Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 0
Attorney Name Anonymous,    
DBP Docket No. 13 and 114 DB 2000
Supreme Court Docket No. N/A
Disciplinary Counsel Anthony T. Verwey
Counsel for Respondent
Decision Date 2003-04-03
Effective Date 2003-05-03
Case Digest Respondent was the subject of four separate disciplinary charges which were consolidated for hearing. One charge involved neglect of client matters in a bankruptcy case wherein Respondent was retained, paid a fee and, thereafter, failed to perform any work on behalf of his clients resulting in the bankruptcy court entering an order directing Respondent to refund monies to the clients. In a second matter, Respondent was placed on inactive status by order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Despite being on notice of having been placed on inactive status, Respondent failed to comply with the filing and notice requirements imposed upon formerly admitted, inactive, attorneys. In a third matter, Respondent accepted a retainer and undertook the representation of a client after being placed on inactive status. As a result of his representation, Respondent was charged by the District Attorney with the unauthorized practice of law, a criminal offense, and entered an accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) agreement. In the final matter, Respondent was charged with falsely certifying on his ARD Agreement that he had never been placed on ARD or any pretrial probation without verdict when that representation was false and he knew it to be false when made. Respondent argued that his misconduct was mitigated by his long standing addiction to cocaine. He also argued that he was under no obligation to disclose a prior disposition on the ARD Agreement pursuant to the holding in Commonwealth v. Benn, 675 A.2d 261 (Pa. 1996). While the Board found violations of the Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement and the Rules of Professional Conduct, it also agreed with Respondent’s arguments in defense and mitigation.
Rule Violation(s) Rule 217(a), (b), (c), (d) and (e), Pa.R.D.E.; R.P.C. 1.3; 8.4(b) and (c)
Discipline Imposed Suspension – 5 years stayed in its entirety with 5 years probation with a sobriety monitor.
Points of Law When an attorney is not required to disclose information as a matter of law, there can be no violation based on such failure to disclose.
Report/Opinion not available