Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 0
Attorney Name Anonymous,    
DBP Docket No. 132 DB 2002
Supreme Court Docket No. None
Disciplinary Counsel Cory John Cirelli
Counsel for Respondent Patrick M. Coyne
Decision Date 2003-09-04
Effective Date 2003-09-04
Case Digest Respondent represented a husband and wife and the wife's parents in an equity action brought against them by the wife's former employer, in which the employer claimed that the wife embezzled funds. Subsequent to Respondent's entry of appearance, he learned the wife admitted to law enforcement authorities, but not to her civil co-defendants, that she embezzled the funds. Respondent then assumed the representation of the wife in her criminal matter, where she entered of a plea of guilty to two counts of theft by unlawful taking or disposition. Thereafter, Respondent did not confer with the husband and the wife's parents about essential facts and excluded them from meaningful discussion of the effect of the wife's guilty plea on the civil matter. Respondent appeared with the wife on the date of the civil trial, but the remaining clients were not present because Respondent failed to notify them of the trial date. Respondent also attempted to withdraw his appearance for the other clients at the time of trial, but the court refused to grant the motion. The equity action was settled for $10,000 to be paid by the wife and husband. Respondent misrepresented to opposing counsel and the court that he had the authority to bind the husband to a settlement, although Respondent knew he had not consulted with the husband on the terms of the settlement, nor had he obtained his consent thereto. The Disciplinary Board ordered that Respondent be subjected to a summary Private Reprimand. Respondent did not avail himself of his right to request a formal proceeding before a hearing committee. Respondent appeared for the administration of the Private Reprimand, but challenged the Disciplinary Board's statement of certain facts pertinent to his misconduct. The Board referred the matter to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the prosecution of formal charges. After hearing on the circumstances of the attempt to administer the Private Reprimand, the hearing committee determined that the matter should be concluded by abbreviated procedure and recommended that Respondent receive the Private Reprimand as initially ordered.
Rule Violation(s) 1.2(a), 1.4(b), 1.7(b), 3.3(a)(1), 4.1(a) and 8.4(d).
Discipline Imposed Private Reprimand
Points of Law The hearing committee "unanimously agreed with the recommendation of Disciplinary Counsel that Respondent should be subject to and submit with docility to the original Private Reprimand and that no additional discipline is required."
Report/Opinion not available