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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 58607
Attorney Name Coleman II, Thomas Joseph
DBP Docket No. 98 DB 2003
Supreme Court Docket No. 1000 DD No. 3
County Out of State
Disciplinary Counsel Harold E. Ciampoli, Jr.
Counsel for Respondent James C. Schwartzman
Decision Date 2005-04-19
Effective Date 2005-05-19
Case Digest Respondent, a New Jersey attorney, was placed on inactive status in Pennsylvania in 1993 for failure to pay his annual fee. Respondent also did not comply with his CLE requirements. In November 2001, Respondent entered into an arrangement with a New Jersey attorney whose practice concentrated on performing foreclosure and bankruptcy services for mortgage brokers and investors. Respondent agreed to sign pleadings and other litigation-related documents as attorney of record for the plaintiff in Pennsylvania cases. In 2002 Respondent signed hundreds of such pleadings representing that he was a member in good standing in Pennsylvania. Both the Hearing Committee and the Disciplinary Board recommended a suspension of one year and one day. Three board members dissented and recommended a two year suspension. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, by order dated April 19, 2005, suspended Respondent for a period of two years.
Rule Violation(s) RPC 1.16(a)(1) ; 5.5(b) ; 7.1(a); 7.5(a); 7.5(b); 8.4(c); 8.4(d); Pa.R.D.E. 217(d)(j)
Discipline Imposed Two year suspension
Points of Law The dissent noted that recommendations for violations of Pa. R. D.E. 217 generally appear to be for a one year and one day suspension regardless if the violations occur over a short period of time or over an extended period of time. The dissent argued that this case was an appropriate one in which to recommend a suspension greater than one year and one day based upon the length of time involved, the number of violations, respondentís acknowledgement that he knew he was on inactive status and respondentís lack of candor with the Hearing Committee. The Supreme Court adopted the dissentís recommendation and suspended respondent for two years.
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