In re Rodger W. Moore, Proc. No. D2016-11 (USPTO Dir. Mar. 16, 2016)

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Criminal, Misrepresentation, USPTO

Disposition: One (1)-year suspension from practice before the USPTO and one (1)-year period of probation following reinstatement, which was unopposed by the practitioner, and which was predicated on identical discipline imposed by the Supreme Court of Ohio.  Final decision here.

Summary: In a reciprocal disciplinary proceeding, a trademark practitioner who stole wine on multiple occasions and lied about his conduct to Ohio investigators was suspended from practice before the USPTO for one (1) year and placed on probation for one (1) year, predicated upon identical discipline imposed by the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Ohio suspension arose from the practitioner’s conduct in multiple incidents of wine shoplifting between 2001 and 2012, and his submission of false statements about those incidents during a disciplinary investigation by the Cincinnati Bar Association. The attorney’s misconduct violated ethics rules proscribing engaging in illegal acts that adversely reflected on his honesty and trustworthiness, engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud or misrepresentation, engaging in illegal conduct involving moral turpitude, knowingly making false statements of material fact in connection with a disciplinary matter, and neglecting or refusing to participate in a disciplinary matter.

Related Case: Cincinnati Bar Ass’n v. Rodger William Moore, Case No. 2014-1737 (Ohio June 25, 2015)

Related to USPTO Practice?  No

Facts: This matter arises from an Ohio trademark practitioner’s criminal misconduct, specifically engaging in seven (7) separate acts of shoplifting between 2001 and 2012. The attorney, Rodger Moore, became a member of the Ohio Bar in 2001.

According to the stipulations set forth in Ohio, in November 2001, Mr. Moore was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, after he attempted to leave a Kroger store with twelve (12) bottles of wine, worth $152, without paying for them. He entered into an agreement that required him to complete community service and a nolle prosequi was subsequently entered in the matter.

In March 2012, Mr. Moore was charged with theft by shoplifting after he scanned UPC codes that he had carried into a Kroger store in Cincinnati to purchase three bottles of expensive wine at a self-scan checkout register, reducing the price of the items purchased by $359.10. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was permitted to enter a diversion program. Mr. Moore later admitted that he had used this method to steal expensive bottles of wine from the same store on five separate occasions prior to his arrest.

Mr. Moore sent a letter to the Cincinnati Bar Association in July 2012 to report the March 2012 shoplifting charge. In that letter, he made false statements regarding the March 2012 incident, failed to disclose that he had used the same subterfuge a number of times in the months preceding that incident, and failed to disclose the 2001 charge. He also attempted to mislead the Cincinnati Bar by making false statements and leaving out relevant information when the Bar interviewed him under oath and in his initial and supplemental responses to the Bar’s requests for admissions.

The Supreme Court of Ohio found that Mr. Moore’s conduct in 2001 violated DR 1-102(A)(3) (prohibiting a lawyer from engaging in illegal conduct involving moral turpitude) and 1-102(A)(4) (prohibiting a lawyer from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation) and that his later conduct violated Ohio R. 8.1(a) (prohibiting knowingly making a false statement of material fact in connection with a disciplinary matter), 8.4(b) (prohibiting a lawyer from committing an illegal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty or trustworthiness), and 8.4(c) (prohibiting a lawyer from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation). The Court also ruled that Moore failed to cooperate with the Ohio disciplinary investigation, in violation of Ohio law.

As a sanction, the Supreme Court imposed a one-year actual suspension and one-year probationary period. Mr. Moore also was required to complete psychological counseling and to apply for reinstatement after serving his suspension.

In January 2016, the USPTO Director served Mr. Moore with a complaint for reciprocal discipline and order to show cause why he should not receive the same sanction imposed in Ohio. Mr. Moore failed to respond. The USPTO Director, therefore, entered an order suspending Mr. Moore for one (1) year in practice before the Office and further ordered that he serve a one (1)-year period of probation.