Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 60749
Attorney Name Goldin-Didinsky, a/k/a Ciborowski, Sharon
DBP Docket No. 87 DB 2003
Supreme Court Docket No. 969 DD No. 3
County Out of State
Disciplinary Counsel Edwin R. Frownfelter
Counsel for Respondent None
Decision Date 2004-12-13
Effective Date 2005-01-13
Case Digest Respondent was admitted in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She was transferred to inactive status for failure to file an annual registration statement or to pay the annual fee in 1995. She has never been reinstated to active status. She resided in New Jersey, where she was employed in a family business. She did not maintain a law office in either state. In 2001, she communicated with court officials in Pennsylvania regarding two cases. In one case, she wrote to a District Justice stating that she represented a litigant in a case before the District Justice, and to counsel for the opposing party making certain arguments about the substance of the case. She also signed a Notice of Appeal by which a judgment against her alleged client was appealed to the Court of Common Pleas. Opposing counsel filed a complaint and a petition to release rent paid into escrow, which were served upon Respondent as counsel of record, but no answer to either was filed. A default judgment was entered against Respondentís client. In another case, Respondent sent a letter by fax to a District Justice, stating that she represented a client in a summary criminal case, and that her client would plead not guilty. She sent a subsequent fax requesting continuance of the hearing. The District Justiceís office sent a letter continuing the matter until a later date to Respondent, but the letter was returned as sent to an invalid address. Neither Respondent nor the client appeared for the rescheduled hearing, and the client was found guilty. The client appealed the conviction on a pro se basis, but failed to pursue his appeal. In several of these letters, Respondent used a Pennsylvania office address. This address was actually that of an accountant who had discussed renting space to Respondent, but Respondent did not follow up on that discussion and never opened an office in Pennsylvania. The letters failed to identify Respondentís inactive status in Pennsylvania. Respondent failed to file an answer to the petition for discipline, and the facts alleged in the petition were deemed admitted. Respondent did not attend the hearing but was contacted by the Hearing Committee over the telephone. She advised the Hearing Committee that she became involved in the two matters only as favors to friends, that she was employed in a nonlegal job, that she was going through a difficult divorce and caring for sick children, and that she had no intention of practicing law in the foreseeable future.
Rule Violation(s) RPC 5.5(b), 7.1(a), 7.5(a), 7.5(b), 8.4(c), 8.4(d), Pa. RDE 217(d)
Discipline Imposed Suspension for one year and one day
Points of Law An attorney who communicates with Pennsylvania court officials or attorneys about the subject matter of cases pending in the Pennsylvania court system is practicing law in Pennsylvania, and if that attorney is not on active status, she is engaged in unauthorized practice of law in Pennsylvania. An attorney who engages in unauthorized practice of law while on inactive status and who uses a false Pennsylvania office address on letterhead will be suspended for a period long enough to require a formal order of reinstatement.
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