IN THE MATTER OF: MATTHEW A. BRYAN, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.
January 14, 2019, a formal disciplinary complaint was filed
against Montana attorney Matthew A. Bryan. This complaint may
be reviewed by any interested person in the office of the
Clerk of this Court.
did not respond to the complaint. On February 12, 2019, the
Commission on Practice (COP) entered default and deemed the
complaint's allegations to be admitted pursuant to Rule
12(C)(2) of the Montana Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary
April 18, 2019, the COP held a hearing to determine the
appropriate form of discipline to recommend to this Court.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) presented argument.
Bryan did not appear.
3, 2019, the COP submitted to this Court its Findings of
Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation for Discipline.
Bryan did not respond in the time allowed by MRLDE 16, and
this matter is now ripe for consideration.
was admitted to the practice of law in Montana in 2018, and
in Georgia in 2007. This Complaint arose from actions Bryan
took, or failed to take, regarding the Andy H. Swain
Revocable Trust, which was prepared by Bryan and executed in
July 2011 for Andy H. Swain, a resident of Georgia. The Trust
named Bryan as successor Trustee and named Swain's
grandchildren as beneficiaries.
died in 2013. After his death, one of his grandchildren
attempted to contact Bryan regarding the Trust. She
fruitlessly searched for Bryan until July 2016, when she
located him and requested a disbursement. By that time, Biyan
had left his previous law firm and had left the State of
Georgia. Over the next two years, Bryan offered various
excuses as to why funds from the Trust were not readily
available, and why he could not immediately review and
discuss the Trust.
April 25, 2018, Georgia administratively suspended Bryan from
the practice of law. In October 2018, the ODC mailed a copy
of the grievance from Swain's grandchild to the address
for Bryan on file with the Montana State Bar, along with a
request for response. Bryan did not respond, and the ODC was
unable to reach Bryan through other means. Bryan has also
failed to respond to inquiries from the Georgia State Bar.
the ODC investigation determined that Bryan's website
falsely claimed that he was expanding his practice into
Wyoming when Bryan was neither admitted to practice, nor had
applied for admission to practice, law in Wyoming.
on the findings deemed admitted by Bryan's failure to
respond, the COP concluded that Bryan violated M. R. Pro.
Cond. 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.15(b), 1.16(a)(2), 7.1(a), 8.1(b),
8.4(c), and Rule 8(A)(6), MRLDE. The COP recommended Bryan be
disbarred, stating, "Bryan's defalcations and
failures in this matter are numerous, egregious, prolonged
and reflect extreme dishonesty and breaches of duty."
Court reviews de novo the COP's findings of fact,
conclusions of law, and recommendations. In re
Neuhardt, 2014 MT 88, ¶ 16, 374 Mont. 379, 321 P.3d
833 (citation omitted).
thoroughly reviewed the record in this matter. Relying on the
admitted findings, we agree with the COP's conclusions of
law and recommendations.
upon the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
COP's Findings of Fact. Conclusions of Law and
Recommendation for Discipline are ACCEPTED and ADOPTED.
Matthew A. Bryan is hereby disbarred from the practice of law
in Montana effective thirty days from the date of this Order.
Bryan is directed to give notice of his disbarment to all
clients he represents in pending matters, any co-counsel in
pending matters, all opposing counsel and self-represented
opposing parties in pending matters, and ...