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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 25634
Attorney Name Rovner, David R.
DBP Docket No. 157 DB 2000
Supreme Court Docket No. 822 D.D. No. 3
County Philadelphia
Disciplinary Counsel Barbara S. Rosenberg
Counsel for Respondent Samuel C. Stretton
Decision Date 2003-05-06
Effective Date 2003-06-05
Case Digest Respondent was charged with violations of ethical rules arising out of his preparation of false timesheets and bills while employed at a law firm. Respondent accepted a job at a law firm that expected him to generate business from insurance company contacts developed at his prior law firm. Over the course of two years, Respondent misled his firm into believing that he was generating business when, in fact, he brought virtually no new business to the firm. In order to disguise his inability to bring in the files promised, Respondent misrepresented that files were being referred, prepared timesheets for work on non-existent files, and allowed bills to be prepared pertaining to the non-existent files. When questioned about the files, Respondent made additional misrepresentations. Respondent was responsible for mailing the bills to the clients and intentionally never transmitted them. None of the false bills were actually paid. The Board found no intent on Respondentís part to obtain client or firm funds; rather, the misrepresentations were made to the employer with the false hope that things would change. Respondent presented the testimony of a practicing clinical psychologist, who opined that Respondent had an adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression. The Board found that the evidence was not sufficient to establish that the disorder caused the misconduct. The doctorís opinion, which was that Respondent lost his self-esteem as a practicing lawyer and acted in a self-destructive fashion by covering up his failures, was rebutted by Respondentís successes in personal, church, neighborhood and political activities and his popularity in these communities. Eight character witnesses testified that Respondent had an outstanding reputation for truthfulness and honesty, and the record demonstrated that Respondent was a compassionate person who had earned the respect of people he came to know through his involvement in the legal and non-legal communities.
Rule Violation(s) 8.4(c)
Discipline Imposed Six Month Suspension. Reinstated 12/31/2003.
Points of Law A lawyer who submits false bills and timesheets to his firm, which are never sent to clients, in order to conceal his lack of new business, will be suspended.
Report/Opinion Download