BEFORE THE DISCIPLINARY BOARD
WASHINGTON STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
DOUGLAS SCHAFER FORMAL COMPLAINT
Bar No. 8652
Pursuant to Rule 4.3 of the Rules for Lawyer Discipline ("RLD"), the Washington State Bar Association ("WSBA") charges the above-named lawyer with acts of misconduct under the RLD's as set forth below. Copies of the relevant rules are attached as Appendix A.
ADMISSION TO PRACTICE
Respondent Douglas Schafer was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Washington on October 27, 1978. At all times relevant, Respondent practiced law in Pierce County, Washington.
FACTS REGARDING COUNT I
1. From 1980 until 1996, Respondent represented Mr. William Hamilton as an individual on a variety of business matters. Their relationship continued during Respondent's association with two different law firms and later, his solo practice.
2. Respondent represented Mr. Hamilton in various business transactions including aspects of the purchase of a bowling alley called Pacific Lanes from the estate of a deceased person named Charles C. Hoffman.
3. In July 1995, Respondent represented Donald Barovic in an estate matter before Tacoma Superior Court Judge Grant L. Anderson. Judge Anderson's Court rulings in that case caused Respondent to doubt Judge Anderson's professional competence, fitness as a judge and integrity.
4. After a second hearing in the Donald Barovic matter before Judge Anderson in December 1995, Respondent began an investigation of Judge Anderson's role as an attorney and personal representative for the Estate of Charles C. Hoffman, Pierce County Superior Court cause number 89-4-00326-3.
5. In conducting the investigation, Respondent reviewed the Hoffman Estate Court file in the Pierce County Superior Court. Respondent also reviewed his file concerning Mr. Hamilton's purchase of Pacific Lanes from the Hoffman Estate.
6. As part of the investigation, Respondent met with Mr. Hamilton on December 18, 1995 and outlined his efforts to expose allegedly unscrupulous judges on Pierce County Superior Court bench in general, and Judge Grant L. Anderson, in particular.
7. At the December 18, 1995 meeting, Respondent told Mr. Hamilton that he had reviewed his file concerning the purchase of Pacific Lanes Bowling Center from the Hoffman Estate and the corporation that was formed for that purpose.
8. At the December 18, 1995 meeting, Mr. Hamilton specifically warned Respondent that he was not to violate his attorney-client privilege regarding the purchase of Pacific Lanes to accomplish his personal goals concerning Judge Anderson.
9. A short time after the December 18, 1995 meeting, Mr. Hamilton learned that Respondent had been making inquiries concerning another case in which they had an attorney-client relationship, involving the purchase and formation of the Sound Banking Company in the summer of 1990.
10. Once again, Mr. Hamilton contacted Respondent and admonished him that the "attorney-client privilege" established during their association in any case was not to be violated.
11. After Respondent informed Judge Anderson on January 31, 1996 that he was investigating his conduct concerning the Hoffman Estate and filed a Motion of Prejudice in the Don Barovic case, Judge Anderson recused himself.
12. On February 1, 1996, Mr. Hamilton sent a FAX to Respondent that insisted that he refrain from communicating matters learned while representing Mr. Hamilton's interests and also terminated their attorney-client relationship.
13. In response, Respondent telephoned Mr. Hamilton and they arranged for a meeting that same day in the office of attorney Phil Sloan, during which Respondent reviewed the results of his investigation of Judge Anderson.
14. Mr. Sloan informed Respondent that he was not to disclose confidences learned while representing Mr. Hamilton. On February 5, 1996, Mr. Sloan sent Respondent a FAX that reiterated his warning not to reveal client confidences, specifically Mr. Hamilton's communications with Grant Anderson.
15. In a February 29, 1996 Memo provided by Respondent to numerous public officials and other members of the community, Respondent enclosed a document executed by him dated February 16, 1996, entitled "Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury," that included the following statement:"On August 12, 1992, I was called by my client, William L. Hamilton, who I previously had advised in several matters including the formation in 1990 of Sound Banking Company (of which he then was President/CEO, as he had been at Western Community Bank for about 25 years before its sale), and he requested that I form a new corporation for him immediately. He said that an attorney he knew, Grant Anderson, had been "milking" an estate for four years and was about to become a judge, so he needed to quickly sell the estate's business, Pacific Lanes, in order to close the estate before he took the bench. Hamilton said that he had agreed to buy the business. It was either in that phone conversation or when we met on August 17, 1992, that Hamilton commented that there was no time for an appraisal of the business, that Anderson was giving him a good deal, and that Hamilton would repay him "down the road" by paying him as corporate secretary or something like that. When I heard that comment, I told Hamilton, 'I don't even want to hear about it?' I formed the corporation, Pacific Recreation Enterprises, Inc., and had no further involvement with him concerning the purchase of Pacific Lanes."
FACTS REGARDING COUNTS II & III
[Webmaster's Note: Counts II and III were dropped on Jan. 6, 2000.]
16. On December 15, 1995, in connection with his personal investigation of Judge Anderson, Respondent presented Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner James Orlando with an order to remove the orginal file for the Hoffman Estate from the Pierce County Superior Court.
17. In response to Commissioner Orlando's query, Respondent falsely stated that he needed to remove the file rather than review it in the courthouse because he was representing some people who had purchase property from the estate and who had several questions concerning the probate.
18. In his "Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury" of February 16, 1996, regarding the meeting he had with Mr. Hamilton on December 18, 1995, Respondent falsely stated: ". . . Hamilton was telling me about the major structural problems he had encountered with the Pacific Lanes building, for which he recently recovered his costs from the insurer."
19. In Mr. Hamilton's suit against the insurer of the Pacific Lanes building in regard to its structural problems, the issue of cost recovery was not decided until January 4, 1996.
20. Respondent's conduct on one or more occasions in revealing confidences and/or secrets relating to his representation of Mr. Hamilton violated RPC 1.6(a) and subjects him to discipline pursuant to RLD 1.1(i). Said conduct also violated Respondent's oath as a lawyer, in violation of RLD 1.1(c).
[Webmaster's Note: Count II was dropped on Jan. 6, 2000.]
21. Respondent's conduct in making a false statement of fact to Commissioner Orlando on December 15, 1995 violated RPC 4.1(a) and/or RPC 8.4(c) and subjects him to disciplne pursuant to RLD 1.1(i). Said conduct also violated Respondnet's oath as a lawyer, in violation of RLD 1.1(c).
[Webmaster's Note: Count III was dropped on Jan. 6, 2000.]
22. Respondent's conduct in making a false statement of material fact concerning matters revealed to him regarding recovery of costs from the insurer of Pacific Lanes during his meeting with Mr. William Hamilton on December 18, 1995 violated RPC 4.1(a) and/or RPC 8.4(c) and subjects him to discipline pursuant to RLD 1.1(i). Said conduct also violated Respondent's oath as a lawyer, in violation of RLD 1.1(c).
THEREFORE, Disciplinary Counsel requests that a hearing be held under the Rules for Lawyer Discipline, and that such disposition of this matter be made as warranted by the facts and the law. Possible disposition may include: imposition of discipline; imposition of probationary conditions; ordering restitution; and assessment of the costs and expenses of these proceedings.
Dated this 26th day of May, 1999.
/s/ Timothy L. Leachman
Timothy L. Leachman, WSBA 6628