Disciplinary Board v. Bolinske

Docket No. 20190109
Oral Argument: Thursday, June 20, 2019 2:45 PM

Docket Info

Title
In the Matter of the Application for
Disciplinary Action Against Robert V.
Bolinske, a Person Admitted to the Bar
of the State of North Dakota
----------
Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court
of the State of North Dakota, Petitioner
v.
Robert V. Bolinske, Sr., Respondent
Case Type
DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING-Lawyer : DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS (Civil)
Appeal From
Case No. 6176-W-1708

Parties' Statement of Issues

  • Petitioner

    1. Whether Bolinske violated Rule 1.5(a), N.D.R. Prof. Conduct, by making an agreement for, charging, or collecting an unreasonable fee through having an internally inconsistent fee agreement language and by including a provision for a “nonrefundable” $10,000 retainer in addition to the 33 1/3% contingent fee within his agreements with Carter and the Watsons.
    2. Whether Bolinske violated Rule 1.15(e), N.D.R. Prof. Conduct, by failing to maintain possession of the funds being disputed by Carter and the Watsons in a separate account from his own until the dispute had been resolved.
    3. Whether Bolinske violated Rule 1.16(e), N.D.R. Prof. Conduct, by failing to take steps to the extent reasonably practicable, after the termination of representation, to surrender the client files to Carter and the Watsons and to refund any unearned fees or provide any accountings as to the $10,000 retainer payments they had made.
    4. Whether the Hearing Panel’s recommended sanction of a suspension, with payments of restitution, and the assessment of costs was an appropriate sanction given the underlying violations of the North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct that were found.

  • Respondent

    1. Is the Hearing Panel’s decision that Bolinske’s combined non-refundable fee – contingent fee agreement was “unreasonable”, arbitrary, capricious and/or unreasonable in that it is (1) legally defective and (2) not supported by the required “clear and convincing evidence?”
    2. Is the Hearing Panel’s decision that Bolinske refund $5,000 of his non-refundable fee, which was clearly earned, arbitrary, capricious and/or unreasonable in that it is (1) legally defective and (2) not supported by the required “clear and convincing evidence?”
    3. Is the Hearing Panel’s decision that Bolinske failed to comply with the ethical Requirement that an attorney return a client’s file arbitrary, capricious and/or unreasonable, in that it is (1) legally defective and (2) not supported by the required “clear and convincing evidence?”
    4. Was the entire attorney disciplinary process and its administration in this case so flawed and procedurally defective that the resulting decision was arbitrary, capricious and/or unreasonable?
    5. Is the Hearing Panel’s decision that Bolinske be suspended from the practice of law arbitrary, capricious and/or unreasonable in that it is (1) legally defective and (2) not supported by the required “clear and convincing evidence?”
    6. Is the Hearing Panel’s decision that Bolinske pay over $10,000 in attorney fees and costs, under the circumstances here present, arbitrary, capricious and/or unreasonable in that it is (1) legally defective and (2) not supported by the required “clear and convincing evidence?”
    7. Was the Hearing Panel’s decision defective, null and void because its members, and the Hearing Panel chair, failed to take the required written oath of office and file it with the Secretary of State, as required by the statutes of North Dakota and it’s Constitution?


Summary

Robert V. Bolinske, Sr., objects to the Disciplinary Board Hearing Panel’s findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations.
A petition for discipline was issued, alleging Bolinske violated N.D.R. Prof. Conduct 1.5(a) related to fees, N.D.R. Prof. Conduct 1.15(e) related to safekeeping of property, and N.D.R. Prof. Conduct 1.16(e) related to terminating representation. A hearing was held before the Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel issued its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations. The Hearing Panel found there was clear and convincing evidence Bolinske violated N.D.R. Prof. Conduct 1.5(a), 1.15(e), and 1.16(e). The Hearing Panel recommended Bolinske be suspended from the practice of law for 30 days, pay the costs and expenses of the disciplinary proceeding, and pay restitution to specific clients. Bolinske filed objections to the Hearing Panel’s report.
Bolinske argues the Hearing Panel’s findings that he violated various Rules of Professional Conduct are not supported by clear and convincing evidence, its recommendation that he be suspended is legally defective and not supported by clear and convincing evidence, and the Hearing Panel’s decision and the disciplinary procedure denied him due process and were invalid and unlawful.


Briefs

Filing Date Description
05/24/2019 PETITIONER BRIEF View
05/24/2019 RESPONDENT BRIEF View

Counsel

Party Type Name
PETITIONER DISCIPLINARY STAFF Kara Jean Erickson - 06287
RESPONDENT PRO SE Robert V Bolinske - 03266

(Note: Attachments may not be available for recently filed cases and/or confidential documents.)

Seq. # Filing Date Description Attachment
1 04/03/2019 REPORT OF DISCIPLINARY BOARD/HEARING BODY
2 04/05/2019 DISCIPLINARY BOARD SECRETARY SERVED REPORT
3 04/05/2019 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION : McEvers, Lisa K. Fair
4 04/05/2019 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION : VandeWalle, Gerald W.
5 04/24/2019 MOTION FOR Extension of Time to File Exceptions
6 04/25/2019 ACTION BY CLERK - Granted : 05/06/2019
7 05/03/2019 EXCEPTIONS TO FINDINGS
8 05/03/2019 Paper Filed Document
9 05/15/2019 CERTIFICATE OF RECORD (ENTRY NOS. 1-48)
10 05/22/2019 NOTICE OF ORAL ARGUMENT SENT
11 05/24/2019 SITTING WITH THE COURT : Goodman, Ronald E.
12 05/24/2019 PETITIONER BRIEF View
13 05/24/2019 PETITIONER APPENDIX
14 05/24/2019 RESPONDENT BRIEF View
15 05/24/2019 RESPONDENT APPENDIX (filed for whatever purpose the Court deems appropriate)
16 05/24/2019 AMENDED EXCEPTIONS TO FINDINGS (filed for whatever purpose the Court deems appropriate)
17 05/29/2019 SITTING WITH THE COURT : Graff, Benny A.
18 05/29/2019 Rec'd 6 copies of Petitioner's Brief and Appendix from CSD
19 05/29/2019 Rec'd 6 copies of Respondent's Brief and Appendix from CSD
20 05/30/2019 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION : Graff, Benny A.
21 05/30/2019 SITTING WITH THE COURT : Anderson, Norman G.
22 06/04/2019 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION : Goodman, Ronald E.
23 06/04/2019 SITTING WITH THE COURT : Nelson, David W.
24 06/10/2019 MOT. FOR LEAVE TO FILE AND FOR EXT/TIME REPLY BRIEF
25 06/10/2019 Paper Filed Document
26 06/10/2019 ACTION BY SUPREME COURT - Granted : 06/13/2019
27 06/12/2019 MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF REPLY BRIEF PAGE LIMIT
28 06/12/2019 Paper Filed Document
29 06/14/2019 ACTION BY SUPREME COURT (not more than 15 pages) - Granted
30 06/14/2019 Non-Compliant RYB rec'd; given until 6-17-19 at 12pm to revise (page limit)
31 06/14/2019 Have we rec'd revised RYB? (Due by 12 pm)(delete when satisfied) : 06/17/2019