THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court
In the Matter of Ginger P. Matson,
Opinion No. 24898
Submitted January 6, 1999 - Filed February 8, 1999
Attorney General Charles Molony Condon and
Senior Assistant Attorney General James G. Bogle,
Jr., both of Columbia, for the Office of Disciplinary
Ginger P. Matson, of Covington, 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 (RLDE) contained in
Rule 413, SCACR. In the agreement, respondent admits misconduct and
consents to an appropriate sanction. We accept the agreement and impose
an eighteen-month definite suspension, retroactive to November 30, 1998.
We find that the instant matter was part of a pattern of misconduct
discussed in In the Matter of Ginger P. Matson, Op. No. 24862 (S.C. Sup. Ct.
filed Nov. 30, 1998) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 38 at 22). Therefore, the
sanction imposed in this matter is concurrent with the sanction imposed in
Op. No. 24862.
Deborah L. Miller Matter
Respondent represented Deborah L. Miller (Miller) regarding a
family court matter. Respondent accepted a fee of $250.00 from Miller.
Respondent admits that she failed to return all of Miller's telephone calls
and failed to respond to Miller's inquiries about the status of her case.
Furthermore, respondent admits that she left South Carolina and relocated
to Texas without notifying Miller. In addition, respondent acknowledges
that she failed to respond to the Commission on Lawyer Conduct
(Commission) which had requested information on this matter.
In mitigation, respondent submits that while she was handling
this matter, she was suffering from depression which was exacerbated by her
mother's illness and eventual death
By her actions in this matter, respondent has violated Rule 7,
RLDE, by violating the Rules of Professional Conduct; by engaging in
conduct tending to pollute the administration of justice or bring the courts or
the legal profession into disrepute or conduct demonstrating an unfitness to
practice law; by violating the oath of office taken upon admission to practice
law in South Carolina; and by knowingly failing to respond to a lawful
demand from the Commission and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel,
including a request for a response under Rule 19, RLDE.
Moreover, respondent's misconduct constitutes a violation of the
Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR. Respondent failed to
provide competent representation. Rule 1.1. She failed to act with
reasonable diligence and promptness representing her client. Rule 1.3. She
failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of her case and
comply with reasonable requests for information. Rule 1.4. She failed to
withdraw from representation of a client if representation would result in a
violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 1.16. She engaged in
conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. Rule 8.4. She failed to
respond to a demand for information by the Commission. Rule 8.1.
Accordingly, we impose an eighteen-month definite suspension,
retroactive to November 30, 1998. Additionally, prior to reinstatement,
respondent must refund any unearned fees as determined by a Fee Dispute
Within fifteen days of the date of this opinion, respondent
shall file an affidavit with the Clerk of Court showing that she has complied with
Rule 30 RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR.