result in his disbarment. The hearing panel found
that his conduct caused actual injury to opposing
parties, the legal system, and the legal profession.
Aggravating factors: prior disciplinary offenses; dishonest or selfish motive; pattern of misconduct; submission of false evidence; substantial experience in the practice of law; and illegal
Mitigating factor: full and free disclosure to
the State Bar.
Mr. Loftus violated Rule 42, ARIZ.R.S.CT.,
specifically ERs 1. 1, 1. 2(d), 3. 3(a)( 3), 8. 4(c), and
KATIE LYNN LYONS
Bar No. 025181; File Nos. 13-3124, 14-2080
PDJ No. 2015-9121
By the presiding disciplinary judge’s April 6,
2016, judgment and order, Katie Lynn Lyons,
Pinetop, Ariz., was suspended from the practice
of law for three years effective April 6, 2016. Ms.
Lyons also was assessed $4,094.35 for the costs
and expenses of the disciplinary proceeding and
ordered to obtain a Member Assistance Program
(MAP) assessment prior to applying for reinstatement.
Ms. Lyons failed to appear for court hearings
and failed to respond to opposing counsel, the
courts, and the State Bar’s requests for information. In one case, Ms. Lyons persistently asked for
continuances even after the court ordered that
she would not grant any more such requests. Ms.
Lyons also violated the court’s order to appear at
a March 18, 2014, hearing. Ms. Lyons blamed
health problems for many of the delays. One reason she requested a continuance was because of
her alleged disabling medical treatment for cancer. Yet she failed to withdraw from her client’s
representation or take any other action that the
trial judge ordered. Ms. Lyons’ motive to continue to represent her client while she claimed
that chronic medical problems necessitated continuances, was selfish and self-serving. Ms. Lyons
billed her client, and he paid her, for requesting
numerous continuances due to her medical condition and not based on the client’s needs.
Ms. Lyons asked for extensions to reply to
the State Bar’s request for information based on
her alleged cancer diagnosis. She told the Bar
she “received devastating news regarding [her]
on-going battle with cervical cancer in that additional surgery and treatment is needed and, if
not removed from the surrounding organs, the
cancer has been deemed terminal.” The State
Bar asked her to produce corroborating medical
records. Ms. Lyons claimed she submitted documents supporting her alleged diagnosis, but
her documents did not support her claims or
were illegible. Ms. Lyons failed to sign releases
so the State Bar could obtain her records from
her providers at no expense to her. Ms. Lyons
also claimed that her father’s death impeded her
ability to respond to the Bar. The person who
passed away, however, was not her father.
During the formal disciplinary proceedings,
Ms. Lyons failed to serve a disclosure statement,
twice failed to appear for ordered teleconfer-ences, failed to provide the State Bar with any
hearing exhibits, and failed to participate in preparing a joint prehearing statement. The presiding disciplinary judge struck Ms. Lyons’ answer
and reset the merits hearing to a sanction (
aggra-vation/mitigation) hearing. Ms. Lyons failed to
appear for that hearing, too.
Aggravating factors included dishonest or
selfish motive, bad faith obstruction of the disciplinary process, submission of false evidence,
and false statements or other deceptive practices.
Mitigating factors included absence of disciplinary record, and personal or emotional problems.
Ms. Lyons violated Rule 42, ARIZ.R.S.CT.,
specifically ERs 1. 16(a)( 2), 3. 3(a), 8. 1(b), and
8. 4(c) and (d); and Rule 54(c) and (d),
JENNIFER MARIE MCDONALD
Bar No. 030823; File No. 15-0686
PDJ No. 2016-9019
By final judgment and order dated March 24,
2016, the presiding disciplinary judge accepted
an Agreement for Discipline by Consent by
which Jennifer Marie McDonald, Beaverton,
Ore., was suspended for 120 days and ordered to
pay $2,316 in restitution.
Ms. McDonald, while employed at Vannova
Legal (“Vannova”), represented several clients
in bankruptcy proceedings. She supervised case
manager/paralegal William Linares who performed the client intake interview, determined if
the prospective client met the bankruptcy filing requirements, and determined what type
of bankruptcy was appropriate for the client.
If the prospective client qualified, Mr. Linares
executed the fee agreement, collected financial
information, completed forms, and assigned the
client to Ms. McDonald. Most prospective clients thought they were meeting with an attorney
at the intake interview, as that is what was advertised. Ms. McDonald knew Mr. Linares provided
legal advice to prospective clients but did not try
to stop him.
After Ms. McDonald left her employment
at Vannova in November 2014, Mr. Linares
referred four clients to her. Mr. Linares completed the client intake process, signed fee
agreements, and collected funds while he was
still employed by Vannova, but the client’s fees
were paid to Ms. McDonald’s personal practice,
not to Vannova. The clients believed they were
being represented by a Vannova attorney and
Ms. McDonald did nothing to correct the misunderstanding.
Ms. McDonald failed to pay filing fees in
one case and failed to file the Declaration of
Electronic Filing in another. Both cases were
dismissed. The clients then learned that Ms.
McDonald was no longer employed by Vannova.
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