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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 16046
Attorney Name Rainone, Sebastian M.
DBP Docket No. 60 DB 2004
Supreme Court Docket No. 1164 DD No. 3
County Philadelphia
Disciplinary Counsel Harriet R. Brumberg
Counsel for Respondent Larry M. Keller
Decision Date 2006-12-21
Effective Date 2007-01-20
Case Digest During a four year time frame, Respondent mishandled fiduciary funds in four matters, converting over $26K to his own use. Respondent also neglected one client matter and filed false attorney registration statements. Respondent, who had no prior record of discipline and offered no mitigation evidence at his disciplinary hearing, was disbarred for his misconduct. A novel ancillary issue arose during the course of the disciplinary proceeding. Respondent entered into a signed, counseled stipulation of fact and law at the prehearing conference. Respondent subsequently terminated his counsel, hired new counsel, and attempted to withdraw from the stipulation. The Hearing Committee found that the stipulation was not a product of fraud, accident, or mistake and accepted the stipulation into evidence. Following oral argument on Respondentís Brief on Exceptions, the Disciplinary Board appointed a Special Master to hear testimony regarding the validity of the stipulation. After an evidentiary hearing, the Special Master upheld the validity of the stipulation and concluded that the Hearing Committee properly accepted the knowingly and voluntarily entered stipulation into evidence. Neither the Disciplinary Board nor the Supreme Court disturbed the Special Masterís conclusion.
Rule Violation(s) RPC: 1.15(a); 1.15(b); 1.3; 1.4(a); 1.4(b); 4.1(a); and 8.4(c).
Discipline Imposed Disbarment
Points of Law The Disciplinary Board found that Respondent was not fit to practice law because Respondent: lied to his clients; failed to make prompt restitution of funds owed; presented no evidence that he has taken remedial measures to ensure that client funds are properly handled; failed to express recognition of his wrongdoing and remorse for his misconduct; and did not present evidence to assure the Board that Respondentís misconduct would not occur in the future. The Disciplinary Board noted that ďRespondentís background [being a business professor with a masterís degree in taxation] makes the current misconduct all the more astonishing in its gravity.Ē
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