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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 58426
Attorney Name Bowen, Michael G.
DBP Docket No. 10 and 28 DB 2003
Supreme Court Docket No. 960 DD No. 3
County Bucks
Disciplinary Counsel Suzy S. Moore
Counsel for Respondent Pro Se
Decision Date 2004-10-22
Effective Date 2004-11-21
Case Digest Respondent was charged with neglect, failure to communicate, failure to account and failure to refund unused fees paid in advance which were not earned in six separate charges involving six separate client matters. The cases involved bankruptcy and IRS compromise matters. Respondent’s pattern of misconduct included taking a fee up front for representation, taking preliminary steps and then failing to take action to complete the matters and failing to communicate with the clients. Respondent failed to refund monies to the clients and failed to provide an accounting of services rendered. Respondent gave fee agreements to his clients and maintained that he charged “flat fees”. The fee agreements did not contain any language indicating that the fees were nonrefundable. Respondent did not stipulate to the misconduct. At the hearing, ODC put on numerous fact witnesses and each of the clients. Respondent presented only his testimony. Respondent’s mitigation included his self reporting of his son’s health problems, his wife’s medical problems and his own medical condition including allergies, asthma and undiagnosed depression. Respondent’s history of discipline included a private reprimand for the same misconduct and same rule violations. The Hearing Committee and Board recommended a one-year and one day suspension. While Respondent did not file a Brief to the Committee or Exceptions to the Committee’s report, he filed a Petition for Review with the Court. It was a short petition challenging the witnesses’ testimony and advising that he had closed his private practice and had accepted a position with a private company. Respondent prayed to keep his bar membership to finish up some cases and as part of his employment. ODC respondend. The Court, without opinion, suspended Respondent for one year and one day.
Rule Violation(s) 1.1; 1.3; 1.4(a) and (b); 1.15(b), 1.16(d)
Discipline Imposed Suspension for one year and one day
Points of Law Respondents who engage in a pattern of neglect, failure to communicate, failure to account and failure to refund unused fees, with a history of discipline for repeatedly violating the same rules, will receive a suspension requiring reinstatement proceedings. It is not necessary to have misrepresentation to get a suspension requiring reinstatement proceedings.
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