In re Sather
Colorado Supreme Court
3 P.3d 403 (2000)
Larry D. Sather (defendant) was an attorney who represented Franklin Perez in a civil case against the Colorado State Patrol. Sather entered into a fee arrangement contract with Perez through which Perez paid Sather an advance fee of $20,000. The agreement stated that the fee was nonrefundable regardless of how many hours Sather eventually spent on the matter. Sather failed to keep the $20,000 advance funds separate from his personal funds, and spent the money before he had earned the fees. Sather filed suit on Perez’s behalf, but the representation was terminated when Sather was suspended from the practice of law for 30 days as a result of another matter. Sather acknowledged that he had not earned approximately $13,000 of the advance fees and agreed to refund that amount, but took over five months to pay the money back to Perez. Perez filed a complaint about the fees Sather claimed he had earned and agreed to arbitration. The arbitrator awarded Perez the amount it had cost Perez to bring the arbitration action but did not award any recovery of the fees Sather had charged for the work he claimed to have performed. A hearing board found that Sather had violated the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct and recommended that he be suspended from practicing law for one year and one day. The matter came before the Colorado Supreme Court as an original proceeding.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bender, J.)
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