(a) Filing. The OPC orany person may initiate a disciplinary proceeding against any Lawyer by filinga written Complaint in concise language setting forth the acts or omissionsclaimed to constitute unprofessional conduct.
(1) If anindividual initiates the Complaint, filing is complete when the Complaint isdelivered to the OPC office in hard copy or electronic form, or through theOPC?s website at opcutah.org.
(2) Ifthe OPC initiates the Complaint, filing is complete when the OPC delivers theComplaint to the Lawyer in hard copy or electronic form.
(b) Complaint form. TheComplaint need not be in any particular form or style and may be by letter orother informal writing, although the OPC may provide a form to standardize theformat. The Complaint need not recite disciplinary rules, ethical canons, or aprayer requesting specific disciplinary action. The Complainant must sign theComplaint and include the Complainant?s address and may list the names andaddresses of other witnesses. The Complaint must contain an unsworn declarationas to the accuracy of the information in the Complaint. Complaints filed by theOPC are not required to contain such a declaration. A Complaint?ssubstance prevails over the form.
(c) Initial investigation.Upon receiving a Complaint, the OPC will conduct a preliminary investigation toascertain whether the Complaint?s allegations are sufficiently clear. If theallegations are not sufficiently clear, the OPC will seek additional facts fromthe Complainant, who must, upon the OPC?s request, submit documents or writingscontaining any additional facts. Within three months after filing aComplaint, the OPC must advise the Complainant concerning the initialinvestigation of the Complaint.
(d) Referral toProfessionalism and Civility Counseling Board. The OPC may?in connectionwith any conduct that comes to its attention?refer any matter to theProfessionalism and Civility Counseling Board established under Rule 14-303. Such referral may be in addition to or in lieu of any furtherproceedings related to the subject matter of the referral. Such referral shouldbe in writing and?at the discretion of the OPC?may include any or allinformation included in the Complaint or additional facts submitted by theComplainant.
(e) Noticeto Respondent. Upon completing the preliminary investigation, the OPC willdetermine whether the Complaint can be resolved in the public interest, theRespondent?s interest, and the Complainant?s interest. If the Complaint cannotbe resolved or if it alleges facts that, by their very nature, should bebrought before the screening panel, or if good cause otherwise exists to bringthe matter before the screening panel, the OPC must:
(1) serve the Respondent with a Notice identifying withparticularity the possible violation(s) of the Rules of Professional Conduct orLicensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct raised by theComplaint as the OPC has preliminarily determined;
(2) attach a copy of the signed Complaint; and
(3) mail the documents to the Respondent?s address as reflectedin the Bar?s records.
(f) Answer to Complaint.Within 21 days after the Respondent is served with the Complaint and Notice,the Respondent must file with the OPC a signed, written answer explaining thefacts surrounding the Complaint, together with all defenses and responses tothe claims of possible misconduct. For good cause, the OPC may extend the timefor filing an answer not to exceed an additional 28 days. When the answer isfiled or if the Respondent fails to respond, the OPC will refer the case to ascreening panel to make a determination or recommendation. The OPC must forwarda copy of the answer to the Complainant.
(g) Dismissing theComplaint.
(1) Reasons for dismissal. The OPC maydismiss a Complaint without referral to a screening panel hearing if the OPCdetermines the Complaint is:
(A) frivolous, unintelligible, unsupported by fact, or fails toraise probable cause of any unprofessional misconduct;
(B) barred by the statute of limitations;
(C) more adequately addressed in another forum; or
(D) onein which the OPC declines to prosecute.
(2) Notification and appeal.
(A) Whenthe OPC dismisses a Complaint, it must:
(i) notify the Complainant and the Respondent that the OPChas dismissed the Complaint;
(ii) state the reasons for dismissal; and
(iii) include a notice of the Complainant?s right to appeal an OPCdecision to the Committee chair.
(B) TheComplainant may appeal the dismissal by filing an appeal with the Committeeclerk and serving a copy of the appeal on the OPC within 21 days after thedismissal notification is mailed.
(C) Onappeal, the Committee chair or a vice chair will conduct a de novo review ofthe file, either affirm the dismissal or require the OPC to prepare a Notice(if necessary), and set the matter for hearing by a screening panel. If thechair recuses, the chair will appoint the vice chair or one of the screeningpanel chairs to review and determine the appeal.
Effective December 15,2020