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In re Morris

Supreme Court of Montana

April 27, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF JACK H. MORRIS, An Attorney at Law, Respondent. ODC File No. 16-172

          Jon G. Moog Deputy Disciplinary Counsel Office of Disciplinary Counsel

          COMPLAINT

          Upon leave of the Commission on Practice granted on April 19, 2017, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana hereby charges Jack H. Morris with professional misconduct as follows:

         General Allegations

         1. Jack H. Morris, hereinafter referred to as Respondent, was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Montana in 1991, at which time he took the oath required for admission, wherein he agreed to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Disciplinary Rules adopted by the Supreme Court, and the highest standards of honesty, justice and morality, including but not limited to, those outlined in parts 3 and 4 of Chapter 61, Title 37, Montana Code Annotated.

          2. The Montana Supreme Court has approved and adopted the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC"), governing the ethical conduct of attorneys licensed to practice in the State of Montana, which Rules were in effect at all times mentioned in this Complaint.

         Count One

         3. ODC realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 2 of the General Allegations as if fully restated in this Count One.

         4. On July 13, 2016, Respondent appeared with his client, John Kebble, in Cascade County Justice Court Cause TK-2007-0003495, at which time a jury trial and pretrial deadlines were scheduled.

         5. As deadlines approached, the prosecutor on the case, Kenneth Varnes, attempted to contact Respondent but was unable to leave him phone messages, and Respondent did not respond to his emails.

         6. Mr. Varnes confirmed Respondent's contact information on the State Bar of Montana website, which listed his status as "inactive, " which State Bar staff confirmed to him by phone had been the case since April 2016.

         7. Mr. Varnes advised the Justice Court of Respondent's inactive status in his Motion to Set Status Hearing filed on October 3, 2016, and simultaneously submitted a Rule 8.3 report to ODC.

         8. As reflected in the Justice Court's Report of Action, Respondent arrived late for the October 17, 2017 hearing on Mr. Varnes' motion, after which the Judge went back into the courtroom and advised Respondent that a status hearing had been scheduled for October 25.

          9. Respondent was previously notified by letter dated April 5, 2016 that the CLE Commission had directed the State Bar to transfer him to inactive status for non-compliance with his CLE requirements.

         10.On or about June 8, 2016, Respondent appeared at the State Bar office and advised he was nearly ready to turn in his compliance documentation. Respondent paid his dues but was advised by State Bar staff that his ...


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