On Friday, March 28, 2023, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma suspended attorney Raphael Thomas Glapion.  The case is entitled “State of Oklahoma ex rel. Oklahoma Bar Association v. Raphael Thomas Glapion,” with case no. 7280.

The charges cited Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, and 1.15. 

On June 3, 2022, the Oklahoma Bar Association filed a disciplinary complaint alleging that the respondent, while representing a client in a personal injury matter, mishandled his client’s funds and failed to appear at the disciplinary hearings on behalf of the client. The allegations also pointed out that the respondent failed to take responsibility for his actions.

The filing states:

“On October 10, 2014, ESURANCE mailed a check for policy limits in the amount of $50,000.00. (Tr. At 29, CEX 6D.) Respondent gave Samuels $20,000.00 when she endorsed the check but withheld the balance of $30,000.00 in his IOLTA. (Tr. At 31, 182.) Respondent lied to Samuels and told her he was holding these UM funds to ensure medical liens could be satisfied and promised to give her the balance within two weeks. Months later, Respondent claimed the balance of these funds as his attorney fee for the ESURANCE settlement. Samuels repeatedly disputed Respondent’s taking of these funds. The record is replete with instances of Samuels’ demand for her funds and an accounting thereof.”

The filing continues:

“At the time of the ESURANCE disbursement in October 2014, Samuels was in dire financial straits and needed additional medical procedures for her injuries. (Tr. At 32, 73 75.) After begging Respondent for her additional funds, Respondent piecemealed payments of an additional $7,900.00 to Samuels over the next three months, despite her being entitled to the entirety of the balance. Unbeknownst to Samuels, beginning in October 2014, Respondent transferred the balance of Samuels’ settlement funds from his IOLTA to his personal checking account and converted same for his own use in violation of Rule 1.15, ORPC.”

The filing further states:

“At the time the ESURANCE check was issued, Samuels had multiple, outstanding medical bills. (CEX 5.) Respondent assured ESURANCE that he would pay Samuels’ lienholders from the proceeds of the tortfeasor’s insurance policy (GEICO) (CEX 5, 6A- D.) While Respondent did pay several lienholders out of the later issued GEICO proceedings (see below), at least four (4) bills totaling $5,488.47, were not paid. (Tr. At 79-81, CEX 10A-D.) Respondent failed to safe-keep these funds in trust to pay these lienholders and converted these funds for his own use.”

The court stated that upon its review of the record, the evidence shows that the respondent had indeed violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. The court emphasized that it is without a doubt that the respondent committed acts of client neglect and violated the public trust. While the court acknowledged that the respondent initially participated in the disciplinary proceedings, the same discontinued his participation after filing an answer to the complaint. The attorney’s conduct foreclosed the client from being able to pursue his claims, thus causing her to lose out on the potential recovery for her injuries. Based on the foregoing reasons, the court decided to suspend the respondent.

The Disposition states:

“The nondelegable, constitutional responsibility to regulate the practice and the ethics, licensure, and discipline of practitioners of the law is solely vested in this Court.30 It is our difficult duty to withdraw or suspend the license to practice law if it is necessary to protect the interests of the public, the legal profession, and this tribunal. Upon a de novo review of the record, we determine that the attorney’s conduct warrants two years and one-day suspension, and the imposition of $1,731.28 in costs due not later than ninety days after this opinion becomes final.”

Mr. Glapion attended the Oklahoma City University School of Law. He practices in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His info can be found on Linkedin.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.