A Utah State Bar disciplinary panel is recommending that bankruptcy attorney Richard Calder should be disbarred.
After conducting an extensive trial into allegations of professional misconduct, the panel found that the "allegations of the formal complaint were true and that he violated disciplinary rules," said Chris Burdick, bar counsel.The panel's recommendation to prevent Calder from practicing law now goes to the Board of Bar Commissioners of the Utah State Bar Feb. 17. After considering the findings, the commissioners will make a recommendation to the Utah Supreme Court.
"Disbarment is not effective until - and unless - the high court approves it," Burdick said. "Calder can still practice law."
Charges filed with the bar against Calder allege that he violated the Bar's rules of professional conduct by "engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." A disgruntled client further accused Calder of "reckless disregard of rights" and "egregious violation of his legal and ethical obligations to the plaintiffs.
Calder denied the allegations.
In advertisements that run on a regular basis in the classified sections of local newspapers, Calder solicits bankruptcy business.
In these ads, he claims he has filed 762 Chapter 13s and 463 Chapter 7s during 1987. Those figures, if correct, represent more than one-third of all the Chapter 13s and about one-tenth of the Chapter 7s filed in Utah.
In addition to Calder's problems with the bar, creditors recently won a victory against him in federal court. A bankruptcy judge concurred with Calder's creditors, ruling that Calder was knowingly fraudulent in the information he gave under oath regarding his finances.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John H. Allen ruled that none of Calder's debts are discharged by Calder's filed bankruptcy.
Creditors can now pursue payment by Calder for the money they say is owed.
Following Allen's ruling that Calder's debts are not discharged, Calder tried to convert his Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to prevent having to sell his estate to pay creditors.
Criticizing Allen's attempt to change his bankruptcy status, Allen concluded that Calder has made little effort to pay his creditors.
In his decision, the federal judge wrote that "the court is convinced that the rights of the creditors are being abused."