Notice of Public Discipline

The rules for discipline of Idaho lawyers are established by the Idaho Supreme Court, through Section V of the Idaho Bar Commission Rules.  IBCR 521 provides for two types of disciplinary sanctions:  private discipline (for less serious violations) and public discipline (for more serious violations).  Only public discipline sanctions are posted.

Inquiries regarding public discipline cases may be directed to:  Bar Counsel's Office, Idaho State Bar, P.O. Box 895, Boise, Idaho 83701, (208) 334-4500.

 

Recent Public Discipline Notices (Issued Within the Past Six Months)
Prior Public Discipline Notices (Alphabetical by Attorney Last Name)

 

Recent Public Discipline Notices (Within the Past Six Months)

BRIAN L. BOYLE
(Public Reprimand/Withheld Suspension/Probation)

On March 24, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court entered a Disciplinary Order issuing a Public Reprimand to Boise attorney Brian L. Boyle.  The Disciplinary Order included a withheld six-month suspension and a one-year disciplinary probation. 

The Idaho Supreme Court found that Mr. Boyle violated I.R.P.C. 1.2(a)  [Scope of representation], 1.4 [Communication with client] and 3.3(a) [Candor toward tribunal].  The Idaho Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Order followed a stipulated resolution of an Idaho State Bar disciplinary proceeding in which Mr. Boyle admitted that he violated those rules. 

The formal charge case related to Mr. Boyle’s representation of a client in a contempt action filed against the client’s ex-husband.  Mr. Boyle signed his client’s name on a Verified Motion for Contempt, instructed a notary public to verify that signature, and filed and served the motion.  Thereafter, without his client’s express authorization, Mr. Boyle filed a Notice dismissing the verified motion without prejudice. 

The Disciplinary Order provides that the six-month suspension will be withheld and that Mr. Boyle will serve a one-year period of disciplinary probation subject to the condition that he will serve the withheld suspension if he admits or is found to have violated any Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct for which a public sanction is imposed for conduct that occurred during the probationary period. 

The public reprimand, withheld suspension, and probation do not limit Mr. Boyle’s eligibility to practice law.

DARREN L. McKENZIE
(Suspension, Withheld Suspension and Probation)

On December 9, 2013, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a Disciplinary Order suspending Nampa attorney Darren L. McKenzie from the practice of law for a period of five years, with 19 months withheld and recommending terms of probation upon any reinstatement.  Mr. McKenzie’s non-withheld suspension runs from June 2, 2010 through November 2, 2013, representing credit for time he served on interim suspension. The Idaho Supreme Court’s Order followed a stipulated resolution of a disciplinary proceeding that related to the following circumstances. 

On May 20, 2010, the Idaho State Bar filed a formal charge Complaint and a Petition for Interim Suspension of License to Practice Law with the Idaho Supreme Court.  On June 2, 2010, the Idaho Supreme Court entered an Order placing Mr. McKenzie on interim suspension effective June 2, 2010. 

The Complaint alleged four counts of professional misconduct.  With respect to Count One, Mr. McKenzie admitted he violated I.R.P.C. 1.3, relating to diligence, 1.4 relating to lack of communication with his client, 1.15(c) relating to the failure to promptly notify and deliver property to his client, 1.15(d) relating to failure to distribute property to his client, and 1.16(d) relating to the failure to return unearned fees and the file upon termination of representation.  Count One related to Mr. McKenzie’s representation of a client in a criminal case.  The client pled guilty pursuant to a negotiated plea and was sentenced.  In anticipation of his incarceration, the client signed a durable power of attorney appointing Mr. McKenzie as his agent to sell his house.  Mr. McKenzie agreed to deduct his attorney’s fees from the proceeds from the sale.  The house was sold, Mr. McKenzie’s attorney’s fees were paid, he made a deposit to his client’s inmate account and the remainder of the proceeds was placed in a certificate of deposit for the client’s benefit.  However, despite requests, Mr. McKenzie did not communicate with his client nor provide him with an itemized accounting of the funds.  After the Complaint was filed, Mr. McKenzie cooperated with Bar Counsel’s Office and they were jointly able to obtain a release of the funds held in the matured certificate of deposit.  Those funds were then transferred to Mr. McKenzie’s client’s inmate account.  Mr. McKenzie also then provided an accounting of fees and costs relating to that client. 

With respect to Count Three, Mr. McKenzie admitted that he violated I.R.P.C. 1.2 relating to the scope of representation, 1.3 relating to diligence, 1.4 relating to communication, and 1.1.6(d) relating to the failure to protect his client’s interest upon termination.  That count related to Mr. McKenzie’s representation of a client in a divorce modification case.  Mr. McKenzie handled the case and the court took the matter under advisement, pending the submission of separate proposed orders from counsel.  No proposed orders were filed with the court by either counsel.  Mr. McKenzie’s client filed a complaint alleging that Mr. McKenzie failed to expedite his litigation and could not be reached despite several attempts to communicate with him.  Opposing counsel eventually filed an affidavit with the Court to retain the case, Mr. McKenzie’s client eventually retained substitute counsel, and the case was completed.   

With respect to Counts Two and Four, Mr. McKenzie admitted that he violated I.R.P.C. 8.1(b) and I.B.C.R. 504(e) relating to his failure to respond to requests from Bar Counsel about those client’s grievances. 

The Disciplinary Order provides that 41 months of suspension will be served by Mr. McKenzie and 19 months of the suspension will be withheld.  Mr. McKenzie’s 41 month suspension runs from June 2, 2010 through November 2, 2013, representing credit for the time he served on interim suspension.  Mr. McKenzie will serve a two-year probation following any reinstatement subject to conditions of probation specified in the Disciplinary Order.  Those conditions include that Mr. McKenzie will serve an additional 19 month suspension if he admits or is found to have violated any of the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct for a which a public sanction is imposed for any conduct during Mr. McKenzie’s period of probation.  During his probation, Mr. McKenzie must practice under a supervising attorney and provide monthly reports to Bar Counsel attesting that his representations of his clients is consistent with his responsibilities under the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct.

B. JOSEPH WELCH
(Public Reprimand/Withheld Suspension/Probation)

On November 21, 2013, the Idaho Supreme Court entered a Disciplinary Order issuing a Public Reprimand to Boise attorney B. Joseph Welch.  The Disciplinary Order included a withheld nine-month suspension and a one-year disciplinary probation. 

The Idaho Supreme Court found that Mr. Welch violated I.R.P.C. 1.4(a)(2) [Communication with client], 1.5(b) [Communication of rate or basis of fee] and 1.5(e) [Division of fee between lawyers not in the same firm].  The Idaho Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Order followed a stipulated resolution of an Idaho State Bar disciplinary proceeding in which Mr. Welch admitted that he violated those rules. 

The formal charge case related to Mr. Welch’s representation of a client who had petitioned for guardianship of his stepson after the child’s mother was killed in an auto accident.  A wrongful death action relating to that accident was settled and payments were made to both the child and Mr. Welch’s client. 

In the guardianship case, the child’s natural father moved to terminate the guardianship and his maternal grandfather sought visitation rights.  During the pendency of that case, Mr. Welch and co-counsel requested and received attorney fee payments from the child’s account, which had been created to hold the wrongful death settlement funds.  After several years of litigation regarding the guardianship, Mr. Welch’s client terminated the representation and retained new counsel.  Thereafter, the natural father discovered that attorney’s fees had been paid to Mr. Welch and co-counsel from the child’s account and filed a motion for recoupment of those fees.  After hearing, the Court entered an order directing Mr. Welch and co-counsel to restore all fee payments to the child’s account.  Mr. Welch and co-counsel complied with that court order. 

The Disciplinary Order provides that the nine-month suspension will be withheld and that Mr. Welch will serve a one-year period of probation subject to the condition that he will serve the withheld suspension if he admits or is found to have violated any Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct for which a public sanction is imposed for conduct that occurred during the probationary period. 

The public reprimand, withheld suspension, and probation do not limit Mr. Welch’s eligibility to practice law.

JOHN C. MITCHELL
(Resignation in Lieu of Discipline)

On November 15, 2013, the Idaho Supreme Court entered an Order accepting the resignation in lieu of discipline of Lewiston attorney, John C. Mitchell.  The Idaho Supreme Court’s Order followed a stipulated resolution of a disciplinary proceeding that resulted from Mr. Mitchell’s self-report of professional misconduct. 

The misconduct in question related to three matters.  In the first matter, Mr. Mitchell failed to inform his law firm about his receipt of client fee payments and failed to deposit those payments into his firm’s trust account.  Mr. Mitchell admitted that his conduct violated I.R.P.C. 1.15(a) (failure to hold property of client or third person in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer’s own property), 1.15(c) (failure to deposit legal fees and expenses into a client trust account), and 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation). 

In the second matter, Mr. Mitchell failed to communicate with his client about the client’s pending civil case and settled that case without his client’s knowledge or consent.  Mr. Mitchell admitted that his conduct violated I.R.P.C. 1.2(a) (failure to abide by client’s decision whether to settle a matter) and 1.4 (failure to reasonably consult with client and keep client reasonably informed about the status of a matter).  In the third matter, Mr. Mitchell admitted that he paid a client’s judgment in a civil case in violation of I.R.P.C. 1.8(e) (lawyer shall not provide financial assistance to a client in connection with pending litigation). 

The Idaho Supreme Court accepted Mr. Mitchell’s resignation effective November 15, 2013.  By the terms of the Order, Mr. Mitchell may not make application for admission to the Idaho State Bar sooner than five years from the date of his resignation.  If he does make such application for admission, he will be required to comply with all bar admission requirements found in Section II of the Idaho Bar Commission Rules and shall have the burden of overcoming the rebuttable presumption of “unfitness to practice law.” 

By the terms of the Idaho Supreme Court’s Order, Mr. Mitchell’s name was stricken from the records of the Idaho Supreme Court and his right to practice law before the courts in the State of Idaho was terminated on November 15, 2013.

CHRISTOPHER S. LAMONT
(Withheld Suspension/Probation)

On November 14, 2013, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a Disciplinary Order imposing a withheld nine-month suspension and placing Mr. Lamont on disciplinary probation for one year.  

The Idaho Supreme Court found that Mr. Lamont violated I.R.P.C. 1.4 [A lawyer shall keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information] and I.R.P.C. 1.16(d) [Upon termination, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client’s interests].  The Disciplinary Order followed a stipulated resolution of an Idaho disciplinary proceeding in which Mr. Lamont admitted that he violated I.R.P.C. 1.4 and 1.16(d), relating to his failures to respond to client inquiries, reasonably communicate with clients about their pending cases, and respond to a former client’s requests for documents. 

The Disciplinary Order provides that the nine-month suspension will be withheld and that Mr. Lamont will serve a one-year period of probation, subject to conditions of probation specified in the Order.  Those conditions include that Mr. Lamont will:  (1) serve the withheld suspension if he admits or is found to have violated any Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct for a which a public sanction is imposed for any formal charge case filed during the period of probation or for any conduct occurring during the period of probation; (2) make arrangements for a supervising attorney to supervise his law practice during the probationary period; and (3) maintain a valid mailing address on record with the Idaho State Bar. 

The withheld suspension and probation do not limit Mr. Lamont’s eligibility to practice law.

D. SCOTT SUMMER
(Disbarment)

On October 31, 2013, the Idaho Supreme Court entered its Disbarment Order, disbarring Nampa attorney D. Scott Summer.  Following a disciplinary hearing, a Hearing Committee of the Professional Conduct Board recommended disbarment.  The Idaho Supreme Court Order concluded the reciprocal disciplinary case, which was filed on April 10, 2013. 

Mr. Summer was admitted to practice law in Idaho in April 1996.  He was also admitted to practice law in Oregon.  Mr. Summer was disbarred in Oregon pursuant to a Trial Panel Opinion on April 3, 2013.  In the Oregon disciplinary case, the Oregon Trial Panel concluded that Mr. Summer violated RPC 3.1, 3.3(a)(1), 3.4(c), 8.1(a)(1) and (2), and 8.4(a)(3) and (4), which are the equivalents of I.R.P.C. 3.1, 3.3(a)(1), 3.4(c), 8.1(a)(1) and (2) and 8.4(c) and (d). 

In the Oregon disciplinary case, Mr. Summer represented a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case in Oregon state court.  Mr. Summer failed to timely respond to the defendants’ motion for summary judgment.  On a date set for hearing on the summary judgment motion, Mr. Summer failed to appear, but he filed an affidavit pursuant to ORCP 47E, in which he swore, under penalty of perjury, that he had consulted with and retained a qualified expert who was available and willing to testify to admissible facts and opinions necessary to establish a genuine issue of material fact.  In Oregon, such an attorney’s affidavit is sufficient to avoid summary judgment, and there is no requirement to include evidence from an expert supporting the attorney’s representation.  The defendant’s motion for summary judgment was denied based upon Mr. Summer’s affidavit and a trial date was scheduled. 

On the date of trial, Mr. Summer appeared and advised the court that the plaintiffs were not prepared to proceed to trial because he was unable to secure the testimony at trial of any qualified experts who were willing to express opinions in favor of plaintiffs and against defendants.  The trial court dismissed the case and retained jurisdiction of the case to investigate the factual basis of Mr. Summer’s affidavit filed in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. 

The court granted an order compelling Mr. Summer to be deposed about his affidavit.  Without obtaining prior relief from the court or the agreement of defense counsel, Mr. Summer failed to appear for the deposition as commanded by a subpoena.  The defendants filed a motion for sanctions and motion to show cause against Mr. Summer for his failure to obey the subpoena.  Mr. Summer did not appear in court for that hearing, but faxed a letter to the court on the morning of the hearing notifying the court of the reasons for his absence.  In that letter, Mr. Summer referenced a consultation with a doctor related to his affidavit.  Subsequently, that doctor executed a declaration establishing that Mr. Summer’s affidavit and a letter to the court contained false and misleading statements about the doctor’s willingness to testify in favor of plaintiff.  The Oregon Trial Panel and the Idaho Hearing Committee concluded that Mr. Summer filed an intentionally misleading affidavit, blatantly disregarded court orders, intentionally misled the trial court judge, filed the affidavit in bad faith, and prejudiced the decision making process. 

In the Idaho hearing, Mr. Summer contended that imposing disbarment in Idaho would result in grave injustice under I.B.C.R. 513.  The Hearing Committee of the Professional Conduct Board and the Idaho Supreme Court concluded that Mr. Summer did not show by clear and convincing evidence that disbarment in Idaho would result in grave injustice.       The Court’s Order removed Mr. Summer from the records of the Idaho Supreme Court as a member of the Idaho State Bar and his right to practice law before the Idaho courts was terminated on October 31, 2013.  Mr. Summer cannot apply for admission to the Idaho State Bar sooner than five years from the date of his disbarment.  If he applies for admission, he will be required to comply with the bar admission requirements in Section II of the Idaho Bar Commission Rules and will have the burden of overcoming the rebuttal presumption of “unfitness to practice law.” 

This disbarment notice shall be published in the Advocate, the Idaho-Press Tribune, and the Idaho Reports

ROCKY L. WIXOM
(Withheld Suspension/Probation)

On October 31, 2013, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a Disciplinary Order imposing a withheld six-month suspension and placing Mr. Wixom on disciplinary probation for 18 months.  

The Idaho Supreme Court found that Mr. Wixom violated I.R.P.C. 1.2(a) [A lawyer shall abide by a client’s decisions concerning the objectives of representation], 1.3 [A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client], I.R.P.C. 1.4 [A lawyer shall keep the client reasonably informed about the status of a matter], 1.5(a) [A lawyer shall not charge or collect an unreasonable fee], and 1.16(d) [Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect the client’s interests].  The Disciplinary Order followed a stipulated resolution of an Idaho disciplinary proceeding in which Mr. Wixom admitted that he violated the above Rules, relating to his failures to communicate with his client regarding multiple cases and his collection of fees for work that was not performed or that was performed by a nonlawyer assistant.  Mr. Wixom also admitted that although most of the communications between his office and the client were conducted by a nonlawyer assistant, his bills to the client did not reflect who performed which services.  The ISB has considered mitigation in this case, including the serious and ongoing health issues of Mr. Wixom’s family members.

The Disciplinary Order provides that the six-month suspension will be withheld and that Mr. Wixom will serve an 18-month period of probation, subject to conditions of probation specified in the Order.  Those conditions include:  (1) Mr. Wixom will serve the withheld suspension if he admits or is found to have violated any Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct for a which a public sanction is imposed for any formal charge case filed during the period of probation or for any conduct occurring during the period of probation; (2) Mr. Wixom shall make arrangements for a supervising attorney to supervise his law practice during the probationary period; and (3) Mr. Wixom shall pay restitution to his former client by October 2013.

The withheld suspension and probation do not limit Mr. Wixom’s eligibility to practice law.

BRYNINN T. ERICKSON
(Interim Suspension)

On October 4, 2013, the Idaho Supreme Court issued an Order Granting Petition for Interim Suspension of License to Practice Law immediately suspending the license of Meridian attorney Bryninn T. Erickson. The Idaho Supreme Court also ordered that Mr. Erickson shall comply specifically with I.B.C.R. 516 and 517 until further order of the Court

A formal charge case is pending before the Professional Conduct Board.

 

Public Discipline Notices - Older Than 6 Months (alphabetical by attorney's last name) PDF File - Get Acrobat Reader

DANNIS M. ADAMSON (Resignation in Lieu of Discipline) - March 24, 2010

MATTHEW R. AYLWORTH (Public Reprimand)- July 15, 2013

B. TODD BAILEY (Interim Suspension) - May 3, 2013

RICHARD A. BERGENSEN (Disbarment) - October 31, 2011

JAY P. CLARK (Suspension) - July 30, 2012

M. PATRICK DUFFIN (Resignation in Lieu of Discipline) - September 27, 2012

CHERI K. GOCHBERG (Resignation in Lieu of Discipline) - November 20, 2012

DAVID C. JAQUOT (Resignation in Lieu of Discipline) - September 27, 2012

CRAIG R. JORGENSEN (Suspension) - October 31, 2012

FIONA A.C. KENNEDY (Disbarment) - August 26, 2013

KARL W. KIME (Withheld Suspension) - July 19, 2013

PHILIP K. KLEINSMITH (Public Reprimand) - April 11, 2013

DOUGLAS K. KNUTSON (Reinstatement to Active Status) - July 15, 2013

DOUGLAS K. KNUTSON (Suspension) - December 28, 2012

THERESA A. MARTIN (Withheld Suspension/Probation) - June 19, 2013

PATRICK J. McCOY (Resignation in Lieu of Discipline) - June 15, 2009

MICHAEL J. McDONAGH (Resignation in Lieu of Discipline) - October 31, 2012

MARK T. McHUGH (Disbarment) - September 3, 2009

DRAKE D. MESENBRINK (Suspension) - April 11, 2013

MARK JENKINS MILLER (Suspension) - February 28, 2012

SHAWN C. NUNLEY (Suspension/Probation) - June 15, 2011

SHAWN C. NUNLEY (Suspension) - March 22, 2012

CRAIG D. ODEGAARD (Resignation in Lieu of Discipline) - July 19, 2010

THOMAS K. OKAI (Resignation in Lieu of Discipline) - July 28, 2010

BOBBY E. PANGBURN (Disbarment) - March 21, 2013

LARRY D. PURVIANCE (Resignation in Lieu of Discipline) - August 7, 2013

DARREN S. ROBINS ( Suspension/Withheld Suspension/Probation) - July 27, 2011

EDGAR J. STEELE (Resignation in Lieu of Discipline) - August 1, 2011

DENNIS C. WEIGT (Suspension) - July 1, 2013


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