Bill Summary for H 869 (2021-2022)
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AN ACT TO CREATE A GRIEVANCE REVIEW PANEL OF THE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE OF THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE BAR AND TO PRESERVE THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF THE ETHICS PROCESS.Intro. by Stevens, Reives.
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Senate committee substitute replaces the content of the 2nd edition with the following.
Enacts new subsections to GS 84-28 relating to attorney discipline and disbarment. Creates a grievance review panel of the Grievance Committee of the State Bar, to be operated pursuant to rules and procedures adopted by the State Bar Council and approved by the Supreme Court. Provides for appointment of the panel for each review by the chair of the Grievance Committee, consisting of the chair, two vice-chairs, and two other members of the Grievance Committee, including one public member. Requires the panel to review a decision of the Grievance Committee that imposes public discipline upon a requesting respondent. Provides for rights of a respondent at the panel's review, including allowing the respondent to appear before and present oral argument to, and be represented by council at the panel, and excluding the right to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of evidence. Authorizes the panel to concur or remand the Committee's decision with recommendation for a different disposition. Authorizes the Grievance Committee to affirm its decision or impose a different disposition of the file. Deems all panel proceedings and materials confidential. Additionally, allows an attorney respondent in an action before the Disciplinary Hearing Commission who is found not to have committed any violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct to be awarded reasonable attorneys' fees incurred in that action before the State Bar, to be paid by the State Bar, not to exceed the disciplinary costs and fees allowed to be assessed against respondents under GS 84-28.1 and GS 84-34.2(5). Excludes settlement entered into between the State Bar and the attorney to conclude an action.
Makes conforming changes to GS 84-32.1, deeming documentary materials of the grievance review panel not public record. Adds a new subsection deeming all documentary material, regardless of form, in possession of the State Bar, its agents, or Ethics Committee advisory members, concerning requests for ethics advice not public record unless the material appears in a public agenda of the Ethics Committee with the consent of the inquiring party.
Directs the State Bar to adopt temporary implementing rules.
Changes the act's titles.