In early 2012, the North Carolina Board of Continuing Legal Education mailed the 2011 CLE reporting form to John David Hauser, a Wake County attorney. All annual report forms were to be signed and returned to the State Bar or postmarked by February 29, 2012. Because Mr. Hauser did not return his form by that date, the CLE board sent a second notice, dated March 14, 2012. Finally, on May 10, 2012, the CLE Board issued a “Notice to Show Cause” to Mr. Hauser regarding his continued failure to return the annual report form. This notice required Hauser to, within thirty days of receiving the notice, (1) submit his 2011 annual report form and (2) pay $209 in fees (a $75 late filing fee and a $125 non-compliance fee).
On May 31, 2012, Mr. Hauser responded with a letter, stating that he mailed the original annual report form on February 27, 2012. Hauser included a copy of the form that he claimed to have sent on February 27, 2012. The annual report form that was actually enclosed, however, was the second notice, which had not been sent to Hauser until March 14. In other words, the form he claimed to have submitted on February 27 was not even sent to him until March 14.
Due to Hauser’s attempt to “mislead the Board and to avoid paying the late fees,” the Commission concluded that he violated Rule 8.4(c) of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibits “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” In its “additional findings regarding discipline,” the Commission noted that “[i]t is vital to the integrity of the State Bar’s CLE Program that attorneys be honest and accurate in all aspects of their CLE reporting.”
Ultimately, the Commission suspended Hauser’s law license for a period of one year. The period of active suspension was stayed for one year, however, dependent on Hauser’s compliance with various conditions, one being completion of four additional hours of CLE.
View the full disciplinary order here.