Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Office of Professional Conduct v. Dahlquist

Supreme Court of Utah

April 30, 2019

Office of Professional Conduct, Appellant,
v.
Charles W. Dahlquist, II, Appellee.

          On Direct Appeal Third District, Salt Lake The Honorable Andrew H. Stone No. 160904532

          Billy L. Walker, Adam C. Bevis, Salt Lake City, for appellant

          Michael F. Skolnick, Salt Lake City, for appellee

          Justice Petersen authored the opinion of the Court in which Chief Justice Durrant, Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice Himonas, and Justice Pearce joined.

          OPINION

          Petersen Justice.

         INTRODUCTION

         ¶1 The Office of Professional Conduct (OPC) filed an attorney discipline case against Charles W. Dahlquist, II for repeatedly violating a judge's order in limine during a 2008 jury trial. No one present at the trial alerted the OPC to the conduct. Rather, the OPC learned of it from our opinion reversing the jury's verdict and granting a new trial based in part on Dahlquist's violations of the order. Wilson v. IHC Hosps., Inc., 2012 UT 43, ¶ 27, 289 P.3d 369 (stating that the "persistent and deliberate references to collateral source evidence in violation of the trial court's in limine order substantially prejudiced the jury").

         ¶2 The OPC immediately opened an investigation. But by this time, over three-and-a-half years had passed since the original trial. Nevertheless, the OPC proceeded with its investigation and communicated with the plaintiffs in the underlying case. The plaintiffs eventually filed an informal complaint with the Utah State Bar in 2015. After a hearing on the informal complaint before a screening panel of the Ethics and Discipline Committee, the OPC filed this case in the district court in 2016.

         ¶3 Dahlquist moved for summary judgment based on the statute of limitations, and the district court granted the motion. The OPC appeals, arguing that the district court misinterpreted what begins and ends the running of the limitations period.

         ¶4 Rule 14-529 of the Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice governs this issue. It establishes a four-year limitations period for attorney discipline cases that begins to run upon the "discovery" of the alleged attorney misconduct and stops when "[p]roceedings under this article"[1] commence. The issues before us are: (1) whose "discovery" triggers the running of the limitations period and (2) what constitutes "proceedings under this article."

         ¶5 We hold that discovery by a party with an interest in filing an informal complaint under rule 14-510, as is the case here, is sufficient to start the running of the statute of limitations. And we interpret "proceedings" to mean the filing of an informal complaint under that rule.

         ¶6 Accordingly, we conclude that the district court correctly dismissed the complaint against Dahlquist as untimely, and we affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶7 Dahlquist represented IHC Hospitals, Inc. in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against it by Jerome and Leilani Wilson. The jury trial took place from October 29 to November 21, 2008. Before trial, the Wilsons prevailed on a motion in limine to exclude evidence of collateral source benefits they had received. But during the trial, Dahlquist made repeated references to those benefits. Wilson v. IHC Hosps., Inc., 2012 UT 43, ¶ 12, 289 P.3d 369.

         ¶8 The Wilsons moved for a new trial based in part on Dahlquist's conduct, but the trial court denied their request. The jury returned a verdict in favor of IHC, and the case was dismissed on December 9, 2008.

         ¶9 The Wilsons appealed the dismissal, based in part on Dahlquist's violations of the in limine order. In an opinion published on July 20, 2012, we agreed that IHC had "persistently and deliberately violated the trial court's order," and we granted the Wilsons a new trial. Id. at ¶ 2.

         ¶10 On the day the opinion was published, the OPC was notified of this court's decision and opened an investigation into Dahlquist's conduct. Over the course of its investigation, the OPC corresponded with the Wilsons' counsel.

         ¶11 On March 2, 2015, the Wilsons sent a letter to the OPC seeking to file a bar complaint against Dahlquist. That same month, they verified the letter in accordance with rule 14-510(a)(2) of the Rules of Professional Practice. The OPC consolidated the Wilsons' informal complaint with its pending investigation.

         ¶12 A screening panel of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court held a hearing on the informal complaint. The panel recommended that the OPC file a formal ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.