General questions regarding attorney discipline should be directed to the chief disciplinary counsel’s office, toll-free (877) 953-5535 or (512) 453-5535. The Board of Disciplinary Appeals may be reached at (512) 475-1578. Information and copies of actual orders are available at txboda.org. The State Com mission on Judicial Conduct may be contacted toll-free (877) 228-5750 or (512) 463-5533. Please note that per sons disciplined by the Commission on Judicial Conduct are not necessarily licensed attorneys. DISBARMENTS On May 24, 2013, Charles Shavers Jr. [#18138000], 73, of Dallas, was disbarred. The 14th Judicial District Court, Dallas County, found that Shavers committed professional misconduct by violating Rules 1.01(b)(1) [a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to the lawyer] and 8.04(a)(8) [a lawyer shall not fail to timely furnish to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office or a district grievance committee a response or other information]. Shavers was ordered to pay $2,123.55 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses. Shavers did not file an appeal. On May 29, 2013, Chukwu Uwakwe Oko [#24007771], 50, of Houston, was disbarred. The 133rd Judicial District Court of Harris County found that Oko committed professional misconduct by violating Rule 8.04(a)(3) [a lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation], Rule 8.04(a)(7) [a lawyer shall not violate any disciplinary or disability order or judgment], and Rule 8.04(a)(11) [a lawyer shall not engage in the practice of law when the lawyer is on inactive status or when the lawyer’s right to practice has been suspended or terminated]. Oko was ordered to pay $2,500 in restitution, $5,750 in attorneys’ fees, and $391 in direct expenses. Oko filed an appeal. SUSPENSIONS On May 3, 2013, Cathy Jean Adams [#00793226], 53, of Kaufman, received a seven-month partially probated suspension, effective June 1, 2013, with the first month actively suspended and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 1 Grievance Committee found that in representing complainant in a child custody modification matter, Adams failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from complainant about the family law matter. Adams violated Rule 1.03(a). She was ordered to pay $500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses. On May 16, 2013, Gerald G. Staton [#24000064], 44, of Fort Worth, received a six-month active suspension, effective Jan. 10, 2015. An evidentiary panel of the District 7 Grievance Committee found that Staton engaged in the practice of law when his right to practice had been administratively suspended for failure to timely pay the Texas Attorney Occupation Tax and failed to timely furnish to the chief disciplinary counsel’s office a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Staton violated Rules 8.04(a)(8) and 8.04(a)(11). He was ordered to pay $1,939.90 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses. On June 7, 2013, Christina E. Pagano [#07154500], 60, of Austin, received a one-year probated suspen sion. The 53rd District Court of Travis County found that Pagano violated Rule 3.04(b), which prohibits lawyers from counseling or assisting a witness to testify falsely and Rule 8.04(a)(1), which prohibits lawyers from violating the disciplinary rules. Pagano was ordered to pay $1,070.25 in attorneys’ fees and costs. On June 18, 2013, Larry James Adams [#00869500], 62, of Corpus Christi, agreed to a six-month fully probated suspension effective Aug. 1, 2013. An evidentiary panel of the District 11 Grievance Committee found Adams failed to hold an advance fee in trust, failed to promptly render a full accounting to his client, and failed to refund the unearned portion of fee. Adams violated Rules 1.14(a), 1.14(b), and 1.15(d) and was ordered to pay $1,500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses. On June 4, 2013, Jaime A. Villalobos [#00785151], 46, of El Paso, received a two-year fully probated suspension effective May 21, 2013. An evidentiary panel of the District 17 Grievance Committee found Villalobos failed to hold funds in trust and failed to promptly notify and deliver funds to the parties entitled. Villalobos violated Rules 1.14(a) and 1.14(b) and was ordered to pay $2,666.66 in restitution, $2,680 in attorneys’ fees, and $100 in direct expenses. On June 27, 2013, Margaret E. Edwards [#17531600], 57, of Corpus Christi, received a four-year fully probated suspension effective July 1, 2013. An evidentiary panel of the District 11 Grievance Committee found Edwards failed to deposit and hold settlement funds in trust, failed to respond to reasonable requests for information from clients, and failed to return a client file. Edwards violated Rules 1.03(a), 1.14(a), 1.14(c), and 1.15(d) and was ordered to pay $1,053.15 in restitution and $7,500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses. PUBLIC REPRIMANDS On June 3, 2013, Gregory L. Phifer [#15908580], 49, of Amarillo, accepted an agreed judgment of public reprimand. An evidentiary panel of the District 13 Grievance Committee found Phifer neglected the complainant’s legal matter and failed to keep complainant reasonably informed about the status of the matter. Upon termination of the representation, Phifer failed to refund advanced payments of unearned fees. Phifer also failed to respond to the complaint as required. Phifer violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He agreed to pay $1,625 in attorneys’ fees and costs and $2,000 in restitution. On June 13, 2013, Javier J. Campos Davila [#00792445], 61, of Austin, accepted a public reprimand. The evidentiary panel of the District 9 Grievance Committee found that complainant hired Davila for a medical malpractice case regarding her daughter in March 2008. During the course of the representation, Davila failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of her matter and comply with his client’s reasonable requests for information. Complainant’s matter was non-suited without her prior knowledge and consent. Davila violated Rules 1.02(a)(1), 1.03(a), and 8.04(a)(1). Davila agreed to pay $1,166.46 in attorneys’ fees and expenses. PRIVATE REPRIMANDS Listed below is a breakdown of Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct violations for 12 attorneys, with the number in parentheses indicating the frequency of violation. Please note that an attorney may be reprimanded for more than one rule violation. 1.01(b)(1)—for neglecting a legal matter entrusted to the lawyer (2). 1.02(a)(1)—for failing to abide by a client’s decisions concerning the objectives and general methods of representation (1). 1.03(a)—for failing to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information (6). 1.14(a)—for failing to hold funds and other property belonging in whole or part to clients or third persons in a lawyer’s possession separate from the lawyer’s own property (1). 1.14(b)—for failing, upon receiving funds or other property in which a client or third person has an interest, to promptly notify the client or third person and render a full accounting upon request (1). 1.14(c)—for failing to keep funds or other property in which both the lawyer and another person claim interests separate until there is an accounting and severance of their interests (1). 1.15(d)—for failing, upon termination of representation, to reasonably protect a client’s interests, give notice to the client to seek other counsel, or surrender papers and property which belongs to the client (3). 3.05(b)(2)—for communicating or causing another to communicate exparte with a tribunal for the purpose of influencing that entity or person concerning a pending matter (1). 8.01(a)—for knowingly making a false statement of material fact (1). 8.04(a)(8)—for failing to timely furnish a district grievance committee a response or other information as required unless he/she timely asserts a privilege or other legal ground for failure to do so (1).
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