STATE ex rel. OKLAHOMA BAR ASS'N v. GIESSMANN

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STATE ex rel. OKLAHOMA BAR ASS'N v. GIESSMANN
1997 OK 146
948 P.2d 1227
68 OBJ 3881
Case Number: SCBD-4177
Decided: 11/25/1997
Supreme Court of Oklahoma

STATE OF OKLAHOMA, ex rel Oklahoma Bar Association, Complainant,
v.
WILLIAM D. GIESSMANN Respondent

FOR OFFICIAL PUBLICATION.
BAR DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING

¶1 Disciplinary proceeding against an attorney for failure to diligently represent client and failure to keep client informed. The Professional Responsibility Tribunal, as [948 P.2d 1228] well as attorney, agree to a private reprimand. We find that Respondent's actions in the present matter, coupled with previous discipline, warrant a suspension from the practice of law.

RESPONDENT SUSPENDED FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW FOR NINETY DAYS AND ORDERED TO PAY COSTS.

Mike Speegle, Oklahoma Bar Association, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Complainant. Gloria Miller White, Edmond, Oklahoma, for Respondent.

HARGRAVE, J.

¶2 The Complainant, Oklahoma Bar Association (Bar Association/General Counsel), has charged the Respondent, William D. Giessmann, with a violation of Rule 1.3

 

¶3 FACTS
Cleveland Hyman's mother died on March 17, 1990. A few months later on July 30, 1990, Hyman's father also died. Hyman's parents had quit claim deeded to their children, Hyman and two siblings, as joint tenants, several properties which were under contracts for deeds. The parents had reserved a life estate for themselves. Hyman was attempting to close on one of those properties, but was unable to do so because of a problem with the title. The lawyer that had prepared the title opinion believed a probate was needed to cure the title problems. Hyman then retained respondent in November 1990 and paid respondent $1,500.00 to file the probate. On April 10, 1991, Respondent filed a probate in Oklahoma County. Respondent did nothing further on the probate. Respondent also failed to keep Hyman advised of his inaction in this matter.

¶4 In May 1994, Hyman was forced to retain another attorney concerning the unfinished legal matter. Although it was the opinion of this subsequent lawyer that a probate was unnecessary, he filed pleadings in the probate, and on July 20, 1994, an Order Allowing Final Account and Distribution of Assets was entered. Hyman was then able to convey clear title to the property. Respondent has repaid Hyman all of the $1,500.00 plus interest.

¶5 Respondent was admitted to the practice of law on June 26, 1974. During the first 13 years of practice, the Oklahoma Bar Association did not receive a single complaint concerning Respondent. In 1987, Respondent lost a major client and his practice quickly declined. This decline resulted in financial problems for Respondent. From 1987 until 1992, the nature of respondent's practice changed. Respondent accepted too many cases which resulted in his neglect of some legal matters entrusted to him. This resulted in previous discipline in the form of a private reprimand and a public censure. Vol. 59 No.48 Okla. Bar Journal, Pg. 3581-3582, December 24, 1988. Since 1994, the OBA has not received any additional complaints against respondent.