NO. D AGREED JUDGMENT OF FULLY PROBATED SUSPENSION

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1 NO. D COMMISSION FOR LAWYER EVIDENTIARY PANEL DISCIPLINE v. OF DISTRICT 06A PAUL A. ESQUIVEL GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE AGREED JUDGMENT OF FULLY PROBATED SUSPENSION A complaint was docketed by the Grievance Committee for State Bar District No. 06A, State Bar of Texas, against PAUL A. ESQUIVEL, State Bar Number (hereinafter referred to as "Respondent"), a licensed attorney and member of the State Bar of Texas, residing in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, by HAMID BERNOUSSl, as Complainant, alleging certain acts of professional misconduct on the part of the Respondent which occurred in Dallas County, Texas. JURISDICTION AND VENUE The Evidentiary Panel finds that Respondent is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas and further finds that Respondent timely filed an election to have the complaint heard by an evidentiary panel. Therefore, the Evidentiary Panel finds it has jurisdiction over the parties and subject matters of this action, and that venue is proper before the Evidentiary Panel of the District 06A Grievance Committee, Dallas County, Texas. PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT The Respondent and the Commission for Lawyer Disciplinehave reached an agreement in these matters and the Evidentiary Panel, having considered the agreementsand stipulations of the parties, enters the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law: Agreed Judgment of Fully Probated Suspension - Esquivel Page 1 of 7

2 FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW On or about February 10, 2003, Complainant Hamid Bernoussi (hereinafter referred to as "Complainant") was detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") for various visa violations. Complainant employed Respondent to represent him regarding this matter. Complainant completed a power of attorney naming Respondent s non-attorney employee, Gabriel Rodriguez (hereinafter referred to as "Rodriguez"), as Complainant s attorney in fact with the understanding that Respondent would safeguard Complainant s property and return it to him following his deportation to Morocco. Only a portion of Complainant s property was retumed to him. On April 28, 2003, Rodriguez closed out Complainant s bank account and had the entire amount, $9,876.56, put into a check made payable to "The Law Offices of Paul A. Esquivel." Respondent admitted endorsing the check, but could not explain what became of the funds and was unable to account for the actions of his employee, Rodriguez. On March 11, 2004, Respondent knowingly made a false statement of material fact when he testified to the grievance committee that he did not know Rodriguez. He eventually admitted that Rodriguez was, in fact, his brother-in-law. The power of attorney that was signed by Complainant was not notarized. When Rodriguez closed out Complainant s bank account, he presented the bank with a power of attorney that was fraudulently notarized by Tania Suarez (hereinafter referred to as "Suarez"), a non-attorney employee. Respondent admitted that Suarez would only have done this at his direction. The foregoing facts support a violation of Rules 1.14(a), 1.14(b), 3.03(a)(1), 3.03(a)(2), 3.03(a)(5), 5.03(a), 5.03(b)(1), 8.01(a), 8.01(b), 8.04(a)(1), 8.04(a)(2) and 8.04(a)(3) of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Agreed Judgment of Fully Probated Suspension - Esquivei Page 2 of 7

3 FULLY PROBATED SUSPENSION The Commission for Lawyer Discipline, the Evidentiary Panel, and the Respondent lawyer have agreed that the above Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law support a Judgment of Fully Probated Suspension herein agreed to, and by reason of said findings and conclusions, the Committee finds that Respondent has committed acts of professional misconduct and should be suspended for a period of four (4) years with such suspension being probated for four (4) years. IT IS THEREFORE AGREED and ORDERED that Respondent be and is hereby suspended from the practice of law for a period of four (4) years with the imposition of such suspension being suspended and Respondent being placed on probation for a period of four (4) years beginning April 1, 2005, and ending March 31, 2009, under the following terms and conditions: Respondent shall not violate any of the provisions of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct nor any provision of the State Bar Rules. 2. Respondent shall not violate the laws of the United States or any other state other than minor traffic violations. 3. Respondent shall maintain a current status regarding occupation tax and membership fees in accordance with Article III of the State Bar Rules. 4. Respondent shall comply with Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements in accordance with Article III of the State Bar Rules. 5. Respondent shall comply with Interest on Lawyers Trust Account requirements in accordance with Article XI of the State Bar Rules. Respondent shall keep the State Bar membership department notified of his current business and home addresses, and telephone numbers, and shall immediately notify the State Bar membership department and the State Bar of Texas, One Lincoln Centre, 5400 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1280, Dallas, Texas 75240, of any change in his addresses or phone numbers within ten (10) days of the change of address. Respondent shall timely comply with all requests for information forwarded to him by any grievance committee of the State Bar of Texas. Agreed Judgment of Fully Probated Suspension - Esquivei Page 3 of 7

4 Respondent shall cooperate fully with the Chief Disciplinary Counsel s Office of the State Bar of Texas in theirefforts to monitor compliance with this judgment. 9. Respondent shall not violate any term of this Judgment. 10. Respondent shall submit proof that payment of restitution to Complainant Hamid Bernoussi in the amount of $9, has been made. Such proof shall be sent to the State Bar of Texas, One Lincoln Centre, 5400 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1280, Dallas, Texas 75240, no later than May 1, Respondent shall pay attorneys fees in the amount of Two Thousand Five Hundred and no/100 Dollars ($2,500.00). Said attomeys fees shall be paid by cashier s check or money order, made payable to the State Bar of Texas, and delivered to the State Bar of Texas, One Lincoln Centre, 5400 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1280, Dallas, Texas Attorneys fees are to be submitted contemporaneously with the signing of this judgment. 10. Respondent shall attend The Ethics Course on or before June 1, Proof of attendance shall be submitted to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel s Office of the State Bar of Texas, at One Lincoln Centre, 5400 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1280, Dallas, Texas 75240, no later than July 1, PROBATION REVOCATION IT IS FURTHER AGREED and ORDERED that upon determination by the Board of Disciplinary Appeals that Respondent has violated any of the terms or conditions of this probation, the Board shall enter an order revoking the probation and imposing the active suspension of the Respondent from the practice of law for a period of four (4) years, commencing on or after the date of revocation, with no credit given for any period of probation successfully served, upon the following conditions: Any grievance committee of the State Bar of Texas or the Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas may apply for revocation to the Board of Disciplinary Appeals, by filing a written motion to revoke probation; A copy of the Motion to Revoke Probation and Notice of Hearing on such Motion shall be delivered to Respondent pursuant to Rule 2.20, Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, at Respondent s last known address on the membership rolls for the Supreme Court of Texas; and A~reed Judgment of Fully Probated Suspension - Esquivel Page 4 of 7

5 3. The Board shall hear the Motion to Revoke Probation within thirty (30) days of service upon Respondent, and shall determine whether Respondent has violated any of the terms or conditions of probation by a preponderance of the evidence. IT IS FURTHER AGREED and ORDERED that during any term of active suspension that may be imposed upon Respondent by the Board of Disciplinary Appeals by reason of Respondent s failure to adhere to the terms of this Judgment, Respondent shall be prohibited from practicing law in Texas, holding himself out as an attorney at law, performing any legal services for others, accepting any fee directly or indirectly for legal services, appearing as counsel or in any representative capacity in any proceeding in any Texas court or before any administrative body, or holding himself out to others or using his name, in any manner, in conjunction with the words "attomey at law," "attorney," "counselor at law," or "lawyer." All attorneys fees and restitution amounts ordered herein are due to the misconduct of the Respondent and are assessed as a part of the sanction in accordance with Rule 1.06(T) of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure and are intended by the parties to be non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Any amount not paid shall bear interest in the amount of five percent (5%) per annum until paid and the State Bar of Texas shall have all writs and other post-judgment remedies against Respondent in order to collect all unpaid amounts. In the event that the State Bar of Texas Client Security Fund shall have made anypayment to any Complainant named herein, Respondent shall make the restitution ordered in this Judgment by delivering to the State Bar of Texas, attention Donna Cole Tipotsch, One Lincoln Centre, 5400 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1280, Dallas, Texas 75240, a cashier s check or money order made payable to the State Bar of Texas in an amount equivalent to the amount paid by the State Bar of Texas Client Security Fund. At the same time Respondent repays the State Bar of Texas Client Security Fund, he At~reed Judgment of Fully Probated Suspension - Esquivel Page 5 of 7

6 shall submit a cashier s check or money order for the remaining restitution owed, made payable to any Complainant paid by the State Bar of Texas Client Security Fund. SIGNED this ~-~g day of ~-~,2005. EVIDENTIARY PANEL DISTRICT NO. 06A STATE BAR OF TEXAS BY:~da Evide~anel Chair Agreed Judgment of Fully Probated Suspension - Esquivel Page 6 of 7

7 AS TO BOTH FORM AND SUBSTANCE: Dis iplinsry Counsel for Cl f Disoipliuary Counsel Attorney fi r Commission for Lawyer Discipline Stxte No, Respon~em Bar No STATE OF TEXAS B~I~ORE ME, the undemigned, a Notary PubR~ in a~d for said Cotmty and Smm, on this day personally appeared Paul A. Esquivel, known to me ro be the pers~ whose name is subscribed to ~he foregoing instrument, a~d being by me fi~st duly sworn, a~imowledged t~ me that the same was executed for ~e purpose~ and cons~derat/o~s therein expressed,,200s, A~reed Jndmn~at ej lt~liv Probsbt8 Sus_n.,,-_ i~_~. Page 7 of /

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