In re Bernard Kansky, No. BD-2013-085: Massachusetts Attorney Suspended after Intentionally Altering a Court Issued Document

A single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), has entered a judgment suspending a Boston attorney for a period of three months, after finding that he violated the Massachusetts Rules of Professional ConductIn the matter of Bernard Kansky, a lawyer represented three of five siblings, who were all beneficiaries of their father’s estate.  The father had a retirement account for postal workers, which was not an asset of the estate, but provided that each child was entitled to an equal share of the funds in the account.

The attorney’s clients claimed that the other two children owed money to the estate, which they would likely fail to re-pay if their shares of the retirement account were distributed directly to them.  In an attempt to prevent this from occurring, the attorney sent two misleading letters to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (“FRTIB”), including attaching an altered copy of a temporary restraining order.  Additionally, the attorney misled a Probate and Family Court when he failed to inform a judge that the co-administratrix of the estate had opposed an ex parte motion the attorney filed with the court.

The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (“BBO”) instituted disciplinary proceedings, conducted a hearing on the matter, and recommended that the attorney be suspended for three months.  Justice Cordy of the SJC noted that the attorney’s conduct did not appear to cause any harm or result in any monetary or personal benefit to the attorney, but his actions nonetheless violated of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct.  Thus, the Court adopted the Boards’s recommendation and suspended the attorney.

Decision:  In re Bernard Kansky

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