On Thursday, February 29, 2024, the Washington Supreme Court issued an order suspending attorney Matthew W. Butler from the practice of law for three years.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Matthew W. Butler,” with case no. 202171-9.

The order stems from two separate disciplinary cases against Butler from 2013 and 2019. In 2013, Butler was convicted of violating a domestic violence court order and resisting arrest in Clark County. He successfully completed the terms of his sentence and the convictions were vacated in 2022.

In 2019, a former client of Butler’s, Susan Leach, filed a grievance against him with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Leach had hired Butler in 2007 to represent her in a personal injury case stemming from a car accident. According to the stipulation between Butler and ODC, Butler failed to adequately communicate with Leach about the status of the case. He also named the wrong defendant when filing the complaint, resulting in the case being dismissed.

Butler did not inform Leach the case had been dismissed. Leach later sued Butler for legal malpractice and obtained a default judgment against him for over $192,000. When the attorney collecting on the judgment attempted to conduct a supplemental examination of Butler, he failed to appear as ordered by the court.

Butler’s lack of cooperation continued during the disciplinary investigation into Leach’s grievance. He did not promptly respond to ODC’s requests for information. He also provided false deposition testimony, claiming he had not represented Leach and had referred her to his disbarred brother.

Rather than proceed with formal disciplinary proceedings, Butler entered into a stipulation with ODC in February 2024. The stipulation outlined his violations of numerous Rules of Professional Conduct and specified a sanction of a three-year suspension followed by two years of probation. On February 29, 2024, the Washington Supreme Court issued an order approving the stipulation and imposing the agreed-upon suspension and probation.

The Disposition states:

“IT IS ORDERED: Matthew W. Butler is suspended from the practice of law for three years. Pursuant to ELC 13.2, the effective date of suspension is seven days from the date of this order. Reinstatement to the practice of law is subject to the conditions specified in the stipulation. The lawyer shall be subject to two years of probation beginning on the date of reinstatement and shall comply with all of the terms of probation as specified in the stipulation.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Butler is a general practice attorney in Seattle, Washington. He acquired his law license in Washington in 1998.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.