On Friday, February 2, 2024, the Kansas Supreme Court publicly censured attorney Richard K. Davis for misconduct related to three complaints.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Richard K. Davis,” with case no. 126,106.

The charges cited Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(a), 3.1, 4. I(a), 4.4(a), 8.1(a), 8.4(c), 3.5(d), and 8.2(a).

The court’s formal censure comes after a disciplinary panel held a hearing regarding three separate complaints involving Davis’ conduct. According to the order, the first complaint was filed by Julie Ragsdale, a court reporter who alleged that Davis hired her in January 2018 to transcribe a deposition related to a lawsuit but failed to pay her invoice for over six months despite receiving payment from his client.

Ragsdale claimed Davis told her on multiple occasions that payment had been mailed when it had not. Davis disputed certain charges on Ragsdale’s invoice but a small claims court ruled in July 2018 that Davis owed Ragsdale $714.70 plus interest, finding Davis’ actions to be “abhorrent” and “unethical.” Davis paid the judgment in August 2018.

The panel found Davis violated several rules in his handling of Ragsdale’s invoice including failing to properly safeguard client funds, lacking merit in disputing charges, making dishonest statements, failing to respect Ragsdale’s rights, and making false statements in the disciplinary process regarding whether payment was mailed.

The second complaint involved Sedgwick County District Court Judge Eric Commer, who had presided over a hearing Davis appeared at in September 2020 regarding the partition and potential sale of a property. Commer alleged Davis made inappropriate comments during the proceeding that the panel found degraded the tribunal and made false statements about the judge’s integrity.

The third complaint was filed by T.R., whose wages Davis had mistakenly garnished while attempting to collect on a judgment against a different individual also named T.R. The panel did not find clear and convincing evidence Davis violated any rules regarding this complaint after Davis recognized the error, hired a private investigator, released the garnishment, and ultimately returned the mistakenly garnished funds in November 2018.

In its opinion, the court accepted the panel’s findings and legal conclusions regarding Davis’ conduct in the Ragsdale and Commer matters. It published the censure to point out the improper aspects of Davis’ behavior in those situations, which violated rules related to honesty, respect, meritorious claims, the integrity of the legal system, and tribunals.

Davis underwent a heart transplant in March 2020 and claimed at the disciplinary hearing his medications negatively impacted his temperament and mental processing during the relevant periods. However, the court did not mention any consideration of Davis’ medical conditions in its published censure order.

The Kansas Supreme Court’s published censure ordered Davis to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding and served to point out the improper aspects of his behavior in the Ragsdale and Commer matters.

The Disposition states:

“IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Richard K. Davis is disciplined by published censure to be published in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 225(a)(5) (2023 Kan. S. Ct. R. at 281) for violations of KRPC 1.15(a), 3.1, 4. I(a), 4.4(a), 8.1(a), 8.4(c), 3.5(d), and 8.2(a).”

A copy of the original filing can be found here.