THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court
In the Matter of Samuel Pardue Greer, Respondent.
Submitted June 4, 2002 - Filed July 1, 2002
Henry B. Richardson, Jr., and Susan M. Johnston, both of Columbia, for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
Lucy London McDow, of Rock Hill, for Respondent.
PER CURIAM: In
this attorney disciplinary matter, respondent and the Office of Disciplinary
Counsel (ODC) have entered into an agreement pursuant to Rule 21, Rules for
Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement, Rule 413, SCACR. In the agreement,
respondent admits misconduct and consents to a definite suspension of twelve
months, retroactive to October 5, 2001. Respondent also consents to the
imposition of certain conditions, which are detailed below. We accept the
agreement. The following facts are set forth in the agreement.
In twelve civil
matters, respondent failed to timely file suit, resulting in his clients'
suits being forever barred by the statute of limitations or otherwise prejudiced.
In another civil
matter, respondent failed to comply with orders of the court regarding discovery.
As a result of respondent's failure to comply, his client's case
was dismissed with prejudice and respondent was sanctioned with payment of significant
monetary damages, which he personally paid.
In a domestic matter,
respondent's delay in preparing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order
prejudiced his client's rights. Additionally, respondent failed
to adequately communicate with his client in this matter.
As a result of his
conduct, respondent has violated the following provisions of the Rules of Professional
Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR: Rule 1.3 (failing to act with reasonable diligence
and promptness in representing a client); Rule 1.4(a) (failing to keep a client
reasonably informed about the status of a matter and to promptly comply with
reasonable requests for information); Rule 1.16 (failing to decline or terminate
representation where the lawyer's physical or mental condition materially
impairs the lawyer's ability to represent the client); Rule 3.2 (failing
to make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation consistent with the interests
of the client); Rule 8.4(a) (violating the Rules of Professional Conduct); and
Rule 8.4(e) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).
Respondent has also
violated the following provisions of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement,
Rule 413, SCACR: Rule 7(a)(1) (violating the Rules of Professional Conduct);
Rule 7(a)(5) (engaging in conduct tending to bring the courts or legal profession
into disrepute); Rule 7(a)(6) (violating the oath of office taken upon admission
to practice law); and Rule 7(a)(7) (willfully violating a valid court order
issued by a court of this state).
Respondent fully acknowledges
that his actions in the aforementioned matters were in violation of the Rules
of Professional Conduct and the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement.
We hereby suspend respondent from the practice of law for twelve months, retroactive
to October 5, 2001. Within fifteen days of the date of this opinion, respondent
shall file an affidavit with the Clerk of Court showing that he has complied
with Rule 30, Rule 413, SCACR.
Prior to reinstatement, respondent
will certify to the ODC that he will maintain errors and omissions coverage
sufficient to cover any future acts of malpractice, that his current aggregate
deductible has been paid so that all reported claims are fully covered, and
that he has made full restitution to any and all clients whose valid, reported
claims have not been covered through his insurance carrier. Respondent
will also complete an approved law office management course or hire an approved
private consultant to set up an office management system and procedures for
his practice. Certification that this course has been completed must be
submitted to the ODC within thirty (30) days of the date of reinstatement.
Respondent also consents
to participation in the following programs and treatments and to the following
restrictions on his practice as a condition of his reinstatement. Respondent
will continue psychiatric care until such time as the Commission on Lawyer Conduct
is satisfied by a written report from respondent's psychiatrist that
treatment can be discontinued or changed to routine maintenance. In the
interim, respondent will submit quarterly reports from his psychiatrist and
submit to any evaluations or testing required by the Commission. Respondent
will find an older, more experienced attorney to act as a mentor.
Respondent will meet regularly with his mentor to review the size and manageability
of his case load. Respondent will submit quarterly reports to ODC from
his mentor for two (2) years. Respondent will restrict his practice to
the representation of clients in criminal and family court matters, until the
Commission consents to the removal of this condition.
TOAL, C.J., MOORE,
WALLER, BURNETT and