On November 29, 2004, the Honorable Derek Pullan, Fourth Judicial District Court, entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Ruling and Order of Suspension: Three Years suspending Daniel D. Heaton for a period of three years, effective October 20, 2004, for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees) 1.5(b) (Fees), 1.15(b) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.4 (a) and (c) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Mr. Heaton was retained to represented a client in a bankruptcy matter. The client and the creditors attempted to contact Mr. Heaton for three months without success. Mr. Heaton filed the client’s bankruptcy six months later, and then failed to attend the creditor’s meeting. In another matter, Mr. Heaton was retained to handle an expungement of records. Four months had passed when the client called Mr. Heaton to check on the progress of the case. Two months later Mr. Heaton informed the client he had misplaced the file but would refund the client’s fees and assured the client he would attend to the matter promptly. Mr. Heaton refunded half of the fee to the client and kept half of the fee for the remaining paperwork. The client attempted to contact Mr. Heaton thereafter without success. In a third matter, Mr. Heaton was retained to represent a client in a bankruptcy matter. The client paid Mr. Heaton’s attorney’s fees but when the client attempted to contact Mr. Heaton, he had vanished. Mr. Heaton failed to timely respond to the OPC’s requests for information in all three matters. In a fourth matter, Mr. Heaton engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by assisting a client in a lawsuit while placed on administrative suspension for failure to pay his Bar dues to the Utah State Bar.
Mitigating factors include: no prior disciplinary record; substantial personal or emotional problems; willingness to make full restitution; affected by an impairment or disability for which Mr. Heaton sought and completed treatment.