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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 28044
Attorney Name Siegler, Jr., Charles Elias
DBP Docket No. 142 DB 1999
Supreme Court Docket No. 667 DD No. 3
County Lehigh
Disciplinary Counsel Suzy S. Moore
Counsel for Respondent Samuel C. Stretton
Decision Date 2001-05-08
Effective Date 2001-06-07
Case Digest Respondent was charged with neglect, failure to communicate and misrepresentation in three separate charges involving three separate client matters. Two of the cases involved personal injuries received in automobile accidents, and one case involved injuries sustained from dental treatment. In each matter Respondent took initial steps to represent the client, including filing a civil complaint and/or filing a writ with the Court of Common Pleas. Thereafter, Respondent failed to participate meaningfully in discovery and/or take any further action in the cases. One case was dismissed with prejudice, another case was dismissed by a summary judgment, and the last was dismissed by a judgment of non pros. During the course of representation, Respondent failed to initiate communication and failed to truthfully respond to status requests by the clients. In each of the cases Respondent misrepresented the true status of the case, and in one charge, after the case had been non prossed, Respondent told the client he was waiting for a trial date. Respondent had a history of discipline of three informal admonitions. Each of the admonitions resulted from Respondentís failure to file an appellant brief in a case assigned to him as conflicts counsel. At the hearing, Respondent presented limited mitigation testimony. The mitigating factors included health problems, marital problems, and secretarial problems. ODC established that each of these problems did not occur until the very end of representation. Respondent presented a tentative plan to improve office procedures at the hearing. The hearing committee recommended a suspension for a period of six months. The Supreme Court without opinion entered a suspension order for a period of one year and one day.
Rule Violation(s) 1.1; 1.3; 1.4(a) and (b); 8.4(c)
Discipline Imposed Suspension for one year and one day
Points of Law Respondents who engage in a pattern of neglect, failure to communicate, misrepresentation. and lack of competence, and who have a history of discipline for repeatedly violating the same rule, will receive a suspension requiring reinstatement proceedings. The presentation of a plan to be implemented in a respondentís office by a respondent for the first time at a disciplinary hearing will not carry much mitigatory weight.
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