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Law School Case Brief

In re Hammer - 395 S.C. 385, 718 S.E.2d 442 (2011)

Rule:

Pursuant to S.C. App. Ct. R. 413:7(a)(1), it shall be grounds for discipline for lawyer to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Facts:

After the respondent attorney, Howard Hammer, and his wife were involved in a contentious divorce, charges were filed against the Hammer for trespassing, second-degree burglary, stalking, and simple assault. After the charges were dismissed, Hammer filed a pro se action against the city and its police department for false arrest. During that action, Hammer called certain witnesses without explaining why their testimony was pertinent to the suit. In addition, he admitted that he asked a number of improper questions. The attorney thereafter dismissed the action against the city. Hammer further admitted that his misconduct constituted grounds for discipline under Rule 413, RLDE. He also admitted that he violated the provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The attorney and the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel entered into an agreement for discipline by consent pursuant to S.C. App. Ct. R. 413:21.

Issue:

Did an attorney violate any rules of professional conduct which may constitute grounds for his discipline by the Supreme Court of Sourth Carolina?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court of South Carolina found that Hammer's constituted grounds for discipline under S.C. App. Ct. R. 413:7(a)(1), (a)(5), (a)(6), S.C. App. Ct. R. 407:4.4(a), 407:8.4(a), and (e). As such, the Court accepted the Rule 413:21 agreement, and the attorney was suspended from the practice of law for six months. He was further directed to continue psychological counseling for two (2) years.

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