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24888 - In the Matter of Drigger

Davis Adv. Sh. No. 4
S.E. 2d



THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In The Supreme Court



In the Matter of Luke

Haulston Driggers, III, Respondent.



Opinion No. 24888

Submitted December 23, 1998 - Filed January 25, 1999



DISBARRED



Attorney General Charles M. Condon and Senior Assistant

Attorney General James G. Bogle, both of Columbia,

for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.



Luke Haulston Driggers, III, of Hurst, Texas, pro se.





PER CURIAM: In this attorney disciplinary matter,

respondent and disciplinary counsel have entered into an agreement under

Rule 21 of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement (IRLDE) contained

in Rule 413, SCACR. In the agreement, respondent admits misconduct and

consents to be disbarred from the practice of law. We accept the agreement

and disbar respondent.





J. Pamela Price Matt





Respondent represented Jessica F. Varnadore and Bonnie S.

Varnadore in a matter regarding, an automobile accident which occurred on

or about October 5, 1996. The Varnadores, who had trouble locating

respondent, contacted Attorney J. Pamela Price for informal advice. In

September 1997, respondent's mother, Mrs. Gloria Driggers, contacted the

Varnadores, and advised them she had approximately $6,000.00 in checks



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IN THE MATTER OF DRIGGER





from State Farm Insurance Company. Mrs. Driggers explained to the

Varnadores that they would have to sign the checks, but if they did not she

would deposit them into her son's escrow account anyway. The Varnadores

sought telephone advice from Attorney Price. She advised them not to sign

the checks. On September 12, Mrs. Driggers deposited the two checks

totaling $6,020.12 into respondent's escrow account. No payment was ever

made by respondent to the Varnadores.





On September 17, 1997, respondent wrote two checks to himself

for $1,000.00 each on his escrow account. Respondent continued to write

checks for non-client related matters on his escrow account, reducing the

balance in that account to $0.76 by November 28, 1997, and to -$31.62 by

December 31, 1997. The balance of respondent's escrow account has never

risen above zero since that time.





Tony R. Phillips Matter





Respondent was retained by Tony R. Phillips and accepted a fee

of approximately $3,400.00. When the case was first called for trial,

respondent was not present. When another matter he was handling for Mr.

Phillips was called, respondent failed to appear.







Further, respondent furnished false and/or erroneous

information to Mr. Phillips concerning another matter respondent was

handling for him.





Laurence K. Ladue, Jr. Matter





Respondent represented Laurence K. Ladue, Jr., in several

matters. When Respondent decided to move out of state, he advised Mr.

Ladue that he would continue to represent him in those matters.





Respondent was not diligent in the matters entrusted to him by

his client, Mr. Ladue. Respondent failed to respond to communications from

his client, he failed to return the client's files to him, and he failed to deliver

to the client the client's origoinal will and codicil.





Other Matters





Patti Honea Brodie wrote a letter of complaint to the

Commission. Respondent did not respond to the requests for a reply by the



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IN THE MATTER OF DRIGGERS





Commission on Lawyer Conduct (the Commission).





Additionally, respondent failed to respond to the Commission's

requests for a reply in the Price, Phillips, and Ladue matters.





Conclusion





Respondent has violated numerous provisions of the Rules of

Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR. He failed to provide competent

representation. Rule 1.1. Respondent failed to keep a client reasonably

informed about the status of matters and comply with reasonable requests

for information. Rule 1.4(a). He failed to consult with a client as to the

means by which the client's decisions concerning the objectives of

representation were to be pursued. Rule 1.2(a). He failed to act with

reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client. Rule 1.3. He

failed to promptly deliver to a client funds or documents to which the client

was entitled to receive and failed to promptly render a full accounting

regarding funds. Rule 1.15. He misappropriated client funds. Rule 1.15.

He failed to withdraw from representation of a client if the representation

would result in a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407,

SCACR. Rule 1.16(a)(1). He engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud,

deceit or misrepresentation. Rule 8.4(d). He engaged in conduct prejudicial

to the administration of justice. Rule 8.4(e).





Further, respondent violated provisions of Rule 7(a), RLDE. He

knowingly failed to respond to a lawful demand from the Commission to

include a request for a response under Rule 19. Rule 7(a)(3). He engaged in

conduct tending to pollute the administration of justice or to bring the courts

or the legal profession into disrepute or conduct demonstrating an unfitness

to practice law. Rule 7(a)(5). He violated the oath of office taken upon

admission to practice law in this State. Rule 7(a)(6).





Accordingly, respondent is hereby disbarred from the practice of

law, retroactive to March 4, 1998, the date of the order of his interim

suspension. Within fifteen days of the date of this opinion, respondent shall

file an affidavit with the Clerk of Court showing, that he has complied with

Rule 30, RLDE. In addition to all other requirements respondent must meet

to be reinstated under Rule 33, RLDE, no petition for reinstatement shall be

accepted until respondent has filed proof he has paid all monies owed to

clients as determined by a Fee Dispute Resolution Committee or Panel, and

respondent has returned all client files to his clients or their attorney.



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IN THE MATTER OF DRIGGERS





DISBARRED.





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