THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court
In the Matter of Lillie
R. Davis, Respondent.
Opinion No. 25000
Submitted July 20, 1999 - Filed September 13, 1999
Lillie R. Davis, of Columbia, pro se.
Attorney General Charles M. Condon, Senior
Assistant Attorney General James G. Bogle, Jr., and
Henry B. Richardson, Jr., all of Columbia, for the
Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
PER CURIAM: In this attorney disciplinary matter, respondent
and Disciplinary Counsel have entered into an agreement under Rule 21 of
413, SCACR. In the agreement, respondent admits misconduct and consents
to a public reprimand.1 We accept the agreement for a public reprimand.
Respondent was retained to represent the estate of Cleo Conkle,
who died without a will. Cleo Conkle's husband, Willie L. Conkle, survived
her and was appointed personal representative of Cleo Conkle's estate.
Thereafter, Willie Conkle died with a will, and was replaced as personal
321 S.C. 2819 468 S.E.2d 301 (1996).
representative on the Cleo Conkle estate by Elizabeth Lovett (Elizabeth).
The appointment of Elizabeth as personal representative for the
estate of Cleo Conkle was incorrect because Elizabeth was falsely thought to
be the only heir. However, there was, in fact, a granddaughter and
respondent neglected this matter by failing to provide the court information
as to the granddaughter, or by failing to seek from members of the family the
identity of all possible heirs, including the granddaughter.
A series of delinquency notices regarding the Cleo Conkle estate
and the Willie Conkle estate were sent by the Probate Court to respondent.
Delinquency notices were also sent to Elizabeth as personal representative of
the Cleo Conkle estate. A pre-summons was sent to both Elizabeth as
personal representative and respondent on August 13, 1997.
Despite the issuance of the delinquency notices and the pre
summons, respondent did not contact the Probate Court. A pre-summons
was sent to Elizabeth as personal representative and respondent on October
22, 1997, regarding the estate of Willie Conkle.
Respondent did not reply to the Probate Court. As a result of the
summonses, a Rule to Show Cause hearing was held before the Probate
Court on February 8, 1998. Respondent did not attend this hearing.
After the hearing, the Probate Court staff assisted Elizabeth as
Personal Representative and the families of Cleo Conkle and Willie Conkle
in closing out the Cleo Conkle estate and the Willie Conkle estate.
The Commission on Lawyer Conduct (Commission) wrote
respondent an inquiry letter concerning this matter; however, respondent
did not reply until she received a second letter of inquiry from the
Commission. Additionally, while respondent replied to the second letter of
inquiry, she did not respond to the Notice of Full Investigation.
Julian A. Reynolds Matter
Respondent, in her representation of Leon Davis (Davis), asked
Julian A. Reynolds (Reynolds), the operator of Reynolds Drug Store, to
provide medications to Davis in the amount of $116.04, which Reynolds did.
Respondent wrote Reynolds on two occasions stating that she
had been retained to represent Davis and that Reynolds' fees would be
protected and paid.
Thereafter, the money was not paid, and Reynolds made at least
two telephone attempts to collect the money without success in 1997 and
Respondent has violated numerous provisions of the Rules of
Professional Conduct contained in Rule 407, SCACR. Respondent failed to
provide competent representation. Rule 1.1. She failed to act with
reasonable diligence and promptness. Rule 1.3. She failed to keep her client
reasonably informed about the status of the case and respond to requests
from the court. Rule 1.4. Respondent failed to make reasonable efforts to
expedite litigation consistent with the interests of her client. Rule 3.2. She
engaged in misconduct in violation of Rule 8.4.
In addition, respondent has violated provisions of the Rules for
Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement, Rule 413, SCACR, including Rule 7(a)(1)
(violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct); Rule 7(a)(5) (engaging 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); and Rule 7(a)(6) (violation of the oath of office taken upon
admission to practice law in South Carolina).
Accordingly, respondent is hereby publicly reprimanded.