Review and Oversight Committee Issues Private Reprimand

The Review and Oversight Committee of the Wyoming State Bar has issued a private reprimand to an attorney who undertook to represent a client in a potential personal injury action for injuries the client suffered in a workplace accident. Subsequent investigation of the claim by the attorney revealed that the client suffered from pre-existing health conditions that compromised the viability of the claim. That factor, in connection with the existence of a substantial worker’s compensation lien and other considerations, led the attorney to the conclusion that the claim had a very low likelihood of success. However, by the time the attorney came to that conclusion, the statute of limitations had expired. The attorney notified the client, who then submitted a complaint to the Office of Bar Counsel. Upon receipt of the complaint, the attorney admitted that he violated Rule 1.3 (diligence) of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct in failing to calendar the filing deadline and in failing to notify the client of his evaluation of the case in time for the client to attempt to obtain other counsel. In entering a stipulation for a private reprimand, Bar Counsel agreed with the attorney’s evaluation that the claim had a very low probability of a successful outcome for the client, and that the attorney’s negligence caused little or no actual or potential injury to the client. The Review and Oversight Committee approved the stipulation for a private reprimand and ordered the attorney to pay an administrative fee of $750.00 and costs of $50.00 to the Wyoming State Bar.

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