Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 56751
Attorney Name Klein, Scott M.
DBP Docket No. 153 DB 1999
Supreme Court Docket No. 650 D.D. No. 3
County Allegheny
Disciplinary Counsel Susan N. Dobbins
Counsel for Respondent None
Decision Date 2001-02-20
Effective Date 2001-03-22
Case Digest Respondent was charged with rule violations in connection with two separate clients. In one case, Respondent received funds on behalf of a client in the settlement of the client's civil action. Respondent failed to notify the client that he had received the funds and he never delivered to the client the client's share of the settlement. In the other matter, Respondent represented a client in a personal injury case. During that representation, Respondent was transferred to inactive status for his failure to comply with continuing legal education requirements. Respondent failed to notify the client of his transfer to inactive status or to communicate in any way with the client regarding the client's case. A conservator was appointed to oversee Respondent's files and the client received his file from the conservator. Respondent did not participate in the disciplinary process in these matters and consequently presented no defense to the allegations or evidence of mitigation. Respondent had a prior disciplinary history. Subsequent to his transfer to inactive status in 1998 for failure to comply with continuing legal education requirements, Respondent was convicted of the crimes of possession of controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. Respondent chose not to participate in the disciplinary process with regard to the criminal convictions and was after full disciplinary proceedings suspended from the practice of law for one year and one day by order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 2000. Subsequent to the entry of that order, in another disciplinary matter in which Respondent also chose not to participate and in which he failed to appear for an informal admonition, Respondent received in 2000 a second suspension for one year and one day to run consecutive to the suspension previously imposed by the Court.
Rule Violation(s) 1.15(b), 1.16(d), 8.4(c), Pa.R.D.E. 217(b)
Discipline Imposed Disbarment
Points of Law By failing to promptly notify and deliver to his client funds which the client is entitled to receive, a lawyer violates RPC 1.15(b). A lawyer's unauthorized retention and conversion of funds which are the property of his client constitutes conduct which involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of RPC 8.4(c). A lawyer's failure to surrender papers and property to his client upon termination of the lawyer's representation violates RPC 1.16(d). A lawyer's failure to notify his client that the lawyer has been transferred to inactive status due to his failure to comply with CLE requirements violates Rule 217(b), Pa.R.D.E.
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