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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In this appeal of a lawyer disciplinary proceeding, the appellant, L. Mark Steinberg, contends collateral estoppel barred the claims of the appellee, Commission for Lawyer Discipline, and that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support the jury’s findings on two issues. Steinberg was admitted to practice law in Texas in 1980. He was disbarred in 1985. He was reinstated to the Texas bar in 1996. He has never been admitted to practice law in Arizona. In 2000, the State Bar of Texas filed a grievance against Steinberg. A jury found Steinberg violated Rules 8.01 and 8.04(a)(3) of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. The trial judge entered judgment, suspending Steinberg from the practice of law for five years. HOLDING:Affirmed. Steinberg contends principles of collateral estoppel preclude the commission’s disciplinary action here, because the same issues were determined in a 1996 proceeding reinstating Steinberg to the bar. Steinberg further contends principles of res judicata prohibit relitigation of any claim or defense that could have been litigated in the first suit. When Steinberg petitioned for reinstatement in 1996, the court must have determined the two core findings set forth in Board of Law Examiners v. Gabriel, 953 S.W.2d 227 (Tex. 1997). First, the trial court must find that petitioner is of good moral character, possesses the mental and emotional fitness to practice law, and during the five years immediately preceding the filing of the petition, has been living a life of exemplary conduct. Second, the district court must find that reinstatement serves the public’s and profession’s interests and the ends of justice. In contrast to Gabriel, however, Steinberg requests that the court compare those core findings with the jury’s findings he engaged in professional misconduct. The jury was not asked to determine Steinberg’s moral character; whether he was mentally and emotionally fit to practice law; or whether his reinstatement to the bar would serve the public’s and the profession’s interests. Instead, the jury was asked to determine whether Steinberg engaged in “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation” in violation of Rule 8.04(a)(3), and whether he made a false statement of material fact on his petition for reinstatement or failed to correct a misapprehension in violation of Rule 8.01. Steinberg argues the truth and honesty of his reinstatement petition were among the core, essential issues determined in the reinstatement proceeding in 1996, and the jury here merely redetermined the same issues. The court disagrees. The reinstatement action was a petition by a person not licensed as a lawyer arguing “the best interests of the public and the profession, as well as the ends of justice, would be served by his or her reinstatement.” Texas Rule of Disciplinary Procedure 11.03. The disciplinary proceeding is a petition by the commission alleging professional misconduct by a lawyer. Although in determining the petition for reinstatement, “the court shall deny the petition . . . if it contains any false statement of material fact,” Tex. R. Disciplinary P. 11.03, Rule 8.01 of the Rules of Professional Conduct specifically permits a disciplinary action against a lawyer who engaged in improper conduct in the reinstatement process. See Tex. Disciplinary R. Prof’l Conduct 8.01. As noted in the comments to Rule 8.01, “[h]ence, if a person makes a material false statement in connection (with . . . a petition for reinstatement, it may be the basis for a subsequent disciplinary action if the person is admitted or reinstated . . . .” Tex. Disciplinary R. Prof’l Conduct 8.01 comment 1. In Gabriel, in contrast, the court noted under the rules governing admission to the bar, the Board of Law Examiners had a duty to investigate the moral fitness of candidates for admission, not candidates for reinstatement. The court’s finding in 1996 that Steinberg should be reinstated does not preclude the commission’s disciplinary action here. Steinberg contends the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support the jury’s finding that he violated Rule 8.04(a)(3), Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. In support of the jury’s finding, the commission cites evidence Steinberg held himself out as an Arizona attorney even though he has never been licensed to practice law there. By wording the judgment narrowly, Steinberg argues, the trial court implicitly granted Steinberg’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and ruled the only conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.04(a)(3) occurred in connection with Steinberg’s reinstatement to the Texas bar, and not in connection with any other activities. there was evidence to support the jury’s finding Steinberg violated Rule 8.04(a)(3). The judgment must conform to that finding, and the court construes it to do so. Steinberg contends the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support the jury’s finding he violated Rule 8.01, The commission argues that at the time he filed his petition for reinstatement to the Texas bar, Steinberg failed to disclose he was under investigation by the Arizona attorney general for allegations of consumer fraud relating to the sale of legal services. The commission also argues Steinberg failed to disclose a pending suit involving a fee dispute. The evidence “would enable reasonable and fair-minded people to reach the verdict” Steinberg violated Rule 8.01, the court determines. OPINION:Whittington, J.; Whittington, Francis and Lang, JJ.

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