DIGEST OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY BOARD DECISIONS

Decisions of the Hearing Panels are subject to appeal or Supreme Court review within 30 days of issue. 

Decision No.

Case & PRB Docket Number

Violation Found

Sanction Imposed by Panel

Panel Decision Date

Summary

174

In re: Katherine Pope

PRB Docket

No. 2014-048

Supreme Court Docket

No. 2014-119

 

Reciprocal Two-Year Suspension

8/1/2014

Respondent is licensed to practice in New York and Vermont.  Her New York license was suspended for two years as a result of her conviction of identity theft in the third degree, a class A misdemeanor.  The Vermont Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline.  The Vermont Supreme Court’s decision appears at 2014 VT 94.

173

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket

No. 2014-124

Rule 1.15(f)

 

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

8/4/2014

Respondent disbursed trust funds at a real estate closing without confirming that the funds had been deposited to his trust account.  This caused the Respondent to violate the rule that prohibits lawyers from using one client’s funds to carry out another client’s business.

172

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket

No. 2014-193

Rule 1.15(f)

 

Admonition by Hearing Panel

6/16/2014

Respondent disbursed trust funds in connection with a real estate closing without first confirming that a wire transfer had reached his trust account.

171

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket

No. 2014-112

Rule 1.15(f)(2)

 

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

4/29/2014

Respondent maintained multiple trust accounts.  At a real estate closing, Respondent disbursed funds from a different trust account than the trust account into which the buyer’s funds had been deposited.  A hearing panel concluded that the Respondent violated the rule that prohibits lawyers from using funds held in trust for one person to carry out the business of another.

170

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket

No. 2013-228

Rule 1.15(a)(1)

 

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

4/22/2014

Respondent transferred funds from his operating account to his trust account in order to pay business expenses for his law firm.  In so doing, Respondent commingled his funds with client funds.

169

In re: W. Michael Nawrath

PRB Docket

Nos. 2014-030, 2014-099, 2014-154, 2014-158 and 2014-167

Supreme Court Docket No. 2014-074

 

Interim Suspension by Vermont Supreme Court

3/14/2014

On March 14, 2014, the Vermont Supreme Court ordered the immediate interim suspension of Mr. Nawrath’s law license.  The Order will remain in effect pending the resolution of Disciplinary Counsel’s ongoing investigation into Mr. Nawrath’s conduct.

167

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket

No. 2013.153

Rule 1.15(a)(1)

Rule 1.15(c)

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

3/11/2014

 

Adopted by Supreme Court on4/17/14

 

Respondent failed to regularly reconcile his pooled interest-bearing trust accounts, failed to maintain a central trust accounting system, and deposited unearned fees in his operating account instead of his pooled interest-bearing trust account.

166

In re: John Davis Buckley

PRB Docket

No. 2014.007

n/a

Petition to Transfer to active status

11/22/2013

On December 9, 2013, the Vermont Supreme Court transferred Mr. Buckley’s law license from disability inactive status to active status.  In so doing, the Court accepted the recommendation of a hearing panel of the Professional Responsibility Board that had issued following a reinstatement hearing.  As a condition of reinstatement, the Court ordered Mr. Buckley to be placed on probation for a period of one year and to satisfy all the necessary continuing legal education requirements.  Mr. Buckley’s license had been transferred to disability inactive status in 2009 pursuant to a stipulated agreement with Disciplinary Counsel.

165

In re: Janet Andrea

PRB Docket

No. 2013.200

n/a

Petition to Transfer to active status

11/4/2013

On November 12, 2013, the Vermont Supreme Court transferred Ms. Andrea’s law license from disability inactive status to active status.  In so doing, the Court accepted the recommendation of a hearing panel of the Professional Responsibility Board that had issued following a reinstatement hearing.  As a condition of reinstatement, the Court ordered Ms. Andrea to be placed on probation for a period of one year and to satisfy all the necessary continuing legal education requirements.  Ms. Andrea’s license had been transferred to disability inactive status in 2011 pursuant to a stipulated agreement with Disciplinary Counsel.

164

In re: PRB File No. 2013-089

Rule 1.3

Rule 1.4

Approval of Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

October 18, 2013

Respondent was assigned to represent a criminal defense client.  Respondent and Disciplinary Counsel stipulated that, for approximately eight months, the Respondent failed to respond to the client’s reasonable requests for information, failed to keep the client updated as to the status of his case, and failed to act with reasonable diligence on the client’s behalf.  A hearing panel accepted the stipulation, concluded that the Respondent had violated Rules 1.3 and 1.4 of the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct, and approved an Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

163

In re: PRB File No. 2013-049

Rule 1.15(a)(1) Rule 1.15(b)

Rule 1.15(d)

Approval of Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

October 17, 2013

An audit of the Respondent’s pooled interest bearing trust account revealed that the Respondent kept $1,000 of his firm’s money in the trust account under the mistaken impression that his bank required the firm to maintain that amount on deposit.  The panel concluded that this constituted an improper commingling in violation of Rules 1.15(a)(1) and 1.15(b).  The audit also revealed that the Respondent had approximately $5,000 in outstanding checks drawn on the trust account that were at least five years old and, further, that the trust account included funds held for several clients whose cases had been closed.  The panel concluded that this violated Rule 1.15(d).  The panel approved the Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel that the parties had presented via stipulation and joint recommendation.

162

In re Aaron Smith, Esq.

 

PRB Docket

No. 2012-183

 

SCT Court Docket No. 2013-285

 

Disbarment

6/17/2014

On July 18, 2014, the Vermont Supreme Court entered an order disbarring Aaron Smith.  A hearing panel of the Professional Responsibility Board had previously concluded that Mr. Smith should be disbarred as a result of his criminal conviction for the possession of child pornography. 2014 VT 77

 

161

In re Rosemary Macero, Esq.

n/a

Petition for Reinstatement

7/24/2013

On July 31, 2013, the Vermont Supreme Court reinstated Rosemary Macero to the Bar.  In so doing, the Court accepted the recommendation made by a hearing panel of the Professional Responsibility Board following a hearing on Ms. Macero’s Petition for Reinstatement.  As a condition of reinstatement, the Court ordered Ms. Macero to comply with § 8 of the Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.  Ms. Macero was suspended for one year by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in May of 2011.  The Vermont Supreme Court imposed a reciprocal suspension in June of 2011.

160

In re:  Anonymous Attorney

2013-194

Rule 1.7

Approval of Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

6/27/2013

Respondent failed to promptly identify a concurrent conflict of interest.  Specifically, Respondent simultaneously represented criminal defendants when one was the complaining witness in the other’s case.

159

In re: Anonymous Attorney

2013-156

Rule 1.4(a)(3)

Rule 1.4(a)(4)

Approval of Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

6/24/2013

The Respondent went more than four months without updating his client as to the status of an eviction that Respondent was handling for the client-landlord. During that time frame, Respondent failed to reply to numerous of the client’s reasonable requests for information about the case.

158

In re: Anonymous Attorney

2013-024

Rule 1.3

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel and 9 Months Probation

4/1/2013

Respondent failed to promptly attend to a worker’s compensation case.

157

In re: George Harwood

2013-032

n/a

Petition for Reinstatement

3/25/2013

On March 25, 2013, the Vermont Supreme Court reinstated George Harwood to the Bar.  In so doing, the Court accepted the recommendation of a hearing panel of the Professional Responsibility Board that had issued following a reinstatement hearing.  As a condition of reinstatement, the Court ordered Mr. Harwood to comply with the requirements of § 8 of the Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.  Mr. Harwood had been disbarred in 2006 for violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct that related to the misappropriation of funds from his trust account.

156

In re: Timothy A. O’Meara

PRB Docket No. 2013-063

A.O. 9, Rule 20.

Reciprocal Disbarment

3/6/13

After the Respondent was disbarred in New Hampshire, the Vermont Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline, disbarring him in Vermont pursuant to Rule 20(D) of Administrative Order 9.  Respondent was disbarred in New Hampshire after having been found to have conveyed a settlement offer that he knew he did not have his client’s authority to make, intentionally falsifying the date of a letter purporting to withdraw the settlement offer,  violating the conflict rules by letting his personal interest in receiving a fee materially limit his duties of loyalty and competence to his client, and knowingly making a false statements of fact at a fee arbitration hearing in which he sought a fee higher than what his clients had agreed to pay.  The Vermont Supreme Court’s decision appears at 2013 VT 17.

155

In re:

William MaGill

Supreme Court Docket. No.

2012-449;

PRB Docket No. 2012-230

 

 

Rule 1.3, Rule 1.4, Rule 1.15(a)(1), Rule 1.15A, Rule 8.4(c).

Disbarment on Consent

 

n/a

On April 28, 2014, the Supreme Court entered an order disbarring the Respondent.   Supreme Court E.O. 2012-449.  2014 VT 47.  Disciplinary Counsel investigated allegations that Respondent had neglected client matters, failed to communicate with clients, commingled funds, failed to maintain proper trust account records, and engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, deceit, and misrepresentation.  Respondent submitted an affidavit of resignation in which he acknowledged that the material facts upon which the investigation was predicated were true and that he could not successfully defend against them.   See A.O. 9, Rule 19.

154

In re: William E. Simendinger

PRB Docket No. 2013-047

Rule 1.1

Rule 3.1

Rule 4.1

n/a

n/a

On October 23, 2012, the Supreme Court entered an order immediately suspending the Respondent’s license on an interim basis pending the resolution of a disciplinary investigation into his conduct.  The Court concluded that the Respondent violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and posed a substantial threat of harm to the public. In particular, the Court found that the Respondent had filed pro se pleadings in the Superior Court that contained knowing false statements of fact and that, taken together, were neither minimally competent nor reasonably based in fact or law. 

153

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket No. 2012-129

Rule 1.3

Approval of Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

8/20/12

Respondent violated Rule 1.3 of the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct by failing to act with reasonable diligence on behalf of the executor of an Estate.  A hearing panel concluded that taking two years to prepare a final accounting and obtain a tax clearance amounted to an “unreasonable delay.” No review by Court undertaken.

152

In re: Richard A. Scholes

PRB Docket Nos. 2011-006, 2011-053, 2011-225

Rule 1.3

Public Reprimand

6/18/12

A hearing panel of the Professional Responsibility Board publicly reprimanded the Respondent after concluding that he failed to act with reasonable diligence while representing bankruptcy clients.  The neglect involved three separate clients and spanned several years.  The Supreme Court adopted the panel’s decision as a final order of the Court.  In re Scholes, 2012 VT 56 (July 10, 2012).

151

In re: David Pellenz

PRB Docket No. 2012-189

Rule 8.4(b)

Reciprocal Disbarment

n/a

Respondent had been disbarred by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.  That disbarment was predicated on Respondent’s guilty plea to the crime of hindering apprehension or prosecution.  The criminal charge arose from wiretap evidence of Respondent attempting to induce a witness to withhold and/or change testimony in a criminal prosecution of Respondent’s client.  Respondent was reciprocally disbarred by E.O. 2012-088 of the Vermont Supreme Court on May 7, 2012.

 

150

 

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket No. 2012-092

 

Rule 1.15(f)(1)

Rule 1.15(f)(2)

Approval of Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

(Vacated)

 

2/2/12

9/20/2012

In February of 2012, a hearing panel issued a decision in which it approved an Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel after concluding that the Respondent had violated Rule 1.15 of the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct by disbursing trust funds in reliance upon the deposit of a client’s personal check that exceeded $1,000.00.  The client’s check was not honored, causing checks drawn on the respondent’s trust account to be presented against insufficient funds.  Neither party appealed.  However, the Supreme Court ordered review on its own motion.  On appeal, it became clear that the parties’ original request to approve an Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel included a Stipulation of Facts that was based on a mistaken understanding of what had occurred.  Therefore, the Court agreed to the parties’ request to remand the matter to the hearing panel.  Then, the Panel granted the parties’ request to reject the Stipulation of Facts.

149

 In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket Nos. 2011-145 and 177

 Rule 1.3

Rule 8.4(d)

Admonition by Hearing Panel

 1/18/12

Respondent neglected an estate of which she had been appointed administrator and she failed to cooperate with disciplinary investigation by Disciplinary Counsel.  No review by Court undertaken.

148

 In re: William M. MaGill

PRB Docket No. 2011-157

 Rule 1.3 & Rule 1.4(a)

in effect prior to 9/1/09 and

Rule 1.3, Rule 1.4(a)(3) & Rule 1.4(a)(4)

that went into effect 9/1/09

Public Reprimand

 1/17/12

Respondent neglected client by failing to take any action over a 4 year period to close an estate  and for failing to respond to the executrix’ requests for information. No review by Court undertaken.

147

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket No. 2010-104

Rule 1.15A(f)(1)

Rule 1.15A(f)(2)

Approval of Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

1/6/12

Respondent disbursed funds from his client trust account on the erroneous assumption that wired funds had been deposited in the account, thus disbursing uncollected funds and using other clients’ money without their authority. No review by Court undertaken.

146

In re: Xavier a/k/a/ Susan Rockwell

PRB Docket No. 2011-097

Rule 8.4(d) Conduct prejudicial to the Administration of Justice and a substantial threat of serious harm to the public per A.O. 9. Rule 18.

n/a

n/a

On November 29, 2011, the Supreme Court entered its final order on the petition for interim suspension, finding Respondent engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public, and ordering Respondent suspended from the practice of law on an immediate interim basis.

145

In re: Elizabeth Hibbitts

PRB Docket No. 2010-227

Rule 1.15A(a)(1)

Rule 1.15A(a)(2)

Rule 1.15A(a)(3)

Rule 1.15(a)

Public Reprimand

1 Year Probation

11/3/11

Respondent reprimanded and placed on probation for inadequate trust accounting practices which resulted in an account overdraft and for failing to maintain her own funds separate from those of her clients. No review by Court undertaken.

144

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket No. 2011-046

Rule 8.4(c)

Approval of Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

10/14/11

Respondent negligently engaged in misrepresentation which adversely reflected on his fitness to practice law by preparing documents in 2006 memorializing agreements reached several years earlier without indicating on the face of the documents that they were created after the fact. No review by Court undertaken.

143

In re: Janet Van Derpoel-Andrea

PRB Docket No. 2010-132

 

Transfer to Disability/Inactive Status

n/a

Respondent transferred to Disability/Inactive Status effective immediately per E.O. 2011-237 of the Supreme Court dated July 7, 2011

142

In re: Rosemary A. Macero

PRB Docket No. 2011-213

 

Reciprocal Suspension

Vermont Supreme Court entered a reciprocal disciplinary order, suspending Respondent for one year following impositionof a one year suspension by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. E.O. 2011-152 of the Vermont Supreme Court on June 20, 20112011 VT 67.

141

In re: William McCarty

PRB Docket No. 2005-084

Rule 1.2(d)

Rule 4.1

Rule 4.4

Rule 8.4(c)

Rule 8.4(h)

Six Month Suspension

Recommended by Hearing Panel

 

Supreme Court imposes 3 month suspension

6/9/11

5/8/12

On June 28, 2013, the Supreme Court suspended Respondent for three months, effective immediately.  The Court affirmed a hearing panel’s findings that  the Respondent violated Rules 1.2(d), 4.1, 4.4, 8.4(c), 8.4(d), and 8.4(h) by drafting and serving upon a tenant documents that the Respondent knew had no legal basis and were improperly used to evict the tenant without following the statutory process.  However, the Court declined to accept the panel’s recommendation that a six-month suspension issue.  2013 VT 47.

140

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket No. 2011-038

Rule 4.1

Approval of Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

6/6/11

Respondent provided opposing counsel with a curriculum vitae of his expert witness without clarifying that the lawyer had amended the document without the knowledge of the witness.  No Review by Court undertaken.

 

139

In re:  Melvin B. Neisner, Jr.

PRB Docket No. 2011-138

 n/a

Petition for Reinstatement

3/30/11

Respondent, who was suspended in 2009 for engaging in serious criminal conduct, was reinstated under probationary conditions including probation monitoring and donation of 200 hours of pro bono legal services.  E.O. 2011-127, 2011 VT 35 (April 5, 2011). See also decision 119 below.

138

In re:  Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket No. 2010-007

Rule 1.15(C)(a)(1999), now 1.15(A)(a)(2009)

Approval of Admonition by Disciplinary counsel

3/14/11

Respondent failed to deposit client funds into a client trust account.

 

137

 

In re:

PRB Docket No. 2010-162

 

 Rules 1.3, 1.4(a)(3) and 8.4(d)

Admonition

 

2/8/11

Respondent failed to do any work on case he had accepted, failed to keep any appointments to meet with client, and failed to co-operate with investigation by Disciplinary Counsel. No review by Court undertaken

 

136

 

In re:  Jasdeep Pannu

PRB Docket No. 2011-029

 

 Rules 3.4(c), 3.4(e) and 8.4(d)

Public Reprimand

 

1/31/11

Respondent attempted to introduce prejudicial evidence in a criminal case, contrary to the trial court’s previous ruling as well as Vermont’s Rape Shield Law, resulting in a mistrial. No review by Court undertaken.

 

135

 

In re:  Mark Tapper

PRB Docket Nos. 2010.259, 2011.014, 2011.032, 2011.057, 2011.077, 2011.078, 2011.081, 2011.129

 

 

Transfer to Disability Inactive Status

 

4/19/11

Following an immediate interim suspension order issued on October 18, 2010 and a subsequent finding by a hearing panel that Respondent is disabled, the Supreme Court transferred respondent to disability inactive status on April 28, 2011, suspending pending disciplinary proceedings until further order and appointing  a trustee to protect respondent’s clients. Supreme Court  E.O. 2010-371.

133

In re: Michael Herman

PRB Docket No. 2011-027

Transferred to Disability/Inactive Status

Respondent transferred to Disability/Inactive Status effective immediately per E.O. 2010-406 of the Supreme Court dated November 2, 2010.

132

In re: Michael Nawrath

PRB Docket No. 2009-166

None

None

6/23/10

Upon stipulation of parties, a hearing panel dismissed the petition of misconduct without prejudice after Respondent provided information indicating that the charges could not be proven by clear and convincing evidence. No review by Court undertaken.

131

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket No. 2010.143

Rules 1.3 and 1.4

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

 5/17/2010

Respondent failed to provide a written title opinion to client until nearly 6 months after closing and failed to respond to client’s emails, phone calls, or letter requesting contact.  No review by Court undertaken.

130

In re: Melvin Fink

PRB Docket No. 2008.132

Rule 1.5(c)

Rule 8.4(a)

Public Reprimand

Probation (12 month minimum)

4/27/2010

Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Respondent and placed him on probation for knowingly and negligently failing to secure a written contingency fee agreement in a personal injury case and attempting to charge an unreasonable fee of 12% of recovery, over and above chief counsel’s standard one-third, for doing nothing more than facilitating communications as local counsel. 2011 VT 42 (April 15, 2011).

129

In re: Anonymous Attorney

PRB Docket Nos. 2010-048 &

2010-147

Rule 1.15(d)(2) in effect prior to 9/1/09 and

Rule 1.15(f)(2) of rules that went into effect 9/1/09

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

 4/23/2010

On two occasions Respondent used client funds from IOLTA accounts in one bank to the benefit of clients whose funds were not in those accounts, thereby using client funds without authority to do so.  No review by Court undertaken.

 128

In re: Margaret Strouse PRB Docket No. 2008-207

Rule 8.4(c) 

Six Month Suspension 

 

Supreme Court imposes Public Reprimand

2/04/10

Respondent publicly reprimanded by the Vermont Supreme Court for violating Rule 8.4(c)(engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation) by deceiving her law firm about her ongoing romantic relationship with the husband of the firm’s divorce client, which relationship created a conflict of interest for the firm. Supreme Court E.O. 2010-053, 2011 VT 77 (July 15, 2011).

127

In re: Hansen PRB Docket No. 2009-198 

Rule 8.4(d)

Petitions Dismissed

8/9/10

Hearing Panel vacated earlier decision of February 4, 2010 suspending Respondent from the practice of law for failing to co-operate and granted Disciplinary Counsel’s Motion to dismiss the petition of misconduct. Appeal period expires September 9, 2010.

126

In re: John Darcy Toscano

Docket NO. 2009-114

Rules 1.15(d)(1) and 1.15(d)(2)

Public Reprimand and

1 Year Probation

11/4/09

Respondent permitted a bank to make automatic withdrawals from his trust account to pay debts of client without notice to Respondent, resulting in misuse of other client funds and inadequate accounting of disbursements.  Supreme Court dismissed Respondent’s appeal on February 16, 2010.

125

In re: Anonymous Attorney PRB Docket No. 2009-148

Rules 1.3 and 1.4

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

9/24/09

Respondent failed to communicate with his client and neglected to address her property tax adjustment claim, all in violation of Rules 1.3 and 1.4. Supreme Court has declined review.

124

In re: Buckley PRB Docket Nos. 2009-052 & 2009-143

Transfer to Disability/Inactive Status

9/30/09

Respondent transferred to Disability/Inactive Status per Entry Order

of the Supreme Court on September 30, 2009, effective immediately.  E.O. 2009-338.

123

In re: Anonymous Attorney PRB Docket No. 2009-117

Rules 1.9(a) and 1.7(b)

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

9/17/09

Summary - Respondent represented both victim and defendant in the same criminal prosecution in violation of the conflict of interest rules, 1.9(a) and 1.7(b). Supreme Court has declined review.

122

In re: Eileen Hongisto PRB Docket No. 2009-107

Rule 5.5(a)

Six Month Suspension

6/17/09

Respondent suspended for practicing law without a license. The Supreme Court affirmed the Hearing Panel’s decision, adding an additional condition that, upon application for reinstatement, Respondent must provide a detailed explanation for her lack of participation over the course of these proceedings. Consolidated with PRB Decision No. 111. 2010 VT 51 (June 3, 2010).

121

In re: Alan Sheredy PRB Docket No. 2008-139

Rules 1.15 and 1.15A

Public Reprimand

6/4/09

Respondent was publicly reprimanded for co-mingling client funds by depositing his own funds in his trust account in order to maintain a positive balance and for failing to reconcile trust accounts. No review by Court undertaken.

120

In re: Anonymous Attorney PRB Docket No. 2008-104

Rule 1.15(d)(2)

Admonition

2/26/09

For seven years, Respondent failed to make timely reconciliations of his client trust account.  No review by Court undertaken.

119

In re: Melvin B. Neisner PRB Docket No. 2008-080

Rule 8.4(b)

Panel’s sanction of 1 year suspension, 1 year probation following reinstatement increased by Supreme Court to 2 year suspension plus 200 hours of pro bono services.

10/09/09

Respondent engaged in serious criminal conduct involving felonious misrepresentation to a police officer and was suspended for 2 years, effective Jan 9, 2009, with one year probation and 200 hours pro bono legal services upon reinstatement.  2010 VT 102 (12/30/10)

118

In re: John Davis Buckley

2008-026

Rule 1.3

Public Reprimand

12/3/08

Respondent was publicly reprimanded for neglecting matters in three different courts by failing to comply with a magistrate’s order in Family Court, failing to request oral argument at the Supreme Court, and failing to attend a status conference in Superior Court. No review by Court undertaken.

117

In re: Martha Davis

2008-065

Rule 8.4(b)

Rule 8.4(h)

3 Months Suspension and 1 Year Probation

10/31/08

Respondent was suspended for three months and placed on probation for one year for possession of marijuana and marijuana cultivating equipment. No review by Court undertaken.

116

Unidentified Attorney

2007-003

Rule 1.3 (lack of diligence)

Rule 3.2 (failure to expedite litigation)

Admonition by

Conflict Disciplinary Counsel

10/21/08

After review on its own motion, the Supreme Court admonished attorney for neglecting to further litigation diligently due to attorney’s lack of experience in handling complex litigation, also noting that it is unacceptable for an attorney to cease work on a case pending receipt from client of compensation.  Vermont Supreme Court E.O. 2008-433 at 2009 VT 82 (August 20, 2009).

115

Unidentified Attorney

2007-244

Rule 1.15(a)

Rule 1.15A

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel & 6 Months Probation

8/21/08

Respondent was admonished for sloppy bookkeeping and failure to reconcile his trust account on a regular basis.  No review by Court undertaken.

114

Unidentified Attorney

2007-215

Rule 3.1

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

8/18/08

Hearing Panel held that Respondent violated Rule 3.1 when he indicated to the trial court that he had a letter documenting the date of a discovery request when, in fact, he did not have such a document.  No review by Court undertaken.

113

Unidentified Attorney 2008-129

Rule 8.4(c)

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

8/18/08

Respondent misrepresented to the Bankruptcy Court that client-husband had signed a repayment plan, in reliance upon client-wife’s representation to that effect, when, in fact, client-husband did not and would not do so. No review by Court undertaken.

112

In re:

Philip van Aelstyn

2004-026

Rule 8.4(b) and 8.4(h)

1 Year Suspension

7/28/08

Respondent was suspended for one year for engaging in serious criminal conduct, i.e., extortion and felonious stalking.  No review by Court undertaken.

111

In re: Eileen Hongisto

2007-082 et al.

Rules 1.3, 1.4 (a) and 1.16(d)

6 Months Suspension

5/8/09

Suspended for failure to cooperate with Disciplinary Counsel in three separate professional conduct complainants, neglect, failure to communicate, and failure to return a client’s file.  The Supreme Court affirmed the Hearing Panel’s decision, adding an additional condition that, upon application for reinstatement, Respondent must provide a detailed explanation for her lack of participation over the course of these proceedings. Consolidated with PRB Decision No. 122. 2010 VT 51 (June 3, 2010).

110

Unidentified Attorney

2007-047

(consolidated with 2007-046)

4.1

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

5/28/08

In a 3-2 decision, on November 25, 2009, the Vermont Supreme Court upheld a hearing panel’s admonition of two lawyers who made false statements of material fact when they told a witness they were not recording his telephone conversation when, in fact, they were.  E.O. 2008-214 & 2008-215.  2009 VT 115.

109

Unidentified Attorney

2007-046

(consolidated with 2007-047)

4.1

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

5/28/08

In a 3-2 decision, on November 25, 2009, the Vermont Supreme Court upheld a hearing panel’s admonition of two lawyers who made false statements of material fact when they told a witness they were not recording his telephone conversation when, in fact, they were.  E.O. 2008-214 & 2008-215.  2009 VT 115.

108

In re: Frederick Lane

2008-120

n/a

Petition for Reinstatement

4/17/08

Respondent readmitted to the Vermont Bar per E.O. 2008-153 of the Supreme Court on May 8, 2008.   2008 VT 73

107

Unidentified Attorney. 2007-242

Rules 1.3 (a lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client)

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

2/26/08

Respondent failed to promptly obtain a mortgage discharge after a real estate closing, completing the task some seven years after telling his client he would resolve the clouded title issue.  No review by Court undertaken.

106

In re: Edward Seager

2008-066

Transferred to Disability/Inactive Status

Respondent transferred to Disability/Inactive status per E.O. 2007-420 of the Supreme Court on November 5, 2007, effective immediately

105

Unidentified Attorney  2007-137

Rules 1.15(d)(2) and 1.3

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel and 1Year Probation

2/4/08

At a real estate closing, Respondent neglected to collect $10,000 deposit held by realtor, resulting in her disbursing more funds than she had collected, thereby using without authority the funds of other client on deposit in her lawyer trust account to pay the outstanding checks written at closing.   No review by Court undertaken.

104

Unidentified Attorney

2007-202

Rules 1.2(a) (failure to abide by client's objectives) and 1.3 (lack of diligence)

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

1/18/08

Respondent, hired to obtain financial records because of client’s suspicion that his sister had embezzled money from their late mother, took insufficient steps to obtain and review the complete records and failed to advise client of statute of limitations.  No review by Court undertaken.

103

In re: Lorin Duckman 2005-087

Rules 3.5(c) & 8.4(d)

Public Reprimand

6/26/07

Respondent was publicly reprimanded after engaging in contemptuous conduct before a tribunal during a sentencing hearing.  No review by Court undertaken.

102

In re: Matthew Colburn 2006-200, 2006-251 & 2006-267

Rules 1.3, 1.4(a), 8.4(c) & 8.4(h)

Three Year Suspension

6/18/07

Respondent purposefully avoided or misled three different clients by such actions as reporting the progress of court cases that did not exist and billing for work not done.

101

In re: Robert Farrar 

2006-189

Rule 1.15

Admonition by

Hearing Panel

12 Months Probation

(Publicly Reprimanded by Supreme Court)

5/30/07

(Supreme Court decision 3/12/08)

Vermont Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Respondent for regularly depositing non-client funds in his client trust account.  E.O. 2007-212 dated March 12, 2008.  2008 VT 31

100

In re: Mary Grady

2006-253, 2007-140, 2007-143, 2007-144 and 2007-176

Transferred to Disability/Inactive Status by Court on 4/12/07

10/17/07

Following hearing panel's determination that Respondent is unable to defend due to continuing health problems, the Supreme Court per E.O. 2006-524 dated November 30, 2007, deferred all pending disciplinary proceedings until Respondent's disability has been removed and she returns to active status.  Rule 21.B(1).

99

In re:

Christopher O. Reis

2004-195, 2006-080, 2006-153 & 2006-154

Transferred to Disability/Inactive Status by Court on 4/24/07

10/22/07

Following hearing panel’s determination that Respondent is unable to defend due to continuing health problems, the Supreme Court per E.O. 2006-242 dated November 5, 2007, deferred all disciplinary proceedings against Respondent pending Respondent’s return to active status.  Rule 21.B(1).  

98

In re:

W. Bradney Griffin

2007-071

Rule 8.4(d)

30 Days Suspension

followed by 90 Days Probation

4/11/07

Respondent's license suspended for 30 days, followed by 90 days of probation, for failing to respond to a petition of misconduct, in violation of V.R.P.C. 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.  No review by Court undertaken.

97

Unidentified Attorney

2006-172

Rule 1.3

Admonition by

Hearing Panel,

18 Months Probation and 13 conditions.

12/26/06

Respondent failed to record mortgages and pay money due in four separate real estate closings.   No review by Court undertaken.

96

In re: Mary Grady;

2006-253

Transferred to Disability/Inactive Status by Court on

4/12/07

12/14/06

10/17/07

See Decision 100 for final status.

95

Unidentified Attorney

2005-123

Rules 3.5(b)(1)

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

10/6/06

When opposing counsel was not present, Respondent solicited the legal opinion of a judge on matters pending before that judge.  No review by Court undertaken.

94

Unidentified Attorney

2006-015

Rules 1.4(a)

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

9/29/06

Respondent’s purposeful avoidance of her client’s 14 phone calls to her placed over a four month period violated the duty to communicate with one’s client.  No review by Court undertaken.

93

Unidentified Attorney

2006-241

Rules 1.15(e(1) and (2)

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

8/9/06

Respondent was disciplined for disbursing funds which she erroneously assumed had been wired to her trust fund following a real estate closing.  This failure to determine that funds were available or “collected funds” was in violation of Rules 1.15(d)(1) and (2).   No review by Court undertaken.

92

Unidentified Attorney

2006-167

None

Dismissed

7/13/06

The hearing panel dismissed a case where the parties had stipulated to a violation of V.R.P.C. 1.3, on the grounds that a single act of negligence does not breach the rules of professional conduct absent some compounding factor such as failure to communicate with client, or to take remedial action.  Supreme Court's E.O. dated May 2, 2007, affirms Hearing Panel's decision to dismiss2007 VT 50.

91

Unidentified Attorney

2006-127

Rules 8.4(d) and 8.4(h)

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

6/26/06

Respondent revealed confidential juvenile information in the course of a cross examination.  No review by Court undertaken.

90

Unidentified Attorney

2005-191

Rule 1.3

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

3/17/06

Respondent failed to file a notice of appearance and to comply with court’s scheduling order.  No review by Court undertaken

89

In re:

Andrew Lichtenberg

2006.141

Reciprocal Disbarment

2/28/06

Respondent, who had been disbarred by the Hawaii Supreme Court for misappropriation of client funds and other misconduct, was reciprocally disbarred by E.O. 2006-012 of the Vermont Supreme Court on February 28, 20062006 VT 21

88

In re: John Ruggiero

2005-058 and

2005-130

Disbarment on Consent

3/10/06

Respondent, having been convicted of mail fraud arising from a scheme to embezzle money from his trust account, was disbarred by Supreme Court following Respondent's resignation by affidavit. Supreme Court E.O. 2006‑154 entered on April 20, 2006.  2006 VT 39

87

In re: Thomas Daly

2006.001

Disbarment

3/10/06

Respondent, having been indicted for conspiracy to defraud, interstate transportation of stolen money, and making a false tax return, and having pled guilty to two counts, was disbarred by Supreme Court following Respondent’s resignation by affidavit. Supreme Court E.O. 2006-143 entered on April 20, 2006 was made retroactive to April 7, 2003, the date upon which his license to practice law was suspended.  2006 VT 32

86

Anonymous Attorney

2005.250

Rule 7.1

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

12/28/05

Respondent engaged in false and misleading advertising when she and her partner advertised themselves as the “County’s Premier Criminal Defense firm,” a statement which she cannot factually establish. See companion case PRB Decision 85.  No review by Court undertaken.

85

Unidentified Attorney 2005.188

Rule 7.1

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

12/28/05

Respondent engaged in false and misleading advertising when she and her partner advertised themselves as the “County’s Premier Criminal Defense firm,” a statement which she cannot factually establish.  See companion case PRB Decision 86.  No review by Court undertaken.

84

In re:

Brian P. Dempsey

2005-200 and

2005-201

Transferred to Disability/Inactive Status

Respondent transferred to Disability/Inactive Status per E.O. 2005-519 of the Supreme Court on December 20, 2005, effective immediately. 

83

In re George Harwood

PRB 2005-184

Rules 1.15(a), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d)

Disbarment

12/6/05

Respondent commingled and misappropriated client funds and made false statements in his sworn response to Disciplinary Counsel's trust account management survey.  Disbarred by Vermont Supreme Court.  E.O.  2005‑534.  2006 VT 15.

82

In re: Robert Farrar

PRB 2005.203

Rules 1.3 and 1.4(a)

Public Reprimand

11/28/05

Respondent failed to take any action on his client’s behalf from the time of the denial of an appeal by the Supreme Court in October 2001 through the conclusion of contempt proceedings in June 2002.  Respondent also failed to communicate with his client during a critical period of time. No review by Court undertaken.

81

Unidentified Attorney

2005-202

Dismissed by

Hearing Panel;

Referred to an Assistance Panel

11/22/05

Hearing Panel dismissed case and recommended referral to an Assistance Panel after finding that a single instance of a missed court date due to a calendaring error, without more, does not show a lack of “reasonable diligence or promptness” in violation of Rule 1.3.  No review by Court undertaken.

80

Unidentified Attorney

2004-132

Rules 1.3, 1.4(a) and 8.4(c)

Admonition by

Hearing Panel and

1 Year  Probation

8/18/05

Respondent neglected client matters, failed to communicate adequately, and deceived a client, for all of which, due to mitigating circumstances, he was admonished by the hearing panel.  No review by Court undertaken.

79

In re: Howard Sinnott

2002-240

Rules 8.4(b), 8.4(c), 8.4(d) and 8.4(h)

Disbarment

8/12/05

Respondent, having been convicted of interstate transportation of stolen property in violation of U.S.C. § 2341 by transmitting over $500,000 that he knew had been stolen, converted, or taken by fraud from clients, was disbarred by Supreme Court following Respondent’s resignation by affidavit. Supreme Court E.O. 2005-337 entered on August 25, 20052005 VT 109

78

Unidentified Attorney

2004-208

Rule 3.4(f)

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

9/30/05

Respondent was admonished for “requesting a person other than a client to refrain from voluntarily giving relevant information,” Rule 3.4(f), when, after opposing counsel wrote a letter to 31 of Respondent’s witnesses asking for an informal interview or a deposition, Respondent wrote to the witnesses stating that it was his client’s request “that you not speak with [opposing counsel] or anyone from his office in an informal interview.”  No review by Court undertaken.

77

In re:

E. Michael McGinn

2005-069, 2005-080 and 2005-094

Rules 8.4(b)(c)(d)(h)

Disbarment

6/16/05

Respondent misappropriated and diverted to his own use and benefit a portion of the funds that were entrusted to him in the course of his real estate practice.  In an attempt to cover up these embezzlements, Respondent used funds he received in connection with later transactions to pay out moneys owed on earlier transactions. Supreme Court E.O. 2005-237 accepts resignation on June 28, 2005.  2005 VT 71

76

In re:

Vaughan H. Griffin, Jr.

2004-122

Rule 8.4(c)

30 Months Suspension

5/12/05

During a fee dispute with a former client, Respondent created a fictitious fee agreement and forged his client’s signature to it, thereby creating a promise to pay which did not, in fact, exist. No review by Court undertaken.

75

In re: Robert Andres

2004-204

Rule 3.5(c)

Public Reprimand

3/28/05

Respondent made discourteous and inappropriate remarks about a judge in pleadings when he compared her to a crack cocaine user.  No review by Court undertaken.

74

Unidentified Attorney

2005-117

Rule 4.5

Admonition by Disciplinary Counsel

3/28/05

As part of his demand letter in a civil dispute, Respondent threatened to report the matter to the State’s Attorney if his settlement demand was not met.  No review by Court undertaken.

73

In re: 

James P. Carroll

2004-059

Rule1.3

Rule 1.4(a)

Public Reprimand by Hearing Panel

1/7/05

In a contested estate matter, Respondent failed to pursue his client’s case and failed to respond to his client’s inquiries and to keep his client informed over a three year period in which Respondent did little or nothing to advance the client’s case despite the client’s  83 or more phone calls to Respondent’s office,  most of which were not returned. No review by Court undertaken.

 

Digest of Decisions prior to Decision Number 73 (2004 and earlier)