On Wednesday, August 24, 2022, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge for the Arizona Supreme Court ruled on charges for attorney discipline against Glendale attorney Chris J. Piekarski for failing to file a timely answer to a complaint.

The case, titled State Bar of Arizona v. Piekarski, was brought by the State Bar of Arizona, with case number #PDJ 2022-9016. 

The charges cited rules of professional conduct, including Rule 41(b)(7), 1.15, 8.4(b), 8.4(c), 8.4(d), and Rule 54(d).

In December 2019, Irvin Dominguez hired Piekarski to represent him in a personal injury case. Mr. Dominguez claimed that Piekarski failed to communicate with him while the lawsuit was pending. Out of frustration, Mr. Dominguez sought help from a new lawyer, who found out that Piekarski had already settled Mr. Dominguez’s case and cashed the settlement check without telling Mr. Dominguez. After discovering that Piekarski forged his signature, Mr. Dominguez filed the subject bar charge against Piekarski.

The bar counsel, in two letters dated October 6, 2021, and November 5, 2021, asked Piekarski to provide a response to Mr. Dominguez’s bar charge, but Piekarski failed to respond.

On January 18, 2022, the bar left a voicemail for Piekarski, requesting a return phone call regarding his failure to respond. Piekarski called back and stated that he did not respond because he had called Mr. Dominguez and resolved the matter directly with him. On the same day, Piekarski sent a letter that, according to the bar, failed to address any of the substantive allegations raised in Mr. Dominguez’s bar charge.

The hearing panel issued its decision and order imposing sanctions on August 10, 2022.

According to the filing:

“Respondent’s violations implicate ABA Standard §4.1 – Failure to Preserve the Client’s Property. Standard §4.11 states that disbarment “is generally appropriate when a lawyer knowingly converts client property and causes injury or potential injury to a client.”

Presiding Disciplinary Judge Margaret H. Downie agreed with the hearing panel and disbarred Piekarski, effective August 10, 2022. Piekarski’s name is also stricken from the roll of lawyers in Arizona.

The order reads:

“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Respondent immediately comply with the requirements relating to notification of clients and others and provide and/or file all notices and affidavits required by Rule 72, Ariz. R. Sup. Ct.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED Respondent shall pay costs incurred by the State Bar of Arizona in the sum of $2,000.00. There are no costs or expenses incurred by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge’s Office in these proceedings.”

As of today, Mr. Piekarski is listed on the website of the law firm Piekarski & Brelsford PC as a practicing attorney. He attended California Western School of Law, graduating in 1998. Piekarski practices in Glendale, Arizona. He has been licensed in Arizona. 

A copy of the original filing can be found here.