CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Supreme Court today issued an order suspending Casper attorney Kara Crawford-Fink from the practice of law for a period of 120 days, effective December 14, 2018. The Court’s order consolidated two separate disciplinary matters in which the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Wyoming State Bar recommended Crawford-Fink’s suspension.
The first matter involved Crawford-Fink’s representation of a client in a divorce matter. The client paid a $5,000.00 fee at the outset. Crawford-Fink neglected to pursue the matter diligently and failed to maintain adequate communication with her client, who ultimately terminated Crawford-Fink’s representation and retained other counsel. Crawford-Fink also charged an unreasonable fee for her work on the case. After the client discharged Crawford-Fink, Crawford-Fink failed to return all of the unearned portion of the fee. Crawford-Fink agreed that she committed multiple violations of Rules 1.3 (diligence), Rule 1.4 (communication with client), Rule 1.5 (fees) and Rule 1.16 (duties upon termination of representation. Crawford-Fink agreed to return $2,350.00, representing the remaining unearned portion of the fee, to the client. Crawford-Fink stipulated to a 30-day suspension in the matter, which was approved by the Board of Professional Responsibility and submitted to the Court.
The second matter involved Crawford-Fink’s representation of a client in a contract dispute. The client, a landscaping contractor, claimed that it was owed approximately $35,000 for its work on a residential construction project. Crawford-Fink filed a lawsuit on behalf of the landscaping contractor against the homeowners seeking recovery of that amount. The homeowners filed a counterclaim against the landscaping contractor and a third-party claim against its owner. The lawsuit was eventually settled, with the landscaping contractor and its insurer paying $55,000 to the homeowners. The homeowners’ attorney filed a complaint with the Office of Bar Counsel at the Wyoming State Bar, contending that Crawford-Fink violated numerous Rules of Professional Conduct in her representation of the landscaping contractor and its owner.
Following investigation of the complaint by Bar Counsel and filing of a formal disciplinary charge, Crawford-Fink admitted that she committed multiple violations of Rules 1.3 (diligence), Rule 1.5 (fees), Rule 3.3 (candor to the tribunal), Rule 3.4(c) (failure to follow rules of the tribunal) and 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) in the matter. Crawford-Fink stipulated to a 90-day suspension in the matter, which was approved by the Board of Professional Responsibility and submitted to the Court.
The Court approved both recommendations of the Board of Professional Responsibility and issued an order of 120-day suspension of Crawford-Fink effective December 14, 2018. In addition to being ordered to refund the sum of $2,350.00 to the client in the first matter and to pay administrative fees and costs in the amount of $1,600.00 to the Wyoming State Bar.