Trust-account violations led the Missouri Supreme Court to discipline three Missouri attorneys — including disbarring one and suspending another — on March 17.
The court ordered disbarment for Kristy Lynn Ridings, a St. Louis attorney. The court found she’d violated trust account rules and rules governing non-lawyer assistants and misconduct.
The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel alleged in its information that she misused her client trust account and client funds.
Ridings has been licensed in Missouri since 2003. At the time of OCDC’s investigation, she was a solo practitioner and responsible for her firm’s trust account and operating account, according to the information filed in her case.
She’d previously accepted two admonitions for mishandling her trust account and client funds, the information said.
According to OCDC, their investigation began when OCDC was notified that Ridings’ trust account was overdrawn. OCDC’s investigator was unable to complete a full audit of the account because Ridings did not maintain complete records of account activity, the information alleged.
The audit did show that Ridings was depositing personal money into the account so she could use it as a personal/business account, the information alleged.
The court also suspended for at least two years the law license of St. Joseph attorney Jerry A. Hollon, a former Sullivan County prosecutor. Hollon failed to timely respond to an information filed by OCDC that also alleged violations of trust account rules.
According to OCDC’s information, Hollon has been a licensed attorney in Missouri since 2001.
OCDC alleged he routinely used one client’s settlement funds to pay another client to whom he owed money. He’d also failed to keep appropriate trust accounting records and failed to timely notify or pay third parties, OCDC alleged.
OCDC sought disbarment in his case. Hollon argued mitigating factors supported suspension, including his admitting to the misconduct and remorse, his limited prior experience with client trust accounts and his reputation in the legal community.
The court also placed Henry V. Griffin of Hollister on probation for at least two years. His case stemmed from actions he took as an escrow agent for the purchase of a hotel and water park.
The Missouri Supreme Court found he violated rules governing trust accounts, truthfulness and misconduct.
Griffin has been licensed in Missouri since 1979.
The cases are In re: Ridings, SC98230; In re: Hollon, SC98297; and In re: Griffin, SC98235.
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