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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 0
Attorney Name Anonymous,
DBP Docket No. 18 DB 2003
Supreme Court Docket No.
County
Disciplinary Counsel Edwin W. Frese Jr.
Counsel for Respondent None
Decision Date 2005-07-20
Effective Date 2005-08-20
Case Digest Respondent failed to timely file PA Inheritance Tax Returns for two decedentsí Estates and failed to timely file a federal Estate Tax Return in one of them resulting in the imposition of interest and penalties totaling almost $118,000 plus about $24,000 in additional attorney fees. Respondent also failed to respond to numerous calls from his client and when he did speak to her repeatedly promised the returns would be done in a day or two. After the client discharged the Respondent, he ignored for a number of months the clientís demand for the return of the files, an accounting, and the funds advanced to pay the taxes. Using the abbreviated procedure, because the Respondent had no disciplinary record, the Hearing Committee initially recommended a private reprimand. However, the Board remanded for a full hearing including evidence regarding the issue of restitution to the client for the interest and penalties the one Estate had to pay. The Respondent testified that he had malpractice coverage and had faxed a claim to his provider but did not hear back from them and made no further inquiry. While the Hearing Committee directed the Respondent to submit written proof from his malpractice carrier concerning whether it agreed to provide coverage, he never provided such proof and the Hearing Committee found his testimony regarding malpractice coverage not credible. Respondent settled the Estateís civil claim against him by personally paying $97,000. The Hearing Committee recommended a public censure.
Rule Violation(s) 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a) and (b), 1.16(a)(3) and (d).
Discipline Imposed 1 year suspension stayed with 1 year probation with a practice monitor.
Points of Law The Respondentís failure to take any action on his own to settle his clear civil liability to his client and his lack of candor regarding malpractice insurance coverage to the Hearing Committee were aggravating factors.
Report/Opinion not available