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In re Gillespie

Supreme Court of Montana

January 26, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF, RICHARD E. GILLESPIE, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.

         Supreme Court Cause No. ODC File No. 16-192

          Michael W. Cotter Chief Disciplinary Counsel.

          COMPLAINT

         Upon leave of the Commission on Practice ("COP") granted on January 11, 2018, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") hereby charges Richard E. Gillespie, an attorney at law admitted to practice before the courts of Montana, with professional misconduct as follows:

         1. Richard E. Gillespie, hereinafter referred to as Respondent, was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Montana in June, 1972, at which time he took the oath required for admission, agreeing 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 law in the State of Montana, which Rules were in effect at all times mentioned in this Complaint.

         3. Richard E. Gillespie was a member of the Keller, Reynolds, Drake, Johnson & Gillespie Law Firm ("Keller Law Firm") until July 31, 2016. The Keller Law Firm provided legal services to Bryan Sandrock and his entities until approximately mid-May 2016.

         4. In or around May 2013, Respondent entered his appearance on behalf of Bryan Sandrock and his entities (hereinafter, "Sandrock"), in the matter originally captioned, Bryan Sandrock, Individually and as Sole Operating Member of the Train Station, LLC, a Montana Limited Liability Company v. Kevin DeTienne, (hereinafter "DeTienne ") Individually and as a Sole Operating Member of the Money Train, LLC, a Montana Limited Liability Company, Lewis and Clark County District Court, Cause No. CDV 2009-1105 (herein referred to as "Sandrock v. DeTienne").

         5. Sandrock v. DeTienne was an action for possession of real property. Sandrock claimed that he was an investor in and member of, the Train Station, LLC, which was a 50% member, and was the managing member in the Train Station, LLC, with DeTienne's mother, Vibeke DeTienne (hereinafter "Vibeke"). The Train Station leased the property to the Money Train in which DeTienne was the sole member. During the pendency of the litigation, Vibeke DeTienne died.

         6. On January 19, 2010, the Honorable Kathy Seeley, entered Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law that DeTienne was in breach of his lease agreement with Sandrock. A preliminary injunction was entered by the Court preventing DeTienne from entering the premises. Seeley was affirmed by the Montana Supreme Court.

         7. On or about, April 10, 2012, Respondent entered his appearance on behalf of Sandrock, in the companion probate case, captioned, In the Matter of the Estate of Vibeke DeTienne, Sheridan County District Court, DP-46-2006-5076.

         8. In the Vibeke DeTienne Estate, Kevin DeTienne asserted that Viebeke created a Trust prior to her death and transferred her share of the Train Station to DeTienne. During the course of the Estate litigation, the Court entered an Order granting DeTienne's Motion for Discovery Sanctions, striking Sandrock's defenses and finding certain acts as true. The Court also ordered that the Trust was a member of the Train Station and that all actions taken on behalf of the Train Station from June 27, 2008, were null and void.

         9. Both actions were consolidated and reorganized in the Lewis and Clark County District Court as follows: Kevin DeTienne, Individually and on behalf of the Vibeke DeTienne Trust, as Trustee, The Train Station, LLC, a Montana Limited Liability Company, and the Money Train, LLC, a Montana Limited Liability Company v. Bryan Sandrock GG&ME, LLC, a limited Liability Company, and DRAES, Inc., a Montana Close Corporation.

         10. DeTienne, now as a plaintiff, filed a Second Amended Complaint on August 11, 2015. Respondent, on behalf of Sandrock (now a defendant), failed to file an Answer to the Second Amended Complaint within the allotted time. A default was entered and Gillespie's attempts to set the default aside failed.

         11. After a hearing on damages, a judgment was entered in favor of DeTienne and against Sandrock, by which Sandrock was expelled from the Train Station, property conveyed by quit claim deed, was rendered null and void. Plaintiffs were awarded, $2, 083, 171, plus interest allowed by statute from December 1, 2009, through November 30, 2015, $150, ...


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