In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against SCHAFER
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In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against SCHAFER Supreme Court of Washington, 149 Wash.2d 148, 66 P.3d 1036 (2003) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against SCHAFER Supreme Court of Washington, 149 Wash.2d 148, 66 P.3d 1036 (2003). Case Brief. In re SCHAFER.

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In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against SCHAFERSupreme Court of Washington, 149 Wash.2d 148, 66 P.3d 1036 (2003)

Case Brief

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.


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In re SCHAFER

  • PURPOSE: An attorney may be disciplined for revealing client confidential information even where the disclosure leads to removing a corrupt judge from the bench.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.


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In re SCHAFER

  • CAUSE OF ACTION: Disciplinary action against an attorney.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.


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In re SCHAFER

  • FACTS: Schafer represented Hamilton, who was buying property from attorney Anderson, about to become a judge. Hamilton disclosed in confidence that Anderson had improperly handled the property on behalf of a client. Later as a judge, Anderson ruled against Schafer in a case. Schafer gathered information about Anderson’s improper actions. When Hamilton discovered Schafer’s intent to disclose information that had been learned in confidence, Hamilton terminated the attorney/client relationship. Schafer disclosed the confidential information to authorities and newspapers. Hamilton filed a disciplinary action against Schafer. Anderson was removed from the bench as a result of the disclosures.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.


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In re SCHAFER

  • ISSUE: Did Schafer violate the Washington attorney ethics rules that prohibit an attorney from disclosing confidential client information?

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.


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In re SCHAFER

  • HOLDING: Yes.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.


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In re SCHAFER

  • REASONING: The court held Schafer be suspended for six months because he disclosed client confidential information. A harsher discipline was inappropriate because removal of a corrupt judge furthered the public’s confidence in the legal system. The court found that Schafer’s motivation was selfish at least in part. Schafer waited three years before disclosing the information regarding Anderson, he disclosed the information to various authorities and newspapers rather than restricting disclosure to the disciplinary tribunal, and he could have achieved Anderson’s removal from the bench by limiting disclosure to nonconfidential information.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.