12.20.2013 Consent Order of Discipline – Suspension [Vance County]

North Carolina State Bar Building Photo Courtesy of the North Carolina State Bar

At the time this order was entered, D. Bernard Alston was already on active suspension pursuant to previous Orders of Discipline (see 07 DHC 2109 DHC 19).

A prospective property owner contacted Alston in January 2012 regarding plans to purchase certain real property in Henderson, NC.  Additionally, this individual notified Alston of an intention to acquire title insurance for the property.  On January 20, 2012, Alston received a $200 fee from the individual as compensation for a title examination.

Alston, then serving an active suspension, sought to have Yolanda Feimster, an attorney, perform the closing.  Alston offered to prepare the documents under Feimster’s name.  Feimster declined this offer and instructed Alston not to include her name on any documents.  Nevertheless, Alston prepared the deeds and included Feimster’s name as the preparing attorney without Feimster’s consent or knowledge.

Subsequently, Alston contacted another attorney, Garey Ballance, to act as the closing attorney.  Alston claimed that Feimster had already prepared the deeds.  Ballance agreed to serve as the closing attorney, but only on the condition that the purchaser did not require title insurance, as Ballance did not have liability coverage for title defects as required by title insurers.  Alston did not notify Ballance that the purchaser had requested title insurance.  Eventually, Ballance learned of the purchaser’s desire for title insurance and withdrew from the representation.

Alston did not notify the purchaser that Ballance withdrew from representation.  Alston, though suspended from the practice of law in North Carolina, performed the closing on April 6, 2012.  Alston falsely represented to the purchaser that the deeds were prepared by a licensed North Carolina attorney, that Ballance was still the closing attorney, and that title insurance had been obtained for the property.

The Commission concluded that Alston’s dishonest and criminal acts violated Rule 8.4 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.  Additionally, Alston engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, which violates Rule 5.5 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.

Alston was suspended from the practice of law in North Carolina for a term of five years.

View the full disciplinary order below.

Trouble viewing? Click here to download the order (PDF, 305KB).

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About Tripp Huffstetler, Senior Staff Writer (57 Articles)
Tripp Huffstetler served as the Senior Ethics Staff Writer for the Campbell Law Observer. He is originally from Cherryville, North Carolina. In 2011, Tripp graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy as well as Political Science. During his undergraduate studies, Tripp spent summers assisting at a practice in his hometown of Cherryville. During law school he interned with the Hon. Kris Bailey, District Court Judge; Judge Paige Phillips, Wake County Magistrate; the Hon. Paul C. Ridgeway, Superior Court Judge; and the Wake County District Attorney's Office. He also assisted a local attorney in drafting a guide to interlocutory appeals, which will be published by the North Carolina Bar Association. Tripp graduated from Campbell Law School in May 2014.
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