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)
MARK A. ELLISON
(Resignation in Lieu of Discipline)
On October 27, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court entered an Order accepting the resignation in lieu of discipline of Boise attorney, Mark A. Ellison. The Idaho Supreme Court’s Order followed a stipulated resolution of a disciplinary proceeding that related to the following conduct.
On May 17, 2013, a federal grand jury issued a Superseding Indictment. The Superseding Indictment charged Mr. Ellison with 88 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property, conspiracy to commit money laundering and interstate transportation of property taken by fraud. The charges related to Mr. Ellison’s representation of DBSI.
On July 7, 2014, following trial, a federal jury found Mr. Ellison guilty of 44 counts of securities fraud and aiding and abetting securities fraud. The jury found Mr. Ellison not guilty on 35 counts and 9 counts of the Superseding Indictment were dismissed on motion of the United States.
Mr. Ellison was sentenced to 5 years on each of the counts, all to be served concurrently. Following his release from custody, Mr. Ellison will be on supervised release for 3 years.
The Idaho Supreme Court accepted Mr. Ellison’s resignation in lieu of discipline. By the terms of the Order, Mr. Ellison 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 of the bar admission requirements in Section II of the Idaho Bar Commission Rules and shall have the burden of overcoming the rebuttal presumption of the “unfitness to practice law.”
The Order also provides that consistent with I.B.C.R. 512(d), if an appeals court vacates or reverses Mr. Ellison’s conviction, or if a trial court enters an order granting a motion for a new trial, a motion for judgment of acquittal, or a motion to withdraw a plea of guilty, that removes Mr. Ellison’s conviction of the crimes, which are the basis for this sanction, Mr. Ellison may file with the Clerk of the Idaho Supreme Court, a motion for dissolution or amendment of the sanction.
By the terms of the Idaho Supreme Court’s Order, Mr. Ellison’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 October 27, 2014.
BRIAN L. BOYLE
On October 27, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a Disciplinary Order suspending Meridian attorney Brian L. Boyle from the practice of law for a period of 90 days, effective October 1, 2014. The Disciplinary Order included a withheld six-month suspension and a one-year disciplinary probation upon reinstatement.
The Idaho Supreme Court found that Mr. Boyle violated I.R.P.C. 1.2(a) [Scope of representation], 1.3 [Diligence], and 1.4 [Communication]. 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 who sought a guardianship of a disabled child. In that case, Mr. Boyle failed to promptly file the guardianship petition, failed to communicate with his client about the status of the case, and failed to communicate with the minor’s appointed guardian ad litem. The client erroneously believed that she had been appointed as guardian. However, the Court had not appointed a guardian and instead scheduled a show cause hearing due to inactivity in the case. Approximately two months before the show cause hearing, the child died. At the show cause hearing, Mr. Boyle informed the Court that the child was still living and that his client wanted to be appointed guardian. After the hearing, the guardian ad litem contacted Mr. Boyle’s client, learned that the child was deceased, and informed the Court. The case was ultimately dismissed.
The Disciplinary Order provides that 90 days of suspension will be served effective October 1, 2014, and six months will be withheld. Mr. Boyle will also serve a one-year probation following reinstatement, subject to conditions specified in the Order.
JOHN T. BUJAK
On September 23, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a Disciplinary Order suspending Eagle attorney John T. Bujak from the practice of law for one year. Consistent with the Idaho Supreme Court’s Order providing that the time Mr. Bujak spent on a stipulated interim suspension would be credited toward any eventual sanction, Mr. Bujak has served the one-year suspension in this disciplinary matter. The Idaho Supreme Court’s Order followed a stipulated resolution of a disciplinary proceeding that related to the following circumstances.
On October 21, 2011, the Idaho State Bar filed a formal charge Complaint. Mr. Bujak filed his Answer on November 14, 2011. That case and others were held in abeyance under a Stipulation for Interim Suspension. Mr. Bujak served that interim suspension from January 9, 2012 through August 28, 2013. On August 28, 2013, the Idaho Supreme Court entered an Order Dissolving Interim Suspension and Reinstating License.
The Complaint in this case alleged two counts of professional misconduct. With respect to Count One, Mr. Bujak admitted that he violated I.R.P.C. 1.4, 1.15(a), 1.15(c), and 8.4(d). Count One related to a breach of contract action against an estate. Following trial, the court instructed the parties to establish an escrow account for one party’s payment to Mr. Bujak’s estate client. Payments were made to Mr. Bujak, in care of his client. Mr. Bujak negotiated those checks but did not deposit the funds into his trust account, inform his client about the payments, or deliver any funds to his client. Mr. Bujak’s client was paid on a claim from the Client Assistance Fund and Mr. Bujak has agreed to make restitution to the Idaho State Bar for payments made from the Client Assistance Fund. Mr. Bujak was exonerated of criminal charges relating to these circumstances.
With respect to Count Two, Mr. Bujak admitted he violated I.R.P.C. 1.8(c). That count related to Mr. Bujak’s preparation of a trust agreement that listed a part-time assistant in Mr. Bujak’s office and Mr. Bujak as beneficiaries. In a subsequent proceeding, Mr. Bujak stipulated to declare the trust null and void, the property was restored to his client, and the court made no findings as to fault of any party.
The Disciplinary Order further provides that Bar Counsel agrees not to file any formal charges relating to four other pending disciplinary investigations until a pending federal criminal case against Mr. Bujak is completed at the trial level, either by trial or entry of a plea to any criminal charge in that case. Mr. Bujak agrees that if he is convicted of any criminal charge in the federal criminal case, he will resign his license to practice law in Idaho in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, which will encompass the four other pending disciplinary investigations. If that occurs, Mr. Bujak will receive credit for the remaining time he served on interim suspension.
Since Mr. Bujak received credit for the time previously served on interim suspension, this suspension does not limit Mr. Bujak’s eligibility to practice law.
MITCHELL R. BARKER
On September 10, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a Disciplinary Order suspending Boise attorney Mitchell R. Barker for one year. The Idaho Supreme Court’s Order followed a stipulated resolution of an Idaho State Bar reciprocal disciplinary proceeding.
Mr. Barker was admitted to practice law in Oregon and Idaho. On May 29, 2014, the Oregon Supreme Court entered an Order Accepting Stipulation for Discipline that suspended Mr. Barker from the practice of law in the State of Oregon for one year, effective May 29, 2014. In the Oregon disciplinary case, while suspended from the practice of law in Oregon, Mr. Barker sent a letter on behalf of his client to the district attorney handling his client’s case and requested discovery, when Mr. Barker was not an active member of the Oregon State Bar. Mr. Barker did not notify his client or the district attorney that he was not authorized to practice law in Oregon at that time.
In a separate matter in Oregon, involving the same client, Mr. Barker allowed multiple judgments to be taken against his client in a contested probate matter, largely due to Mr. Barker’s inaction. His client was left to believe that Mr. Barker would be responsible for paying one or more of the judgments, but he never did so. Mr. Barker did, however, continue to represent his client in the probate case without obtaining her informed consent, confirmed in writing. In the Oregon case, Mr. Barker admitted violating Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 [Diligence], 1.4(a) and 1.4(b) [Communication], 1.7(a)(2) [Conflict of Interest] and 5.5(a) [Unauthorized Practice of Law]. Those rules correspond to the same Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct.
The Idaho Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Order also specified a condition of reinstatement that Mr. Barker make a showing that he paid back the remaining balance of legal fees paid to him by his client or that such remaining balance was discharged in bankruptcy.
CHRISTOPHER S. LAMONT
On August 19, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a Disciplinary Order suspending Mr. Lamont from the practice of law for nine months.
The Idaho Supreme Court found that Mr. Lamont violated the terms of his disciplinary probation, as set forth in the Court’s November 14, 2013 Disciplinary Order, which imposed a nine-month withheld suspension relating to Mr. Lamont’s failure to communicate with clients. As part of the stipulated resolution of the disciplinary case, Mr. Lamont admitted that he violated his disciplinary probation by failing to consult with clients about the means by which their cases would be pursued and failing to communicate with those clients as required under I.R.P.C. 1.2(a) and 1.4.
ANGELA R. MARSHALL
(Public Reprimand/Withheld Suspension/Probation)
On August 15, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a Disciplinary Order issuing a Public Reprimand to Sandpoint attorney Angela R. Marshall. The Disciplinary Order included a withheld six-month suspension and a nine-month disciplinary probation.
The Idaho Supreme Court found that Ms. Marshall violated I.R.P.C. 1.15(d) [Safekeeping Property]. The Idaho Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Order followed a stipulated resolution of an Idaho State Bar disciplinary proceeding in which Ms. Marshall admitted that she violated that Rule.
The formal charge case related to Ms. Marshall’s representation of a client in a divorce case. In that case, Ms. Marshall arranged for the sale of the parties’ guns and other community property, but thereafter failed to promptly disburse to the opposing party those funds which that party was entitled to receive. A Judgment was entered against Ms. Marshall for $1,937.50, reflecting one-half of the amount of the community property that was to be sold. Ms. Marshall subsequently reimbursed the $1,937.50 to the opposing party as ordered.
The Disciplinary Order provides that the six-month suspension will be withheld and that Ms. Marshall will serve a nine-month period of probation subject to the condition that she will serve the withheld suspension if she 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 Ms. Marshall’s eligibility to practice law.
CRAIG R. JORGENSEN
On June 5, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a Disciplinary Order imposing a previously withheld suspension from a prior disciplinary case on Pocatello attorney Craig R. Jorgensen, finding that he violated Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct (“I.R.P.C.”) 5.5 [Unauthorized practice of law] and 1.15(d) [Failure to promptly deliver to client or third party funds that client or third party is entitled to receive]. On October 31, 2012, Mr. Jorgensen received a two-year suspension with all but four months withheld, which he began serving on November 14, 2012, and a three-year period of probation (see January 2013 issue of The Advocate). In the June 5, 2014 Disciplinary Order, in addition to imposing the withheld suspension from the prior case, the Idaho Supreme Court imposed an additional three-month suspension, thereby making Mr. Jorgensen ineligible for reinstatement until February 14, 2015. If reinstated to the practice of law, he will then serve the three-year probationary period under the terms and conditions imposed in the October 31, 2012 Disciplinary Order.
The current case involved Mr. Jorgensen’s conduct during his four-month actual suspension. Two days after his suspension began on November 14, 2012, the Idaho Supreme Court issued an Opinion in a personal injury case in which Mr. Jorgensen had represented the plaintiff, K.A., since 2000. K.A. sustained permanent injuries as a result of a vehicular accident. The Supreme Court’s Opinion affirmed the District Court’s Judgment in favor of K.A. in the amount of $1,126,843.01.
With respect to I.R.P.C. 5.5, Mr. Jorgensen admitted that he continued to practice law after his suspension began. Although Mr. Jorgensen informed K.A. of his suspension and K.A.’s need to find substitute counsel, and although new counsel substituted into the case, Mr. Jorgensen continued to communicate about the case with K.A., a litigation funding company, US Claims, to which K.A. owed funds after completion of the case which were advanced to him for his personal use, and Medicare. Mr. Jorgensen also admitted that when the defendant paid the $1.2 million judgment in December 2012, those funds were deposited into his trust account rather than substitute counsel’s trust account and that he periodically disbursed case proceeds totaling $50,000 to K.A. between December 2012 and June 2013. Mr. Jorgensen admitted that after his suspension and his receipt of the funds, he contacted Medicare and Medicaid to determine whether they had any liens on K.A.’s case proceeds. Mr. Jorgensen further admitted that he contacted US Claims in January 2013 to inquire whether it would be willing to negotiate a compromise of the funds K.A. owed to it.
With respect to I.R.P.C. 1.15(d), Mr. Jorgensen acknowledged that although he received payment of the $1.2 million judgment in K.A.’s case in December 2012, he did not disburse the bulk of the funds due and owing to K.A., $548,106.62, until September 2013, eight months after receiving the check from the defendant. Mr. Jorgensen admitted that although he entered into an agreement with US Claims that he would not disburse any case proceeds to K.A. until US Claims’ interests in those proceeds had been paid in full, he made small disbursements to K.A. prior to paying US Claims and did not pay US Claims its monies due from the case proceeds for approximately five months after he received those funds.
The Idaho Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Order further ordered that Mr. Jorgensen shall reimburse the Idaho State Bar for its costs of the hearing, court reporter and hearing transcript.