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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 0
Attorney Name Anonymous,    
DBP Docket No. 33 DB 2001
Supreme Court Docket No. N/A
County  
Disciplinary Counsel Edwin R. Frownfelter
Counsel for Respondent
Decision Date 2003-08-04
Effective Date 2003-09-04
Case Digest Respondent was charged in two cases. In one, she was charged with falsely affixing the signature of a lawyer with whom she shared office space to a title insurance application. Respondent’s own approval as a title agent had been suspended due to nonpayment of a premium. Respondent asked the other lawyer to serve as title agent for a real estate transaction, which the other lawyer agreed to do Later Respondent fixed the other lawyer’s name to a different title insurance application while the other lawyer was away on vacation. When the other lawyer was informed by her staff that Respondent had prepared an application in her name, she instructed Respondent not to do so. However, Respondent failed to correct the application and also failed to submit the title insurance premium on this account and one other for nearly two years, until she paid the premiums and obtained the policies after disciplinary complaints were filed. Respondent claimed that she believed she had implied authority to sign the other lawyer’s name to the application. In the second case, Respondent represented a client in a divorce matter. The client initially sought a property settlement, but directed Respondent to proceed with a divorce, but Respondent did not do so for ten months until she was discharged. The case was terminated by the prothonotary for inactivity. Respondent failed to notify successor counsel of the notice of intent to terminate and failed to return to successor counsel a praecipe to withdraw her appearance. Respondent had prior discipline consisting of an informal admonition and a private reprimand for similar conduct. In mitigation, she offered evidence that she suffered from depression and health problems during the time in question.
Rule Violation(s) Pa.R.P.C. 1.3; 1.4(a); 1.15(b); 1.16(a)(3); 1.16(d)
Discipline Imposed Suspension for six months, stayed by probation for six months under the supervision of a practice monitor.
Points of Law Signing another lawyer’s name to a title application is serious misconduct warranting public discipline.
Report/Opinion not available