RS attorney suspended
June 13, 2018
A Rock Springs attorney was suspended by the Wyoming Supreme Court for rule violations of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct.
According to a press release, Robert Hiatt Jr., was issued an order of 30-day suspension to begin July 2. According to the court, the order stems from Hiatt’s representation of a client in a child custody and visitation matter. The client paid a flat $3,000 fee, which was listed in Hiatt’s written fee agreement as nonrefundable. The court states Hiatt then neglected to pursue the issue diligently and failed to keep adequate communication with his client. The client eventually ended Hiatt’s representation, but after being discharged, Hiatt failed to return the unearned portion of the fee.
The court found evidence Hiatt had violated rules involving diligence, communication with his client, fees and termination of representation. Hiatt had previously been censured for similar misconduct in 2016. Censure is a verbal warning given to attorneys who violate their rules.
The court determined the harsher 30-day suspension was appropriate because the earlier sanction did not deter Hiatt from repeating the behavior. Along with the suspension, He was ordered to refund $1,150 in unearned fees to his former client, pay $750 in administrative fees and costs of $3,674.39 to the Wyoming State Bar.