IN THE MATTER OF MICHAEL A. HORTON, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.
Moog Deputy Disciplinary Counsel
leave of the Commission on Practice granted on July 19, 2017,
the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana
("ODC") hereby charges Michael A. Horton with
professional misconduct as follows:
Michael A. Horton, hereinafter referred to as Respondent, was
admitted to the practice of law in the State of Montana in
2002, 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.
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.
realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 2 of the
General Allegations as if fully restated in this Count One.
September 29, 2015, Jami Gibby ("Ms. Gibby")
retained Respondent to assist her with an amended parenting
plan (Gallatin County Cause No. DR 2014-417) filed by the
father of her son ("Mr. Powell") in November 2014.
Gibby paid Respondent a $4, 500 retainer.
Prior to retaining Respondent, Ms. Gibby was represented by
attorney Sherine Fernando. During Ms. Fernando's
representation, the parties had entered into an "Outline
of Agreement" regarding parenting on May 7, 2015.
Communications took place between Respondent and adverse
counsel on October 27 and 28, 2015, in which it was agreed
Ms. Gibby would move to dismiss a previously filed Order of
Protection against Mr. Powell. Respondent filed the motion
and the Order of Protection was dismissed by the Court on
October 28, 2015.
There is no evidence of communication from Respondent to Ms.
Gibby again until December 14, 2015, when he sent her an
email stating he "thought I should check in with you
regarding where your case sits right now."
Respondent and Ms. Gibby exchanged two emails on December 24,
2015 regarding holiday visitation.
is a documented string of emails between January 19 and
February 2, 2016, wherein child support payments and the