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In re Layne

Supreme Court of Montana

June 12, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF RICHARD M. LAYNE, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.

         ODC File No. 16-074

          Maxon R. Davis DAVIS, HATLEY, HAFFEMAN & TIGHE, P.C. Attorneys for Richard M Layne, Esq.

          CONDITIONAL ADMISSION AND AFFIDAVIT OF CONSENT

         Richard M. Layne, being first duly sworn upon oath deposes and affirms as follows.

         1. I am the respondent. I tender my conditional admission and make this affidavit of consent pursuant to Rule 26, Montana Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement (2018), in exchange for the stated forms of discipline.

         2. I am a retired lawyer against whom a formal complaint has been filed alleging ethical misconduct. I am informed and aware of the allegations against me and understand that, if those allegations are proved by clear and convincing evidence, there exist grounds for discipline against me even though I am no longer practicing law.

         3. I present this affidavit of consent and my tendered admission to an Adjudicatory Panel of the Commission on Practice in exchange for the form of discipline described below. If the Commission on Practice approves my tendered admission, the Commission can issue a final order of discipline. If my conditional admission is rejected by the Commission on Practice, then I understand my admission shall be deemed withdrawn and cannot be used against me in this or any subsequent proceeding.

         4. My consent to discipline is freely and voluntarily tendered. I am not subject to coercion or duress of any kind. I am fully aware of the implications of submitting my conditional admission and affidavit of consent.

         5. Consistent with the foregoing, I admit certain allegations of Count One of the complaint to be true. Specifically, I admit:

a. Billie Redding ("Redding") is an elderly Montanan who sold her family ranch in 2004 and was advised by her accountants, Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co., P.C. ("AZ"), to invest the proceeds in a company that went bankrupt in 2008.
b. I entered into a contingency Tee agreement with Redding to pursue her claims against AZ. Redding's claims arose from AZ's alleged misconduct in advising her to obtain tenancy-in-common ("TIC") shares of properties owned by DBSI, Inc. ("DBSI"). Redding incurred significant financial damages when DBSI became insolvent. AZ similarly advised at least six other clients.
c. I entered into an agreement with Montana attorney Linda Deola ("Deola") to have Deola act as local counsel and assist me in pursuing Redding's claims in Montana and to share attorney fees.
d. On July 27, 2009, Deola filed a lawsuit on Redding's behalf against AZ and others in Montana First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County, Cause No. ADV 09-649.
e. In July 2009, 1 submitted a pro hac vice application to the State Bar of Montana. I appeared pro hac vice in Redding's case, although I was not formally admitted by the Court. As a result, I was required to abide by the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct and am ...

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