In re Herman

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Professional Responsibility
  • Date Filed: 05-14-2015
  • Case #: S061840
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam
  • Full Text Opinion

Disbarment is an appropriate sanction for violation of RPC 8.4(a)(3) when the offending acts are intentionally dishonest and fraudulent and there are few mitigating factors.

Herman appeals a ruling from the Disciplinary Board to disbar him. The OR Bar filed a complaint against Herman for his conduct in operating Blue Q Labs. Herman was approached to be an owner in the business with two others. Herman, having been a member of the OR Bar since 1990, performed many of the functions a general counsel would. Blue Q Labs used a dormant Nevada corporation Herman owned but did not file changes in the corporate officers or distribution of stocks, all of which listed only Herman. Herman then began to divert funds to other accounts and finally dissolved the corporation without the consent of his partners. The trial panel of the Disciplinary Board determined that Herman acted deceitfully and dishonestly by intermingling his personal and other business financials with the corporation’s and hiding information from his partners. The Board also found that Herman misrepresented his position in the corporation to the Nevada Secretary of State. The Court affirmed both of those holdings, finding that Herman violated RPC 8.4(a)(3). In determining the appropriate sanction, the Court looks at the violation, mitigating and aggravating circumstances, and precedent. Disbarment is appropriate when a lawyer intentionally acts dishonestly or fraudulently and Herman’s acts were intentional. The aggravating factors involved outweighed the mitigating factors and the line of previous decisions suggested that intentional acts of dishonesty, absent mitigating circumstances, deserve disbarment. Affirmed.

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