On Friday, September 8, 2023, a three-member hearing panel, comprised of Presiding Disciplinary Judge (PDJ) Margaret H. Downie, attorney member April P. Elliott, and public member Jim Deitz, issued a report recommending that suspended attorney Blake D. Gunn be reinstated to practice law in Arizona. Gunn had been suspended for 18 months effective January 2019 due to misconduct in his representation of clients in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Blake D. Gunn,” with case no. 2023-9049-R.
The report provides details of the hearing held on August 28, 2023, to consider Gunn’s application for reinstatement under Rule 65 of the Arizona Rules of the Supreme Court. Several witnesses testified at the hearing, including other attorneys who had worked with Gunn. The panel also received 29 exhibits into evidence and heard testimony from Gunn himself.
In its findings, the panel described the conduct that led to Gunn’s original suspension. In the bankruptcy case of clients James and Pamela Pannarale, Gunn had included a secured loan in their reorganization plan that the clients had not actually obtained. He also failed to properly communicate with the clients about the status of the case. The panel found Gunn violated ethics rules regarding competence, diligence, candor toward the tribunal, and misconduct.
To assess rehabilitation, the panel reviewed Gunn’s compliance with disciplinary orders as well as any other legal matters during his suspension. It noted he had fully paid all costs and notified appropriate parties of his suspension status. The panel found Gunn sincerely took responsibility for his past actions and undertook efforts to address the weaknesses like arrogance and avoidance that contributed to his misconduct.
Witnesses who had worked with Gunn, including other attorneys, supported his reinstatement and attested to his strong legal skills and character. The panel was impressed by Gunn’s participation in continuing education and certification requirements. It concluded he had proven rehabilitation as well as competence and fitness to practice law again.
As a precaution, the panel recommended Gunn be reinstated but subject to a two-year term of probation. Terms would include ongoing counseling and participation in the State Bar’s Member Assistance Program. If he returned to solo practice, he would also have to comply with the Law Office Management Assistance Program. The report expressed confidence that with these measures, Gunn would face little risk of further ethical violations. Overall, the facts demonstrated to the panel’s satisfaction that Gunn merits reinstatement to the Arizona bar.
According to avvo.com, Mr. Gun is a bankruptcy and debt attorney in Mesa, Arizona. He acquired his law license in Arizona in 1998.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.