In a disciplinary matter spanning nearly a decade, the North Dakota Supreme Court has suspended from practice an attorney alleged to have charged hours instead of minutes for routine legal tasks.

The court on February 12 suspended Craig Kitchen for 60 days, finding that he charged a client an hour’s time for retrieving a file and six hours for preparing the client’s bill.

The court, issuing reciprocal discipline in an unsigned opinion, adopted the findings of the Wisconsin Supreme Court stemming from Kitchen’s conduct as far back as 2004. The court found that Kitchen violated attorney ethics rules in several ways, including failure to respond to client requests and to maintain trust account documentation.

The court found that Kitchen misled Wisconsin attorney ethics officials investigating his conduct "by suggesting on several occasions that he was sending the necessary documentation but later conceding that he did not have it."

Kitchen was licensed in Wisconsin and admitted temporarily in North Dakota.

The suspension came after the North Dakota disciplinary counsel tried for years to locate and serve papers notifying him of the reciprocal action.

Kitchen could not be reached for comment.

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