RECENT TEXAS SUPREME COURT CASES INVOLVING ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE
In the Matter of Allison, No. 08-0705 (Tex. Jun. 26, 2009)(Jefferson)
(attorney disciplinary appeal, dispute about minimum level of public's representation on panel, rounding up or
IN THE MATTER OF BOMA O. ALLISON
The Court affirms the Board of Disciplinary Appeals' judgment.
Chief Justice Jefferson delivered the opinion of the Court. [pdf]
View Electronic Briefs in ALLISON v. COMMISSION FOR LAWYER DISCIPLINE (Tex. 2009)
In re Caballero, No. 07-0484 (Tex. Dec. 19, 2008)(Green)(attorney discipline, BODA discretion, disbarment or
suspension when attorney on probation for criminal conduct)
IN THE MATTER OF ROLANDO CABALLERO
The Court affirms the judgment of disbarment.
Justice Green delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Jefferson, Justice Hecht, Justice O'Neill,
Justice Wainwright, Justice Brister, and Justice Johnson joined.
Justice Willett delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Medina joined.
THE DECISIONS OF THE BOARD OF DISCIPLINARY APPEALS IN THE FOLLOWING APPEALS WERE
AFFIRMED JUNE 26, 2009:
GENE R. ROSAS v. COMMISSION FOR LAWYER DISCIPLINE FOR THE STATE OF TEXAS
motion to strike exhibits dismissed as moot
BETTY STOVALL CLARK v. COMMISSION FOR LAWYER DISCIPLINE
JOHN R. PERRY v. COMMISSION FOR LAWYER DISCIPLINE
REVIEW DENIED BY THE TEXAS SUPREME COURT
WILLIAM D. BEARD v. COMMISSION FOR LAWYER DISCIPLINE; from Dallas County; 5th district (05-07-00428-
CV, ___ SW3d ___, 03-17-09, pet denied Oct 2009)(disbarment affirmed, failure to account for settlement
proceeds, failure to keep client informed of case status, affirmative defense of limitations waived by failure to
plead it, trial amendment denied as prejudicial)
JOSEPH ONWUTEAKA v. COMMISSION FOR LAWYER DISCIPLINE; from Harris County;
14th district (14-07-00544-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 03-12-09, pet. denied July 2009) as redrafted (attorney
ALLEN LANDERMAN v. STATE BAR OF TEXAS; from Collin County; 5th district (05-07-00332-CV, 247 SW3d
426, 03‑05‑08, pet denied Oct 2008) as redrafted
(attorney discipline, disciplinary proceeding, motion for new trial, preservation of error for appellate review)
Appellant had the burden to prove his license to practice law should be reinstated. Because he is challenging
the legal sufficiency of the evidence to support an adverse finding on which he had the burden of proof, he must
show the evidence establishes, as a matter of law, all vital facts in support of the issue. Dow Chem. Co. v.
Francis, 46 S.W.3d 237, 241 (Tex. 2001) (per curiam); Buckeye Ret. Co. v. Bank of Am., N.A., 239 S.W.3d 394,
399 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2007, no pet.). In reviewing a legal sufficiency challenge, we must first examine the record
for evidence supporting the finding, then examine the entire record to determine if the contrary proposition is
established as a matter of law. Francis, 46 S.W.3d at 241; Buckeye Ret., 239 S.W.3d at 399. We will sustain the
challenge only if the contrary proposition is conclusively established. Francis, 46 S.W.3d at 241; Buckeye Ret.,
239 S.W.3d at 399.
When a party attacks the factual sufficiency of the evidence to support an adverse finding on which he had the
burden of proof, he must demonstrate the adverse finding is against the great weight and preponderance of the
evidence. Francis, 46 S.W.3d at 241; Buckeye Ret., 239 S.W.3d at 399. We must consider and weigh all the
evidence and can set aside the judgment only if the evidence is so weak or if the finding is so against the great
weight and preponderance of the evidence that it is clearly wrong and unjust. Francis, 46 S.W.3d at 241;
Buckeye Ret., 239 S.W.3d at 399.
Part XI of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure governs the reinstatement to the practice of law of an
attorney who has been disbarred or resigned in lieu of disciplinary action. Tex. R. Disciplinary P. 11.01-.08,
reprinted in Tex. Gov't Code Ann., tit. 2, subtit. G app. A-1 (Vernon 2005). Before the trial court may grant
reinstatement, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the material allegations in the
petition are true and his reinstatement would serve the best interests of the public and profession, as well as the
interest of justice. Tex. R. Disciplinary P. 11.03. In determining whether a petitioner should be reinstated to the
practice of law, the trial court may consider, among any other relevant factors, the nature and degree of
misconduct for which the petitioner was disbarred or resigned and the circumstances attending the offense; the
petitioner's understanding of the serious nature of the acts for which he was disbarred or resigned; the
petitioner's conduct during the disciplinary proceeding; the profit to the petitioner and the hardship to others; the
petitioner's attitude toward the administration of justice and the practice of law; the petitioner's good works and
other accomplishments; and any other evidence relevant to the issues of the petitioner's fitness to practice law
and the likelihood the petitioner will not engage in future misconduct. Tex. R. Disciplinary P. 11.05. The two core
issues are whether “'the petitioner is of good moral character, is fit to practice law, and has led an exemplary life
for the preceding five years” and whether “reinstatement will serve the public's and profession's best interests
as well as the ends of justice.” Bd. of Law Examiners v. Gabriel, 953 S.W.2d 227, 228 (Tex. 1997) (orig.
proceeding); see Steinberg v. Comm'n for Lawyer Discipline, 180 S.W.3d 352, 356 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2005, no
Appellant testified he believed it was in the interest of the public and the profession and the ends of justice for
him to be reinstated. Appellant's character witnesses testified they were not aware of anything that would make it
contrary to the interest of the public or the profession or the ends of justice for appellant to be reinstated.
However, appellant also testified as to his conduct that led to his criminal conviction and his resignation of his
license to practice law. Although appellant testified he was not “completely aware” the transactions he was
participating in were fraudulent, he also testified he was aware his client's conduct might violate the criminal laws
for seventeen months prior to terminating the relationship. He was also aware for approximately a year before
terminating the relationship that the client had not changed his conduct even though appellant had advised the
client to do so. Appellant chose to continue the relationship, even with knowledge of his client's conduct,
because appellant wanted to grow a substantial oil and gas practice. The trial court could properly consider
appellant's choice in continuing the relationship with the client after he learned his client was engaged in illegal
conduct, appellant's engaging in illegal activity during the representation, and appellant's motive for continuing
the relationship in determining it would not serve the interest of the public or the profession for appellant to be
The trial court also heard evidence regarding appellant's disciplinary history, including a private reprimand, a
public reprimand, and an active suspension from the practice of law due to appellant's neglect of four different
clients' matters. Although appellant argues this history is remote, the suspension occurred within two years of
appellant's conviction in 1993. Appellant has not practiced law since being released from prison. The trial court
could properly consider these three separate disciplinary actions by the Bar in determining it was not in the
interest of the public for appellant to be reinstated.
After reviewing the record, we conclude the evidence is legally and factually sufficient to support the judgment.
We also conclude the trial court properly drew correct legal conclusions based on the facts before it. Therefore,
we overrule appellant's second and third issues.