the driver of one of the vehicles (Mr. V) operating his Lexus “while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.” Mr. V was uninsured. In May 2003, the widow of the driver of the other vehicle (Mrs. U) and her daughter hired Mr. Stansfield to file an insurance claim on her husband’s behalf and to probate his estate. Mrs. U also asked Mr. Stansfield about suing Mr. V for wrongful death of her husband, which Mr. Stansfield counseled her against because Mr. V lacked assets.

Around the same time, Mrs. U informed Mr. Stansfield that the widow of the passenger in her husband’s car (Mrs. C) lived in Guatemala and had given her authority to act as personal representative for Mr. C’s estate. Mr. Stansfield had Mrs. U sign a retainer agreement and other documents as personal representative of Mr. C’s estate. He then notified Mr. U’s insurance company that he represented the estates of both Mr. U and Mr. C and requested that they communicate directly with him. Mr. Stansfield wrote two letters to Mrs. C, translated into Spanish, asking whether she wanted him to handle her husband’s estate. He received no response. In fact, Mrs. C had authorized a relative who lived in Washington to hire another lawyer (Lawyer B) to represent their family. When Lawyer B contacted the insurance company, he was told that Mr. Stansfield claimed to represent Mr. C’s family. He wrote to Mr. Stansfield and requested that he cease his representation. Mr. Stansfield promptly filed an attorney’s lien for $2,299.32 against Mr. C’s estate, which delayed the family’s receipt of the insurance funds. Mr. Stansfield sent a formal notice of vacation of his lien in November 2005.

In September 2003, approximately two weeks after Mr. Stansfield concluded matters regarding the insurance claim and estate probate for Mrs. U, Mr. Stansfield agreed to represent Mr. V, who was charged with three counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault from the motor vehicle collision. Although the two representations were substantially related and the two clients had materially adverse interests, Mr. Stansfield neither informed Mrs. U of his representation of Mr. V nor obtained her consent thereto. On September 22, 2003, before the arraignment, Mr. Stansfield had Mr. V sign a fee agreement and received a $10,000 nonrefundable flat fee. Mr. Stansfield represented Mr. V at his arraignment, where Mr. V pleaded not guilty. On the same day, Mr. Stansfield filed a notice of appearance, a notice of demand for discovery, a demand for preservation of evidence, a demand for jury trial, and a demand for a bill of particulars on behalf of Mr. V. Mrs. U attended the arraignment and was shocked and extremely upset to see Mr. Stansfield representing Mr. V. After the arraignment, Mrs. U expressed her concerns to the prosecutor. Mr. Stansfield decided to withdraw from the case and transferred all but $250 of the $10,000 to substitute counsel.

Mr. Stansfield’s conduct violated former RPC 1.2(f), prohibiting a lawyer from willfully purporting to act as a lawyer for any person without the authority of that person; and former RPC 1.9(a), prohibiting a lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter from representing another client in the same or a substantially related matter in which that person’s interests are materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the former client consents after consultation and a full disclosure of the material facts.

Natalea Skvir represented the Bar Association. Leland G. Ripley represented Mr. Stansfield. Paul M. Larson was the hearing officer.

In some cases, discipline search results will not reveal all disciplinary action relating to a Washington licensed legal professional, and may not display links to the official decision documents.

Discipline Notice – Mark Stansfield
License Number: 11356
Member Name: Mark Stansfield
Discipline Detail
Action: Disbarment
Effective Date: 7/30/2013
RPC: 8.4 – Misconduct
Discipline Notice: Order Approving
Stipulation
Supreme Court Order
Description: Mark Stansfield (WSBA No. 11356, admitted 1980), of Quincy, was disbarred, effective 7/30/2013, by order of the Washington State Supreme Court. The lawyer’s conduct violated the following Rules of Professional Conduct: 8.4 (Misconduct). Natalea Skvir represented the Bar Association. Mark Stansfield represented himself. William John Murphy was the hearing officer. The online version of NWLawyer contains links to the following documents: Stipulation to Disbarment; Disciplinary Board Order Approving Stipulation; and Washington State Supreme Court Order.

In some cases, discipline search results will not reveal all disciplinary action relating to a Washington licensed legal professional, and may not display links to the official decision documents.

Stansfield0392

Stansfield0411 (1)

Stansfield0411 (2)

Advertisements
Posted in Disbarred Attorneys, Grant County

Thomas Jay Earl

Thomas Jay Earl
License Number: 10902
License Type: Lawyer
Eligible To Practice: No
License Status: Disbarred
WSBA Admit Date: 10/24/1980
Contact Information
Public/Mailing Address: 1334 S Pioneer Way
Moses Lake, WA 98837-2410
Phone: (509) 765-7441
Fax: (509) 765-6488
Practice Information Identified by Legal Professional
Firm or Employer:
Office Type and Size: Not Specified
Practice Areas: None Specified
Languages Other Than English: None Specified
Professional Liability Insurance
Private Practice:
Has Insurance? – Click for more info
Last Updated:
Committees
Member of these committees/boards/panels:
None
Disciplinary History
Action Effective Date
Disbarment 05/13/2004

In some cases, discipline search results will not reveal all disciplinary action relating to a Washington licensed legal professional, and may not display links to the official decision documents.

Discipline Notice – Thomas Earl
License Number: 10902
Member Name: Thomas Earl
Discipline Detail
Action: Disbarment
Effective Date: 5/13/2004
RPC: 1.3 – Diligence
1.5 – Fees
1.7 – Conflict of Interest; General Rule
7.1 – Communications concerning a Lawyers Services
8.4 (c) – Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit or Misrepresentation
8.4 (d) – Conduct Prejudicial to the Administration of Justice
8.4 (i) – Moral Turpitude

Discipline Notice:
Description: Thomas J. Earl (WSBA No. 10902, admitted 1980), of Moses Lake was disbarred effective May 13, 2004, by order of the Washington State Supreme Court following a hearing. This discipline was based on his conduct from 1992 through 1998, involving charging fees while representing clients as court appointed criminal defense counsel, failing to explain the choice between appointed counsel and retained counsel, charging unreasonable fees and voluntarily maintaining an excessive caseload while one of the lawyers under contract to provide indigent criminal defense in Grant County.

Matter 1: In 1996, Mr. Earl was appointed to defend a client in two criminal matters. In September and October 1997, Mr. Earl was appointed to represent the same client in a sentencing violation and two new felony charges. Mr. Earl filed notices of appearance in the new cases, but not in the sentencing violation matter. The client’s Determination of Indigency form was filed, but not signed by the court. Although Mr. Earl testified that he was not appointed to represent this client, the hearing officer found that he was appointed counsel. Mr. Earl charged the client $3,000 for this representation.

Matter 2: In June 1998, the court appointed Mr. Earl to represent a client on a criminal felony charge. The client wanted to retain a particular lawyer. The client only partially completed the indigency report and the court found him not indigent. Mr. Earl did not fully explain the client’s rights to seek appointed counsel and made no effort to complete the indigency report or argue that the client was actually indigent. Mr. Earl contacted the client on the day of the hearing and suggested that the client retain him. The client agreed to pay Mr. Earl $3,000, but could not meet the payment schedule. Mr. Earl withheld services pending the client’s payments.

Matter 3: In September 1993, Grant County Superior Court issued an order appointing the indigent defenders to represent a defendant. Following the usual procedure, the Court appointed the indigent defenders at the first hearing, prior to filing of the indigency report. Five days later, Mr. Earl filed his notice of appearance and a document identifying himself as the client’s lawyer. No determination of indigency report was ever filed in this case. In October and again in November 1993, the client’s mother paid Mr. Earl $1,500 for the client’s representation. Mr. Earl was obligated to provide this representation without charge to the client.

Matter 4: On December 18, 1992, the court appointed the “contract defenders” to represent a criminal defendant. The defendant agreed to accept appointed counsel, but indicated he may attempt to retain counsel. Mr. Earl appeared in court with the defendant that same day. By June 1993, the client had paid Mr. Earl $2,220.00. Mr. Earl did not provide his client a full and fair explanation regarding the decision to retain Mr. Earl, after the court entered an order appointing counsel.

Matter 5: In April 1998, Mr. Earl was appointed to represent a criminal defendant. In May, the court found the client indigent, but able to contribute. On August 5, 1998, a jury found the client guilty. On August 10, 1998, prior to sentencing and without a determination of the client’s indigency status for appeal, Mr. Earl talked to the client about the cost of retaining him for the appeal. Mr. Earl agreed to do the client’s appeal for a flat fee of $5,000.00. By accepting the client’s money during the appointed representation and prior to a determination of the client’s indigency for appeal, Mr. Earl may have created a conflict between his personal interests in keeping the client’s funds and the client’s interests in qualifying for appointed counsel. The hearing officer found the $5,000 fee to be unreasonable based on the actual work Mr. Earl performed.

Matter 6: On August 1, 1994, Mr. Earl appeared in court as appointed counsel with an indigent criminal defendant. The next day, Mr. Earl filed a notice of appearance. The client believed he would receive better representation if he hired a lawyer rather than using appointed counsel. By January 1995, the client paid Mr. Earl $2,700.00. Mr. Earl did not initiate the discussion leading to the client retaining him, but he took advantage of the client’s belief that he would receive a better outcome if he retained Earl. The hearing officer found that Mr. Earl was obligated to represent the client and should have refused the payment.

Matter 7: In April 1993, Mr. Earl was assigned counsel for a criminal defendant charged with child rape and child molestation. The client and his family believed that Mr. Earl was not aggressively defending the client. During an in-chambers meeting with the judge prior to trial, Mr. Earl stated, “he [the client] believes my role is to find proof that he’s innocent of this particular charge. I’ve explained to him the role, or my role, is to see his constitutions rights are protected.” The hearing officer found that Mr. Earl fundamentally misunderstood his role as assigned counsel. The hearing officer also found that Mr. Earl’s voluntarily excessive caseload was prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Matter 8: In July 1996, Mr. Earl appeared as appointed counsel for a criminal defendant on felony charges, including attempted murder. The client was acquitted by reason of insanity and committed to Eastern State Hospital. Mr. Earl’s appointed representation ended. In August 2000, the client retained Mr. Earl to represent him in an attempt to modify his conditions of confinement and to explore revoking his guilty plea. The court docket reflects no work on the client’s case after August 2000. In fall 2000, the client asked Mr. Earl to withdraw and refund the unused portion of his $2,500 in fees. Mr. Earl did not withdraw or refund any of the fees. A few weeks later, the client filed a grievance against Mr. Earl. Mr. Earl told the client he would take no further action on his case while the grievance was pending. In June 2001, new appointed counsel successfully withdrew the client’s insanity plea and entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge with no additional confinement.

Mr. Earl’s conduct violated RPCs 1.3, requiring lawyers to diligently represent their clients; 1.4(b), requiring lawyers to explain client matters to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make an informed decision regarding the representation; 1.5(a), requiring lawyers to charge reasonable fees; 1.7(b), prohibiting lawyers from representing a client if the representation may be materially limited by the lawyers own interests; 7.1, prohibiting lawyers from making false or misleading statements communications about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services; 8.4(c), prohibiting lawyers from engaging ion conduct involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud or misrepresentation; 8.4(d), prohibiting conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; and 8.4(i), prohibiting lawyers from committing acts involving moral turpitude.

Christine Gray and Linda B. Eide represented the Bar Association. Nels Hansen represented Mr. Earl at hearing. Mr. Earl represented himself on appeal. Kenneth Fielding was the Hearing Officer.

In some cases, discipline search results will not reveal all disciplinary action relating to a Washington licensed legal professional, and may not display links to the official decision documents.