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Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Petitioner v. Steven B. Songstad

April 17, 2013

OFFICE OF DISCIPLINARY COUNSEL, PETITIONER,
v.
STEVEN B. SONGSTAD, RESPONDENT.



ORIGINAL PROCEEDING (ODC 06-088-8428, 08-008-8651, 08-030-8673, 09-043-8766, 09-044-8767, 09-045-8768, 09-079-8802, 09-083-8806, 09-101-8824, 10-004-8838, 10-005-8839, 10-035-8869, 10-037-8871, 11-028-8952)

Electronically Filed Supreme Court SCAD-13-0000057 17-APR-2013

08:18 AM

ORDER OF DISBARRMENT

(By: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, Acoba, McKenna, and Pollack, JJ.

Upon consideration of the Disciplinary Board's report and recommendation to disbar Respondent Steven B. Songstad and upon full consideration of all the evidence in the record, this court reaches the following findings and conclusions by clear and convincing evidence; specifically,

In ODC Case No. 06-088-8428, Songstad unreasonably delayed the filing of the client's complaint for twenty-two months, failed to consult the client concerning the substantive allegations in the case and the means by which to pursue them or to inform the client of Songstad's opinion the case had no merit, failed to communicate the procedural status of the litigation or to inform the client of Songstad's unavailability during the winter months, and failed to respond to lawful court notices or to perform required legal work, resulting in the Final Order of Dismissal of his client's complaint, in violation of Rules 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.4(b), 2.1, and 3.2 of the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct (HRPC). In addition, Songstad abandoned the representation, thereby failing to take reasonable steps to protect Graham's interests or to timely transfer Graham's files to identified successor counsel, in violation of HRPC Rule

1.16(d), and failed to respond to ODC's repeated inquiries into the matter, necessitating the issuance of a subpoena, the directives of which he subsequently failed to obey, in violation of HRPC Rules 8.1(b) and 8.4(d).

In ODC Case. No. 08-008-8651, Songstad's failure to perform any work on the client's matter after October, 2005, the subsequent abandonment of the client's representation, and Songstad's failure to transfer to the court clerk the videotapes related to the litigation violated HRPC Rules 1.1, 1.3, 3.2,

1.15(f)(4), and 1.16(d). Songstad's failure to respond to ODC's inquiries in the matter, necessitating the issuance of a subpoena, and his unavailability for service of process, violated HRPC Rules 8.1(b) and 8.4(d).

In ODC Case No. 08-030-8673, Songstad, by failing, despite more than seven extensions, to file an opening brief in consolidated appeal No. 26128 before the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) during a two-year period, or to respond to the ICA's November 30, 2006 court order to show cause for his inaction, violated HRPC Rules 1.1, 1.3, 3.2, and 3.4(e). His subsequent failure to respond to the ICA's November 16, 2007

order to show cause or the court's subsequent December 28, 2007 order imposing sanctions and directing him to file an affidavit of proof of payment, constitute additional, separate violations of HRPC Rule 3.4(e). His failure to respond to ODC's inquiries into the matter, requiring the issuance of a subpoena, and his subsequent failure to obey the directives therein, violated HRPC Rules 8.1(b) and 8.4(d).

In ODC Case No. 09-043-8766, by failing to file an opening brief in an appellate matter before the ICA over an eighth month period or to respond to the December 3, 2008 order by the ICA to show cause for his inaction, despite diligent attempts by the clerk's office to contact him, Songstad violated HRPC Rules 1.1, 1.3, 3.2, and 3.4(e). By failing to respond to ODC inquiries into the matter, necessitating the issuance of a subpoena, and his failure to demonstrate good cause for his subsequent failure to obey the subpoena and to present himself at ODC's offices at the appointed date and time, Songstad violated HRPC Rules 8.1(b) and 8.4(d).

In ODC Case No. 09-044-8767, by failing to pursue the client's litigation for more than eighteen months, or to communicate with the clients concerning the status of their claim or how best to pursue it, Songstad violated HRPC Rules 1.1, 1.2(a), 1.3, 1.4(a) and 1.4(b). By failing to respond to ODC's initial inquiries, necessitating the issuance of a subpoena, and by failing to obey the directives of the subpoena by failing to present himself at ODC's offices at the appointed date and time, Songtad violated HRPC Rules 8.1(b) and 8.4(d).

In ODC Case Nos. 09-045-8768 and 09-079-8802, by failing to timely file required documents in a consolidated appeal to the ICA in Case No. 29588 and by failing to respond to the ICA's June 25, 2009 lawful court order in the appeal regarding his inaction, Songstad violated HRPC Rules 1.1, 1.3, 3.2, and 3.4(e). By failing to respond to ODC's inquiries in the matter, necessitating the issuance of a subpoena, and by failing to appear ...


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