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In re Flaherty

Supreme Court of Montana

November 1, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF DANIEL J. FLAHERTY, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.

          Shaun R. Thompson Interim Chief Disciplinary Counsel

          COMPLAINT

         Upon leave of the Commission on Practice granted on October 17, 2019, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana ("ODC") hereby charges Daniel J. Flaherty with professional misconduct as follows:

         General Allegations

         1. Daniel J. Flaherty, hereinafter referred to as Respondent, was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Montana in 2011, 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.

         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 the State of Montana, which Rules were in effect at all times mentioned in this Complaint.

         Count One

         3. ODC realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 2 of the General Allegations as if fully restated in this Count One.

         4. Debra Goetze ("Goetze") is an older female and an Alaskan native, who had trouble finding employment in Great Falls, Montana.

         5. Goetze filed numerous discrimination claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), a federal agency, and the Montana Human Rights Bureau ("HRB").

         6. The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce ("the Chamber") was one of the prospective employers to which Goetze unsuccessfully applied for job.

         7. On or about December 6, 2016, Goetze retained Respondent to pursue certain discrimination claims on her behalf on a contingent fee basis.

         8. On April 14, 2017, Respondent filed a lawsuit on Goetze's behalf against the Chamber in Cascade County District Court, Cause No. ADV-17-0254. The Complaint was amended on September 19, 2017. No other documents were filed in the case until Respondent filed a Motion to Withdraw on November 2, 2018, which was granted on November 5, 2018.

         9. During the representation, Goetze sent Respondent numerous email inquiries about the status of her matter. Respondent did not respond, nor did he respond to Goetze's requests for a copy of the Complaint against the Chamber.

         10. On September 14, 2018, Goetze went to the courthouse and obtained a copy of the Complaint and discovered ...


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