On September 27, 2022, the Attorney Discipline Board ruled on the petition for review filed by the Grievance Administrator seeking a reversal of the Kent County Hearing Panel’s order dated February 28, 2022, suspending Grand Rapids attorney David Charron for 60 days.
The case is styled ‘Grievance Administrator v. David Charron’ with case no. 19-130-GA.
The charges cited Charron’s violation of Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct MRPC 3.4(c), 3.5(d), 6.5(a), 4.1, 8.4(b), and 8.4(c), as well as Michigan Court Rules 9.104(1), 9.104(2) and 9.104(3).
Charron was alleged to have violated the above-cited rules by:
knowing disobedience of the rules of a tribunal;
engaging in undignified or discourteous conduct toward a tribunal;
failing to treat others in the legal process with courtesy and respect;
making a knowingly false statement to a third person in the course of representing a client;
engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation . . . where such conduct reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer;
engaging in conduct prejudicial to the proper administration of justice;
engaging in conduct that exposes the legal profession or the courts to obloquy, contempt, censure, or reproach; and
engaging in conduct that is contrary to justice, ethics, honesty, or good morals.
The Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The following are as alleged and summarized from the filing:
Charron allegedly engaged in misconduct by knowingly disobeying an order of Kent County Circuit Court, in a suit where Glenn R. Morris seeks to dissolve Morris, Schnoor & Gremel, Inc. (MSG). In this case, Charron represents Schnoor. It was also alleged that Charron engaged in discourteous conduct towards the Court by his outrageous statement in a brief, “When the judiciary act as the bitch for complainant, we get rulings like this.” It was also alleged that Charron’s reply email to opposing counsel was of disparaging nature and combative terms. Moreover, Charron knowingly made a false statement of material fact to the Court, as well as to opposing counsel.
The Report of Kent County Hearing Panel #4 states:
“We are not concerned with whether use of the term “bitch” is or is not profane. That is not relevant. The meaning of the statement is clear: the court is accused of subservience to a party, serving it rather than pursuing justice. The record is devoid of any apology for either the use of the word or for the accusation itself, which Respondent defends in pleadings and presentation (argument and testimony) to the panel.
We note that if such words were uttered as a public comment rather than in judicial proceedings, they might be protected as free speech,26 but the words in the underlying case are in the course of a matter before the judiciary. In addition, Respondent’s conduct in this respect received community-wide publicity. We find Respondent to have violated MRPC 3.5(d), MRPC 6.5(a), and MCR 9.104(2).”
On February 28, 2022, the Kent County Hearing Panel #4 of the Attorney Discipline Board suspended Charon’s license to practice law in Michigan. The suspension term was 60 days with conditions, effective March 22, 2022.
The Grievance Administrator filed a petition for review seeking a reversal of the hearing panel’s findings that Charron did not violate MRPC 3.4(c) and to impose a disbarment or at least 180-day suspension. While Charron moved for the dismissal of the complaint, or a reversal in the findings of misconduct, and a reduction in the discipline imposed.
On appeal, the Board agreed with all the hearing panel’s findings.
As to the contention of the Grievance Administrator that the hearing panel erred in finding Charron did not violate MRPC 3.4(c), the board said:
” We find that the panel’s analysis of the issue of whether respondent violated MRPC 3.4(c) reflects a thoughtful and thorough review of the evidence presented by both parties, including a recognition that under MCL 600.2106, a court order “shall be prima facie evidence . . . of all facts recited therein . . .” However, as is clear from their report, the panel did not simply rely on the court orders without further analysis.
We further note that the panel recognized that the rulings of the various courts in the underlying proceedings did not apply the standards and elements of MRPC 3.4(c) to respondent’s conduct. We find that there is proper evidentiary support in the record for the panel’s finding that respondent did not violate MRPC 3.4(c). Therefore, we affirm the panel’s finding in that regard.”
Accordingly, the Board affirmed the hearing panel’s findings of misconduct in its entirety and affirmed the panel’s decision to impose a 60-day suspension with conditions.
The disposition reads in material parts:
“IT IS ORDERED that the hearing panel’s Order of Suspension with Conditions, issued February 28, 2022, is AFFIRMED.
IT IS ORDERED that respondent’s license to practice law in Michigan is SUSPENDED FOR 60 DAYS, EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 25, 2022, and until respondent’s filing of an affidavit of compliance with the Attorney Discipline Board and the Attorney Grievance Commission in accordance with MCR 9.123(A).”
According to Mr. Charron’s LinkedIn profile, he is the managing partner of Charron Law Office. He attended Case Western Reserve University School of Law, graduating in 1986. Prior to this suspension, he practiced in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has been admitted to practice in Michigan.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.