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In re Marshall

Supreme Court of Montana

August 1, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF DOUGLAS MARSHALL, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.

         Commission File No. 17-123

          Douglas W. Marshall (Attorney) Representing: Douglas W. Marshall Service Method: eService

          Shaun R. Thompson (Attorney) Representing: Office of Disciplinary Counsel Service Method: eService

          Ward E. Taleff (Attorney) Representing: Commission on Practice Service Method: E-mail Delivery

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND ORDER ON RULE 26 CONDITIONAL ADMISSION

          Ward “Mick” Taleff Chair.

         An Adjudicatory Panel of the Commission on Practice conducted a hearing on Douglas Marshall's Conditional Admission and Affidavit of Consent on July 25, 2019 in Helena, Montana. Panel members participating were Chair Ward "Mick" Taleff, Jean Faure, Kelly Gallinger, Gene Huntington, Patt Leikam, Carl Mendenhall, Lois Menzies, Heather Perry and Bob Savage. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel was represented by interim Chief Disciplinary Counsel Shaun Thompson. Mr. Marshall appeared on his own behalf. Based upon the Conditional Admission and Affidavit of Consent, as well as the statements and information presented at the hearing, the Commission makes the following factual findings, reaches the following conclusions of law and enters its Order:

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. Douglas Marshall ("Marshall"), was admitted to the practice of law in Montana in 1994, at which time he took the oath required for admission and 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 set forth in parts 3 and 4 of Chapter 61, Title 3 7, 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 Montana, which Rules were in effect at all times mentioned in the Complaint filed in this matter.

         3. In October 2016, Marshall began representing John Graves ("Graves") concerning a potential civil rights violation and a wrongful discharge claim arising from the termination of Graves' employment on July 28, 2016.

         4. Graves paid Marshall a retainer of $ 1, 500.00 to investigate his claim.

         5. Marshall did not provide Graves with a written communication setting forth the scope of the representation and the basis or rate of fees and expenses, Marshall's explanation to the Commission was that he was uncertain whether the representation would be on an hourly basis or a contingent fee basis.

         6. During the representation, Marshall did not diligently investigate and pursue Graves' claims.

         7. On July 28, 2017, Marshall hand-delivered a Complaint signed by Graves to be conventionally filed with the U.S. District Court, Butte Division, on the last day for ...


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