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08/30/2012

Casper Attorney Suspended From Practice of Law

CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Supreme Court today issued an order suspending Casper lawyer, Gibson Sean Benham, from the practice of law for five years beginning September 1, 2012.

Benham prepared and filed a complaint on behalf of a client but failed to pursue the matter with reasonable diligence. Benham prepared and gave his client a copy of a surreptitious answer to the complaint, purportedly prepared by a Cheyenne law firm on behalf of the defendant. Benham also misled his client about progress on the case. The client eventually terminated Benham's representation, retrieved the file from Benham and took it to a new lawyer. The surreptitious answer was discovered in the file by the client's new counsel, who brought it to the attention of the law firm in whose name the surreptitious answer had been prepared. The law firm contacted Bar Counsel, who commenced an investigation.

Following Bar Counsel's investigation and commencement of disciplinary proceedings, Benham agreed that his conduct violated Rule 1.1 (competence), Rule 1.3 (diligence), Rule 1.4 (communication with client), Rule 3.2 (lawyer's duty to expedite litigation), Rule 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation) and Rule 8.4(a) (violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct). Benham also agreed that he had violated Section 2(c) of the Disciplinary Code (failure to timely respond to a request from Bar Counsel). Benham stipulated to a five-year suspension of his right to practice law and agreed to pay an administrative fee of $500 and costs of $50 to the Wyoming State Bar.

The Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) issued a report and recommendation for the stipulated discipline to the Wyoming Supreme Court. The Court adopted the BPR's report and recommendation, ordering Benham's suspension and requiring him to pay the administrative fee and costs on or before September 15, 2012.

     

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