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Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: suspension

More on Eugster ruling from high court…

My story in the print paper this a.m. had more details about the suspension of Spokane attorney (and former Spokane city councilman, and current candidate for same) Steve Eugster:

OLYMPIA _ After a long-running battle over his handling of an elderly widow’s case, Spokane attorney Steve Eugster has narrowly avoided disbarment.

The state Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday that Eugster should instead be suspended from practicing law for 18 months. He will also have to pay $13,500 to the now-deceased woman’s estate.

“Eugster breached his duty to maintain his client’s confidences, used confidences to take action directly contrary to his client’s interests, and created a nightmare for his client who had to spend $13,500 defending a petition to declare her incompetent,” Justice Tom Chambers wrote for the majority. “However, Eugster’s misconduct was the first in a long career.”

The four-justice minority called for a harsher penalty.

“The only conclusion that can be drawn … is that Eugster should be disbarred,” Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote.

Shawn Newman, an Olympia attorney representing Eugster, characterized the ruling as a win. “Once the bar unanimously recommends disbarment, it is almost unprecedented to get that turned around,” he said.

Eugster declined comment on the ruling. But the former Spokane city councilman, who’s running again for a seat on the council, said he has no intention of dropping out of the race. “Why would I?” he said.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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