||Respondent was charged with mishandling of client funds during a sixteen-month period. Respondent commingled fiduciary funds with his own in his attorney and escrow accounts, failed to make prompt distribution of fiduciary funds, converted fiduciary funds for his own benefit, and failed to maintain adequate trust balances to support individual and cumulative fiduciary entrustments.
In one matter, Respondent represented a client in workers’ compensation and third-party personal injury claims. The compensation claim resolved with a lump-sum payment in addition to wage loss and medical benefits, for which the carrier could assert a statutory lien. Respondent told the client that he would resolve the lien and would pay to the client any funds remaining after payment thereof. Although there was a dispute as to whether the carrier had a legitimate lien, Respondent failed to maintain funds earmarked for payment of the disputed lien in trust for either the client or the carrier.
In recommending to the Disciplinary Board that Respondent receive a private reprimand, the Hearing Committee considered the 21-month delay, which the Hearing Committee deemed to be “lengthy,” that occurred after the Disciplinary Board remanded the case to the Hearing Committee for the establishment of a briefing schedule. The Hearing Committee found that the post-remand delay was not occasioned by any action or failure on the part of the Respondent.
Five Board Members dissented in favor of a recommendation for Public Censure, and one Member did not participate.