Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
25001 - In the Matter of William H. Godbold, III

Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 30
S.E. 2d

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In The Supreme Court

In the Matter of William

H. Godbold, III, Respondent.

Opinion No. 25001

Submitted August 3,,1999 - Filed September 13, 1999

DISBARRED

William H. Godbold, III, of Rock Hill, pro se.

Attorney General Charles Molony Condon and

Senior Assistant Attorney General James G. Bogle,

both 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, RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR. In the agreement, respondent admits

misconduct in the following matters and consents to be disbarred from the

practice of law1 We accept the agreement.







Daniel McDonald Matter



Respondent settled this matter for $50,000.00 on or about June

18, 1998. Respondent failed to disburse $14,200.10 of the settlement to

McDonald, a minor under the age of fourteen.


1 Respondent has been on interim suspension since April 28, 1999. In

the Matter of Godbold, S.C. Sup. Ct. Order dated April 28, 1999 (Shearouse

Adv. Sh. No. 16 at 29).

p.4


In the Matter of William H. Godbold, III





Janet Cable Matter



Respondent settled this matter on or about December 13, 1996

for $20,000.00. Respondent prepared a disbursement sheet indicating

disbursements of $7,295.89 to Cable, $154.77 to Mr. Foster, $6,600.00 as an

attorney fee, and $5,949.34 to Jefferson Pilot Insurance. Respondent

actually made the following disbursements: $10,333.34 to Cable, $3,454.77 to

Mr. Foster, representing his half of the attorney fee plus costs, $3,300.00 to

himself. Although respondent negotiated the Jefferson Pilot claim to

$3,000.00, he failed to pay the claim. Of the original settlement, $2,911.89

has yet to be paid out.





During the Commission on Lawyer Conduct's investigation of

this matter, respondent replied to the Commission's initial inquiry but failed

to reply to its request for financial records, its second letter of inquiry, and

the Notice of Full Investigation.





Roger Rainey Matter



This matter settled for $18,51,00.00 on February 16, 1998. The

$2,985.00 bill of Rock Hill Chiropractic Works, one of Rainey's medical

providers, has not been paid.





Kalia McFadden Matter



This matter was settled for $3,218.12 on July 19, 1996. The

$1,500.00 bill of Kimbell Chiropractic Center, one of McFadden's medical

providers, has yet to be paid.







Doris Frederick Matter



This matter was settled through arbitration for $5,695.21 on

August 2, 1996; however, $1,499.00 in medical bills are still unpaid.





Erica Knox Matter



This matter was settled on August 5, 1997 for $2,000.00.

Hughes Chiropractic Center, one of Knox:'s medical providers, is owed

$750.00. Furthermore, no settlement statement was prepared in this

matter.

p.5


In the Matter of William H. Godbold, III





Brandy Wilson Matter



This matter was settled on June 8, 1998 for $4,300.00; however,

the $1,443.00 bill of Beaver Chiropractic! Center, one of Wilson's medical

providers, has not been paid.





Cora Stallings Matter



This matter was settled on September 11, 1998 for $2,308.68.

The $1,100.00 bill owed to Beaver Chiropractic Center has yet to be paid.

Respondent failed to prepare a settlement statement in this case.





Angie and Candice Copeland Matter



This matter was settled for $1,000.00 on October 6, 1997. Of this

settlement, respondent paid his own fee, leaving unpaid funds to the

Copelands and/or medical bills of $666.66. In addition, respondent

acknowledges that Price, Smith, Hargett, Petho, & Anderson, a law firm in

Charlotte, North Carolina, associated him to try this case and that the firm

now claims that he failed to pay the firm its portion of fees and/or costs.

Respondent agrees to be bound by the decision of a panel of the Resolution of

Fee Disputes Board as to any fees and/or: costs due to the firm.







Daryal and Melissa, Phillips Matter



In 1977, a jury awarded the Phillips $2,293.00; however, an

outstanding medical bill to Carolina Chiropractic Center for $643.96 has yet

to be paid. In addition, respondent acknowledges that Price, Smith, Hargett,

Petho, & Anderson, a law firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, associated him

to try this case and that the firm now claims that he failed to pay the firm its

portion of fees and/or costs. Respondent: agrees to be bound by the decision

of a panel of the Resolution of Fee Disputes Board as to any fees and/or costs

due to the firm.





James Caldwell Matter



This matter was settled on October 7, 1998 for $4500.00. The

bills of the following medical providers have yet to be paid: $920.00 to Keith

Clinic of Chiropractic, $472.00 to Piedmont Medical Center; $128.00 to

Sterling Emergency Physicians, and $86.00 to Rock Hill Radiology



p.6


In the Matter of William H. Godbold, III







Associates.





Dedrea Cook Matter



This matter was settled for $ 2,250.00 on May 5, 1998; however,

the $831.00 bill owed to Maxwell Chiropractic has not been paid.





David Caldwell Matter



This matter was settled on November 10, 1998 for $522.00, the

amount of Caldwell's doctor's bill. This money was to be paid directly to the

doctor; however, the doctor has not been paid. In addition, respondent

acknowledges that Price, Smith, Hargett, Petho, & Anderson, a law firm in

Charlotte, North Carolina, associated him to try this case and that the firm

now claims that he failed to pay the firm, its portion of fees and/or costs.

Respondent agrees to be bound by the decision of a panel of the Resolution of

Fee Disputes Board as to any fees and/or costs due to the firm.





Brook Moody Matter



This matter was settled for $10,000.00 in January 1998. The

bills of the following medical providers have not been paid: $2,045.00 to

Willis ChiroMed, $310.00 to Dr. Homer F. Gamble, $172.00 to Pee Dee

Emergency Physicians, $466.00 to Darlington Rehabilitation, $134.00 to

Florence County Emergency Medical Services, $97.00 to McLeod Regional

Medical Center, and $50.00 to Pee Dee Ear, Nose, Throat, and Facial Plastic

Surgery.





Margaret Drakeford Matter



This matter was settled for $2,500.00 in November 1998;

however, the $1,000.00 bill owed to A & W Chiropractic has not been paid.

In addition, respondent acknowledges that Price, Smith, Hargett, Petho, &

Anderson, a law firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, associated him to try this

case. and that the firm now claims that he failed to pay the firm its portion of

fees and/or costs. Respondent agrees to be bound by the decision of a panel

of the Resolution of Fee Disputes Board as to any fees and/or costs due to the

firm.

p.7


In the Matter of William H. Godbold, III







Eugene Robertson Matter



This matter was settled for $15,629.00 in June 1997. The bills of

the following medical providers have yet to be paid: $506.20 to Springs

Memorial Hospital, $285.00 to Carolina Orthopedic Surgery, $13.60 to

Lancaster Radiological Associates, and $,150.00 to Piedmont Medical Center.





Theodore Gordon Matter



This workers compensation matter was settled for $6,224.40 in

September 1997. On February 27, 1998, respondent paid Gordon $2,000.00

and told Gordon he would take his 25% fee and costs as well as pay Gordon's

loan to Guardian Fidelity Mortgage from the remainder. Respondent's fee

was never approved by the Workers Compensation Commission, and

respondent failed to pay Guardian Fidelity Mortgage.





Jamie McCarter Matter



This matter settled on or about March 4 1997 for $4,000.00.

Respondent deposited these funds into his trust account; however, these

funds were misappropriated by respondent. On September 10, 1997, he

wrote a check to McCarter from his operating account for $3,000.00.





Tony Emerson, Sr., Matter



In this matter, respondent failed to respond to two inquiry letters

and the Notice of Full Investigation from the Commission on Lawyer

Conduct.2





Alice Byrd Matter



Byrd, on behalf of Ray Schwartz and Associates, a court

reporting firm from Charleston, complained that respondent failed to pay his

outstanding bill. Respondent acknowledges that he failed to pay $704.56 for

eight transcripts and related fees.




2As part of this agreement, the Commission on Lawyer Conduct has

agreed to dismiss the complaint in the Emerson matter.



p.8


In the Matter of William H. Godbold, III





Beckham Matters



Respondent was associated by Michael Bednarik, a North

Carolina attorney, to try the following ca: es: Deborah Beckham v. Hervey

Beckham and Scott Beckham as Guardian Ad Litem for Brandy Beckham v.

Hervey Beckham. The jury returned a verdict for respondent's clients of

$1,008.19 in the first case and $12,500.00 in the second case. Respondent

deposited the funds into his trust account and disbursed funds to his clients;

however, he failed to disburse to Bednarik his portion of the attorney fee.

The amount of Bednarik's fee has yet to be determined, and respondent

agrees to submit the matter of Bednarik'5 fee to a panel of the Resolution of

Fee Disputes Board.





Andreanne Love Matter



This matter settled on or about September 30, 1998 for

$1,037.20. Respondent had Love sign the check but misappropriated the

funds. Respondent admits that Love has never received her portion of the

settlement.





State and Federal Taxes



Respondent admits he has failed to file state and federal income

tax returns since 1991. In addition, respondent has failed to pay some state

and federal employment taxes.





Trust Account: Violations



Respondent admits that he failed to maintain receipt and

disbursement journals for his trust account, wrote trust account checks

without identifying the purpose of each check, and had negative balances in

his trust account four times in 1997. Respondent also acknowledges that he

deposited checks from his trust account into his office operating account and

into his personal accounts as well as write checks from his trust account to

his wife and brother-in-law for personal purposes.





Conclusion





By his conduct, respondent has violated several of the Rules of

Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR, including Rule 1.1 (competence);

p.9


In the Matter of William H. Godbold, III





Rule 1.2 (scope of representation); Rule 1.3 (diligence); Rule 1.4

(communication); Rule 1.5 (fees); Rule 1.15 (safekeeping property); and Rule

8.4 (misconduct).





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)(3) (failure to

respond to a lawful demand of disciplinary counsel); Rule 7(a)(5) (engaging in

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

of 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).







Finally, respondent violated Rule 417, SCACR, by failing to keep

receipt and disbursement journals for his trust account and writing checks

from his trust account without identifying the purpose of the checks.





Accordingly, we hereby disbar respondent, retroactive to the date

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, Rule 413, SCACR.





DISBARRED.



p.10