THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The, Supreme Court
In the Matter of Brian
Charles Reeve, Respondent.
Opinion No. 24934
Submitted March 16, 1999 - Filed April 19, 1999
Frank A. Barton, of Columbia, for respondent.
Senior Assistant Attorney General James G. Bogle,
Jr., of Columbia, for the Office of Disciplinary
PER CURIAM: In this attorney disciplinary matter,
respondent has admitted the allegations against him and the parties have
entered into an agreement for a sanction ranging from a letter of caution to a
public reprimand pursuant to Rule 21 of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary
Enforcement, Rule 413, SCACR. We accept the agreement and publicly
Respondent admits that he received attorney's fees in three real
estate closings at which he was not present. In one instance, respondent
failed to explain the documents to his clients prior to the closing. In
addition, respondent was aware that his staff notarized and witnessed
documents outside of the clients' presence.
In a loan refinancing prepared by respondent, respondent had no
personal contact with the client. Although the client had not paid real estate
taxes on the property for three years, when respondent's staff telephoned the
Richland County Treasurer's Office, no notice of the unpaid taxes was given.
Respondent was paid an abstract or title search fee for his representation in
this matter. However, respondent failed to secure the amounts and due
dates of the client's unpaid taxes. After the closing, the client received a tax
notice for the unpaid taxes.
Finally, respondent conducted a closing for a couple refinancing
their home. Although he had notice of a judgment for repossession of a
mobile home, the closing was conducted and respondent issued a check on
his trust account to the couple. After depositing respondent's check, writing
checks, and withdrawing cash from their account based on the deposit of
respondent's check, the couple was informed by their bank that respondent
had placed a stop payment on his check.
Respondent has engaged in misconduct by failing to properly
supervise nonlawyers employed by him, assisting a person in the
unauthorized practice of law, failing to provide competent representation,
failing to make reasonable efforts to correct clients' misunderstandings of his
role in legal matters, and failing to respect the legal rights of third parties in
representing a client. By his conduct, respondent has violated Rules 1.1, 4.3,
4.4, 5.2, 5.5, and 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR,
and his oath of office. In addition, respondent has engaged in conduct which
tends to pollute the administration of justice and bring the legal profession
Accordingly, we publicly reprimand respondent for his