FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 26, 2013
Contact: Alberto Rodriguez
Attorney Douglas E. Thomas of Phoenix Disbarred for Unprofessional Conduct
PHOENIX – Nov. 26, 2013 – The Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Arizona Supreme Court issued an order disbarring attorney Douglas E. Thomas of Phoenix.
The three-member hearing panel led by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge (PDJ) of the Arizona Supreme Court ordered that Douglas E. Thomas be disbarred from the practice of law, effective Nov. 13, 2013.
Thomas' disbarment stems from his unprofessional conduct while litigating a commercial case.
The State Bar's investigation found that Thomas accused opposing counsel of committing fraud and accused other participants in the case—including a mediator and the trial judge—of complicity in the alleged misconduct.
During his clients' representation, Thomas filed a motion to continue the trial, but it was denied. Expecting a favorable ruling on his motion, Thomas failed to prepare for trial, which led to him being dismissed by one of his clients who proceeded in pro per. Thomas' failure to prepare resulted in his losing the trial, exposing his clients to large judgments, and his subsequent withdrawal as counsel.
Thomas then filed multiple post-trial motions without authority and in violation of the trial court's order to obtain permission before filing any future motions. It was found that his many motions were frivolous, lacked any basis in fact or law, and were contrary to the interests of his former clients.
During his discipline hearing, Thomas admitted that he deliberately violated the court's orders, and that if the same circumstances were to arise, he would violate them again. On the grounds of fairness, he irrationally argued that he be awarded 15 million dollars—the sum he claimed he would have received if not for opposing counsel and the court's fraud.
The Hearing Panel determined that Douglas E. Thomas violated rules relating to competence, contingent fees, conflict of interest, assertion of nonmeritorious claims, knowing violation of court orders, respect for rights of others, and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Thomas filed a Notice of Appeal, but a subsequent filing dated November 12, 2013 stated that he abandoned his appeal.
Consumers may report attorney misconduct by calling the State Bar of Arizona Attorney/Consumer Assistance Program (A/CAP) hotline at 602.340.7280.
About the State Bar
The State Bar of Arizona is a non-profit organization that operates under the supervision of the Arizona Supreme Court. The Bar includes approximately 17,500 active attorneys and provides education and development programs for the legal profession and the public. Since 1933 the Bar and its members have been committed to serving the public by making sure the voices of all people in Arizona are heard in our justice system.
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