On Thursday, December 21, 2023, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Supreme Court of Arizona suspended attorney Richard M. Martinez after agreeing to a 60-day suspension of his law license in a disciplinary matter brought by the State Bar of Arizona.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Richard M. Martinez,” with case no. PDJ 2023-9059.
The State Bar filed a formal complaint against Martinez in August 2023 stemming from three separate client matters handled by Martinez between 2016-2022. After mediation efforts, Martinez entered into an Agreement for Discipline by Consent with the State Bar on December 15, 2023.
The agreement conditions Martinez’s admission that he violated several of the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct in his representation of clients Jesse Meyer, Armando Pacho, and Akos Kovach. In Meyer’s case, which involved three separate federal lawsuits against different government entities, Martinez failed to properly communicate with Meyer, provide accountings of fees and case documents, and comply with court orders. This led the Presiding Disciplinary Judge to sanction Martinez and preclude Meyer from presenting damages evidence.
In the Pacho matter, Martinez represented his daughter Cathy Martinez in her divorce from Pacho. Judge Patricia Green assessed $30,000 in attorney’s fees against both Cathy and Richard Martinez, finding misconduct. That ruling is currently on appeal. As part of the disciplinary agreement, the State Bar dismissed this matter without prejudice pending resolution of the appeal.
Regarding client Akos Kovach, Martinez charged a $12,500 flat fee along with a one-third contingency to represent Kovach in an employment discrimination lawsuit but then failed to adequately communicate with Kovach about the case status for extended periods.
In addition to the 60-day suspension, Martinez agreed to pay full restitution to any clients who receive fee arbitration awards against him. He must also pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings. The suspension will take effect on February 1, 2024. Martinez has been licensed to practice in Arizona for over 40 years. The disciplinary outcome concludes this particular State Bar complaint but does not preclude further action if additional issues arise.
According to Martindale, Mr. Martinez is an attorney in Tucson, Arizona. He acquired his law license in Arizona in 1983.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.