Supreme Court

Court OKs Final Approval of Disciplinary Rules, Including Revisions for Investigatory Subpeonas 

Among changes to amendments approved before comments in Miscellaneous Docket No. 18-9031:

¶ Rule 2.12(B) has been revised to authorize an investigatory subpoena for information or testimony “that relates directly to a specific allegation of attorney misconduct.” The revision tracks the language of Government Code section 81.080(a),

¶ Rule 2.12(D) has been revised to require the chair of the District Grievance Committee to authorize an investigatory subpoena – rather than the chair of an investigatory panel – even if an investigatory hearing has already been set. This revision conforms to Government Code section 81.080(a). Paragraph (D) has also been revised to state that objections must be made in good faith.

¶ Rule 2.12(E) has been revised to state that if the chief disciplinary counsel pursues enforcement of a subpoena in district court:

  • the respondent may raise any good faith objection to the subpoena;
  • if the district court finds that a respondent’s objection or noncompliance is in bad faith, the court may award costs and attorney fees to the chief disciplinary counsel;
  • the district court’s order is not appealable; and
  • the chief disciplinary counsel must not consider a respondent’s good-faith objection to an investigatory subpoena as grounds for just cause.

¶ The introductory paragraph to Rule 2.17 has been revised to clarify that an investigatory panel member may not been assigned to an evidentiary panel for the same case.

¶ Former Rule 3.10 (sanctions imposition) has been deleted because its substance is being replaced by Part XV. The rest of Part III has been renumbered.

¶ The amendments apply to a grievance filed on or after June 1, 2018, regardless of when the conduct subject of the grievance occurred. A grievance filed before June 1, 2018, will be governed by the rules in effect at that time.