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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 66377
Attorney Name Datsko , Patricia L.
DBP Docket No. 74 DB 2008
Supreme Court Docket No. 1501 DD No. 3
County Cambria
Disciplinary Counsel William R. Friedman
Counsel for Respondent Thomas A. Crawford, Jr.
Decision Date 2009-10-15
Effective Date 2009-11-14
Case Digest Respondent was charged with misconduct arising out of her mishandling of an estate, a real estate matter and her mishandling of her IOLTA account. The Disciplinary Board found that Respondent violated all of the Rules of Professional Conduct with which she was charged, except that the Board found that Respondent did not violate Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(c), stating that Respondent did not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. The Board found that Respondent’s representation of the executrix of an estate was “fraught with sloppiness and culminated in Respondent’s unwillingness to assume responsibilities for her actions.” In a separate real estate matter, the Board found that a “prompt refund to the clients would have resolved the matter…but Respondent’s continued retention of the funds after learning that the check had not been supplied to the clients was inexcusable.” Additionally, the Board found Respondent’s “mismanagement of her IOLTA account [to be] troubling…but the most problematic issue with the IOLTA account [was] Respondent’s reaction to the overdrafts and negative balances.” The Board stated that Respondent claimed no one lost any money, did not know why there was a shortage in the account and had yet to acknowledge her professional obligation to properly maintain the account. The Board found that although Respondent presented evidence in attempt to mitigate the discipline imposed, such evidence was not connected to the underlying misconduct and was not corroborated by her other witnesses.
Rule Violation(s) 1.1, 1.3, 1.15(a) [for conduct prior to 4/23/05], 1.15(b) [for conduct on or after 4/23/05], and 1.16(d),
Discipline Imposed Suspension for three years
Points of Law Failure to handle a client’s matter competently and promptly will subject a Respondent to discipline. Mismanagement of one’s IOLTA account will also subject a Respondent to discipline. For evidence to be sufficient to support a finding that it contributed to a Respondent’s misconduct, the evidence must be related to the underlying misconduct.
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