FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 20, 2019
Contact: Alberto Rodriguez
Phoenix Attorney Don W. Cartier Suspended for Six Months and One Day
Feb. 20, 2019 – PHOENIX – Attorney Don W. Cartier of Phoenix has been suspended for six months and one day after the Supreme Court of Arizona upheld an earlier sanction ordered by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge on May 25, 2018. The suspension stems from his misconduct in disclosing privileged information, mismanaging his trust account and misrepresenting his level of legal experience.
Cartier was hired by his client to represent him in a child custody matter. His paralegal conducted the initial client consultation without him being present. Nearly one month later on Jan. 16, 2017, his client terminated the representation. Cartier then sent the client an internal email containing confidential information related to an unrelated client representation.
On April 10, 2017, Cartier’s client trust account experienced an overdraft, prompting the Bar’s Trust Account Examiner to request a copy of the overdraft notice, an explanation of the overdraft, and accounting records spanning from December 2017 through April 2017. Cartier failed to comply by the submission deadline. The handwritten, Excel, and QuickBooks trust account ledgers that were later submitted were found to be inaccurate and incomplete and did not maintain minimum standards.
During the Bar’s investigation, the Trust Account Examiner learned of misleading information on Cartier’s websites. His assertions of significant legal experience were found to be inaccurate as the experience cited pertained to work he performed as a legal assistant prior to his admission to the practice of law in Arizona.
The Hearing Panel found that throughout the disciplinary hearing, Cartier was rarely credible, repeatedly evasive, ignored questions, and frequently attempted to interject testimony that was not responsive to questions.
Don W. Cartier’s six month and one day suspension will be effective 30 days from the date of the order issued on Feb. 6, 2019. He was also ordered to serve two years of probation upon reinstatement and must participate in the Bar’s Member Assistance Program and Law Office Management Assistance Program. He must also pay for the costs and expenses incurred by the State Bar of Arizona.
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 24,500 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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