IN RESPONSE TO DISCIPLINARY COMPLAINT
Attorney David G. Banes has denied allegations in a disciplinary complaint that he revealed information learned during talks with a prospective client.
In his response to the complaint, Banes, through counsel Robert O’Connor, asked the Superior Court to dismiss the disciplinary complaint against him and rule that that he did not violate any ethical rule.
As this developed, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho cancelled Tuesday the status conference scheduled yesterday, Wednesday, and re-set it to Aug. 28, 2015 at 9am.
Camacho said lawyers for the parties should be prepared to set a disciplinary hearing date at the status conference.
The judge will allow disciplinary counsel Mitchell T. Thompson to appear by telephone.
“All parties are ordered to appear,” said Camacho in a one-page order.
Saipan Tribune learned that the judge reset the status conference as Banes’ counsel, O’ Connor, is off-island.
Thompson filed the disciplinary complaint against Banes for allegedly violating a provision of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct when he allegedly revealed information learned in discussions with a prospective client.
Thompson, who chairs the Guam Bar Association Ethics Committee, said Amjad Farhoud filed the complaint with the Disciplinary Committee of the CNMI Bar Association in August 2011.
Thompson said the Disciplinary Committee determined that Banes violated Rule 1.18 of the Model Rules, and referred the matter to the Superior Court for disciplinary proceedings.
The court then appointed Thompson to prosecute the matter. In Banes’ response to the complaint, O’Connor said Banes denies that Amjad Farhoud ever had an appointment with him but did show up at the office to meet with attorney Michael Dotts.
O’Connor said Dotts introduced Farhoud to Banes.
O’Connor said that at that meeting, Banes disclosed he represented former judge Juan T. Lizama in a matter against Freedom Air and asked if Farhoud was a witness to the incident.
O’Connor said once Farhoud told Banes he was, Banes disclosed he could not represent him due to a conflict of interest.
O’Connor said Banes then questioned Farhoud as a possible witness in Lizama’s lawsuit against his employer, Freedom Air.
O’Connor said he then referred Farhoud to other lawyers.
Banes, however, admits that during the deposition he asked Farhoud if his testimony was inconsistent with disclosures he had told Banes as a witness in the pending action.
In response, Farhoud repeatedly demanded that Banes disclose those inconsistencies, O’Connor said.
O’Connor said Banes denies he revealed any confidences or violated Rule 1.18(b) of the Model Rules.
The lawyer demanded a jury trial.