(A) Proceedings for discipline of members shall be considered civil in their nature and for the purpose of protecting the public and the good name of the members, and may be instituted against any person who has been licensed to practice in the courts of the State of Nebraska.
(B) Proceedings for discipline of members may be instituted and prosecuted in the name of the State of Nebraska on the relation of the Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court without leave of court.
(C) Proceedings shall be initiated by the Counsel for Discipline filing a Formal Charge setting forth the grounds thereof with reasonable definiteness. The Formal Charge shall be filed with the Clerk who shall then docket the cause as an original proceeding in the Court. No initial filing fee shall be charged in these actions.
(D) Upon the filing in the Court of a Formal Charge as contemplated and provided for by these rules against any member, Counsel for Discipline shall prosecute the Formal Charge against the Respondent. If the Court is advised by Counsel for Discipline by written notice or by a motion filed by the Respondent that, for reasons specified therein, a conflict exists or Counsel for Discipline cannot otherwise carry out such duty, the Court within ten days, in its discretion, may appoint any member to prosecute the Formal Charge.
(E) The Counsel for Discipline or any member so appointed may within thirty days, in his or her discretion, prepare and file an amended Formal Charge. Within five days after the time fixed for filing an amended Formal Charge, service shall be made upon the Respondent as provided for in § 3-310(G).
(F) If the Counsel for Discipline or the member so appointed has in his or her possession evidence which, in his or her opinion, warrants any additional Charge or Charges, the Counsel for Discipline or the member so appointed may incorporate such additional Charge or Charges in the Formal Charge and prosecute the same, despite the fact that they may not have been presented to the Committee on Inquiry or the Disciplinary Review Board.
(G) Service upon the Respondent may be had by serving upon him or her a copy of the Formal Charge or any amended Formal Charge and notice of the time for answer in the same manner as service of summons is had in civil proceedings in the district courts of the State, in which case it shall be proved by the official return of the officer making such service. Service shall be deemed to have been waived if the Respondent shall sign a written receipt for a copy of the Formal Charge and notice. Service may likewise be had by the mailing by the Clerk of a certified copy of said Formal Charge and notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the Respondent at his or her last known address; and in that event the official return card of the United States mail, signed by the Respondent, acknowledging receipt of the envelope containing the copy of said Formal Charge and notice, shall be deemed sufficient proof of service. In the event that it shall appear by affidavit that personal service cannot be had upon the Respondent and that letters to the Respondent's last known address are returned unclaimed, service may be had upon the Respondent by publication of notice for two successive weeks in some legal newspaper published in the county wherein the Respondent last resided. Such notice shall state that Formal Charge for disciplinary action has been filed in the Court against the Respondent and shall give the date of filing and the time within which Respondent is required to answer.
(H) The answer of the Respondent shall be filed within thirty days after service of summons and a copy of the Formal Charge or within thirty days after service by publication, as herein provided, shall have been completed. For good cause shown the Court may extend the time to answer.
(I) If no answer be filed within the time limited therefor, or if the answer raises no issue of fact or of law, the matter may be disposed of by the Court on its own motion or on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, but in either case there shall be an opportunity for oral argument prior to entry of an order of disbarment by the Court.
(J) Upon the filing of an answer raising an issue of fact, the Court shall refer the matter to a member as referee. It shall be the duty of such referee to fix an early date for hearing, notify the relator and the Respondent or their respective attorneys of record, and without delay to hear such testimony as may be introduced under the pleadings. The referee shall have all powers of a referee in civil actions in the courts of Nebraska. The referee shall observe the rules of evidence, discovery rules, and motion practice applicable in civil actions in the district courts of the State of Nebraska. The standard of proof in hearings before the referee shall be clear and convincing. The referee shall have a competent reporter present who shall take in shorthand or by any mechanical device and transcribe in typewriting all oral evidence adduced at the hearing had before the referee. The referee may continue the hearing from time to time as circumstances may require, but shall not delay his or her proceedings unless justice and equity so require. The referee shall make a written report within four months of the referee's appointment, unless extended by order of the Court, stating his or her findings of fact and recommendations. The typewritten record of the proceedings shall have attached to it all of the exhibits offered at the hearing, and shall be certified by the referee. The referee shall promptly transmit to the Court the referee's report, together with such record so certified, and shall transmit a copy of the report to the Respondent.
(1) When the transcription of oral evidence, exclusive of exhibits, exceeds 250 pages in length, the reporter shall prepare one or more write-protected 3½-inch computer disks containing the transcription of proceedings. Such disks shall be formatted in Microsoft Word, or, if such formatting cannot be accomplished, in ASCII text. An adhesive label shall be affixed to each disk legibly identifying the case caption, docket and page or case numbers, disk number (1 of 2, etc.), the format utilized, and the name of the reporter. The first line of the label shall be left blank. Such disk(s) shall be transmitted to the Court by the referee at the same time that the typewritten record of proceedings and any attached exhibits are filed in the Court. Such disk(s) shall be for the exclusive use of the Supreme Court and authorized court personnel. Any reporter who lacks the technological capability to comply with this requirement shall include in the transcription of oral evidence a separate certificate so stating.
(2) In addition to the written report of the referee, he or she shall also prepare one or more write-protected 3½-inch computer disks, DVD’s, or CD’s containing the report. Such disks shall be formatted in Microsoft Word, or, if such formatting cannot be accomplished, in ASCII text. An adhesive label shall be affixed to each disk legibly identifying the case caption, docket and page or case numbers, disk number (1 of 2, etc.), the format utilized, and the name of the referee. The first line of the label shall be left blank. The referee shall transmit such disk(s) to the Court at the same time that the referee’s written report is filed in the Court. Such disk(s) shall be for the exclusive use of the Supreme Court and authorized court personnel. Any referee who lacks the technological capability to comply with this requirement shall include in the report a separate certificate so stating.
(K) Upon the filing of an answer raising an issue of law only, the Court may, in its discretion, refer the matter to a member as referee for such action in relation thereto as the Court may by its order of reference direct.
(L) Within ten days after the filing of the report of the referee, any party thereto may file written exceptions to such report. If no exceptions are filed, the Court, in its discretion, may consider the findings final and conclusive, and on motion shall enter such order as the evidence and law require.
(M) If exceptions be filed to the findings or report of the referee, briefs and arguments shall be filed and oral arguments made in the Court as required by the rules of the Court in civil cases. The party filing exceptions to the findings and report of the referee shall serve and file his or her brief within thirty days after the filing of such report and the brief of the adverse party shall be served and filed within thirty days thereafter. The case shall thereupon be placed upon the Court call for hearing.
(N) The Court may disbar, suspend, censure, or reprimand the Respondent, place him or her on probation, or take such other action as shall by the Court be deemed appropriate. All orders of public discipline shall be forwarded by the Clerk to the membership secretary of the Nebraska State Bar Association.
(R) No application for modification of judgment pursuant to § 3-304 shall be made prior to the expiration of one year after the final order in such proceedings shall have been entered except in cases where the only service upon Respondent has been by publication, and no appearance has been made by Respondent, and except where the application is made under the terms of Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 25‑2001 to 25-2009.
(V) Copies of every such application shall be furnished the Relator, the Counsel for Discipline, the current Chairperson of the Committee on Inquiry for the District which exercised original jurisdiction, and the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Review Board, any one or more of whom may appear and resist such application. Any other persons may likewise appear upon obtaining leave of the Court and make such resistance. Within twenty days thereafter, the Counsel for Discipline and the District Committee on Inquiry, by its Chairperson, shall each file a written statement recommending the application be granted or denied and the reasons therefor. The Court may deny such application without a hearing if justice and equity require it. If the application or the showing in resistance thereto shall require the taking of evidence, the matter may be referred to a referee and the proceedings shall be the same as in the case of original disciplinary proceedings.
Rule 10(H) amended October 30, 1996; Rule 10(D) amended September 11, 2002; Rule 10(J) amended November 14, 2002; Rule 10(B), (C), (I) and (P) amended August 27, 2003; Rule 10(J) amended August 31, 2005. Renumbered and codified as § 3-310, effective July 18, 2008.