February 5, 2014
IN THE MATTER OF F. RON NEWBURY, an Attorney at Law, Respondent.
ORDER OF DISCIPLINE
On November 9, 2012, a formal disciplinary complaint was filed against Montana attorney F. Ron Newbury. The disciplinary complaint may be reviewed by any interested person in the office of the Clerk of this Court.
Newbury subsequently tendered to the Commission on Practice a conditional admission and affidavit of consent, pursuant to Rule 26 of the Montana Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement (MRLDE). The Commission held a hearing on the conditional admission and affidavit of consent on October 16, 2013; Newbury and his counsel were present. On December 11, 2013, the Commission submitted to this Court its Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation that Newbury's conditional admission be accepted.
We approve the findings, conclusions, and recommendation of the Commission on Practice. In his conditional admission, Newbury has admitted that he failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing his former clients, Stephen and Debbie Jones; that he failed to respond to their attempts to contact him; that he failed to provide them with periodic invoices for his completed work as set forth in their fee agreement; that he failed to take steps reasonably practicable to protect their interests after they terminated his representation; and that he failed to respond to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) concerning the ethical grievance the Joneses' filed against him. Newbury admits to having violated Rules 1.3, 1.4, 1.16, 3.2, and 8.1 of the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct and Rule 8, MRLDE. Newbury's admission was tendered in exchange for the following discipline: a 90-day suspension from the practice of law, with any reinstatement subject to his compliance with Rules 29 and 30, MRLDE; a public admonition by the Commission; payment of restitution to the former client in the amount of $2, 500 as a complete refund of the retainer; and payment of costs incurred by ODC and the Commission.
Based upon the foregoing and our review of the record,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1.The Commission's Recommendation that we accept F. Ron Newbury's Rule 26 tendered admission is ACCEPTED and ADOPTED.
2. Newbury is suspended from the practice of law in Montana from April 5, 2014, until July 5, 2014, with any reinstatement subject to his compliance with Rules 29 and 30, MRLDE.
3. Newbury shall be publicly admonished by the Commission on Practice at a time and place to be set by the Commission.
4. Within 30 days of the date of this Order, Newbury shall pay restitution to his former clients, the Joneses, in the amount of $2, 500.
5. Newbury shall pay the costs of these proceedings subject to the provisions of Rule 9(A)(8), MRLDE, allowing objections to be filed to the statement of costs.
Pursuant to Rule 26(D), MRLDE, the Clerk of this Court is directed to file copies of Newbury's Conditional Admission and Affidavit of Consent, together with the Commission's findings, conclusions, and recommendation.
The Clerk of this Court is further directed to serve a copy of this Order of Discipline upon F. Ron Newbury and to provide copies to Disciplinary Counsel; the Office Administrator for the Commission on Practice; the Clerks of all the District Courts of the state of Montana; each district judge in the state of Montana; the Clerk of the Federal District Court for the District of Montana; the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit; and the Executive Director of the State Bar of Montana.