The State Bar of Arizona initiated the investigation of three attorneys who have ultimately been suspended temporarily for violating the rules of professional conduct.
Attorney Edward D. Fitzhugh of Tempe has been suspended for six months.
According to the State Bar of Arizona, an investigation found that Fitzhugh charged unreasonable fees, revealed confidential information without the client's informed consent, used information relating to the representation of his clients, to their disadvantage, without their informed consent, and failed to take steps to protect the client's interest upon withdrawal.
Fitzhugh also made false statements, misrepresentations or omissions during the proceedings, and engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Attorney Gil Shaw of Prescott has been suspended for six months and one day.
Shaw, according to the the State Bar of Arizona, failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness while representing his client, which resulted in the dismissal of an appeal; failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of the matter or promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; failed to communicate to his client, in writing, the scope of representation or the fees and expenses to be paid by the client and failed to provide his client with a copy of his file upon termination of the representation.
Additionally, Shaw accepted a retainer from a client, gave him legal advice, prepared a notice of appeal, and caused it to be filed with a justice court while serving a previous suspension.
Attorney Thomas A. Walcott of Gilbert received a 30-day suspension.
Walcott, according to the State Bar of Arizona, had a potential conflict of interest while representing two clients in a lawsuit to recover attorney fees.
The investigation alleged that he failed to obtain informed consent, in writing, to represent both clients at the same time; failed to disclose valuable evidentiary information to the opposing party and their counsel; and permitted one client, who is an attorney, to be unnecessarily involved in the legal services he provided the other client, a non-attorney. It also alleged that he engaged in unprofessional conduct, which resulted from statements, misrepresentations, and omissions throughout the representation. This led to opposing parties needing to file additional pleadings, requiring the court to conduct additional hearings, and may have required the court to reassign the matter to a different judge.
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