On Friday, August 18, 2023, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Supreme Court of Arizona reprimanded attorney Samuel J. Doncaster for overbilling clients.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Samuel J. Doncaster,” with case no. 2023-9028.
In the matter concerning Doncaster, an amended agreement for discipline by consent was filed on August 11, 2023. The agreement arose from multiple bar charge cases. Doncaster voluntarily waived his right to an adjudicatory hearing and admitted to violating various ethical rules, including rules of professional conduct. The agreement resulted in a reprimand with probation and required Doncaster to pay the costs and expenses of the disciplinary proceeding.
In the specific cases mentioned, Doncaster’s conduct involved overbilling clients for clerical or administrative work, lack of communication, and billing problems. One case involved a wage dispute with a former paralegal, where Doncaster failed to pay wages as ordered by the Industrial Commission. This resulted in disciplinary proceedings, including a notice of intent to dismiss the appeal due to non-compliance with court orders.
Following this event, an order accepting the agreement for discipline was issued by the Supreme Court. It stated that while the number of violations was a cause for concern, it noted that Doncaster had no prior disciplinary record, and the terms of probation were deemed sufficient to prevent a recurrence of such conduct.
Based on the following factual findings, the Supreme Court of Arizona decided to reprimand Doncaster.
“IT IS ORDERED that Respondent Samuel J. Doncaster, Bar No. 028541, is reprimanded for his conduct in violation of the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct, as outlined in the consent documents.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED placing Respondent on probation for a period of two years.”
The terms include participating in a Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP) assessment, following up on any necessary meetings, and covering associated costs. The respondent must also undergo an assessment by the Compliance Monitor and comply with the resulting terms and conditions. Restitution must be paid to specified individuals within 90 days, and proof of payment must be provided. Additionally, the respondent must initiate and participate in fee arbitration with complainant Phillip Doyle within 30 days. Finally, the respondent is prohibited from further violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct or the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona.
Mr. Doncaster is the owner and lead attorney of the Fraud Fighters Law Firm. He attended the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He acquired his law license in Arizona in 2011. His info can be found on avvo.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.