The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently entered an order suspending an attorney for violations of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. In the Matter of Priscilla F. Arnott, an attorney was retained by the children of an elderly woman to obtain MassHealth Benefits on her behalf. After the attorney prepared and submitted an application for benefits, MassHealth requested that she provide additional information within two weeks. The attorney failed to meet the deadline and the application was denied. The attorney appealed the denial but still did not provide the requested information. Therefore, her appeal was denied and the attorney subsequently missed the deadline to vacate the dismissal.
Articles Posted in Legal Malpractice Issues
Maling v. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, SJC-11800: No Conflict of Interest in Concurrent Representation of Competitors by Different Law Firm Offices
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently held that the simultaneous representation of business competitors by attorneys in different offices of the same law firm does not constitute a per se conflict of interest. In Maling v. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP, the client hired a law firm’s Boston office to secure patents for his screwless eyeglass invention. After successfully obtaining the patents, the client discovered that the law firm’s Washington, D.C. office represented a competitor seeking a patent for its own screwless eyeglass technology.
Graora v. Fletcher Tilton and Whipple, 87 Mass.App.Ct. 1124: Client Missed Deadline to File Legal Malpractice Case
The Massachusetts Court of Appeals recently upheld a lower court’s decision, dismissing a legal malpractice action on summary judgment, because the statute of limitation had expired on the claim. In Graora v Fletcher Tilton and Whipple, an individual, who was injured in a motor vehicle accident, hired a law firm to represent him in a personal injury action against the other driver.
In Re: Timothy M. Mauser, No. BD-2015-045: Massachusetts Attorney Received Three Months Stayed Suspension
The Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently approved a three month suspension of a Massachusetts attorney for violating several Rules of Professional Conduct. In the Matter of Timothy M. Mauser, a husband and wife hired an attorney to review their bankruptcy proceedings, after they discovered certain tax liens had not been discharged.
In Re: John H. Wyman, No. BD-2015-043: Massachusetts Attorney Disbarred for Mishandling Client Funds
The Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently accepted the resignation of a Massachusetts attorney, who misappropriated proceeds from the sale of real estate. In the matter of John H. Wyman, an attorney was hired to probate a will, which stated that real estate owned by the decedent was to be devised to a Florida charity. The charity informed the attorney that it wished to sell the property and use the proceeds to further its charitable mission.
In Re: Orlando Dimambro, No. BD-2015-008: Massachusetts Attorney Suspended for Failure to Keep Client Informed
The Supreme Judicial Court recently suspended a Boston, Massachusetts attorney for violating legal ethics rules. In the matter of Orlando Dimambro, a brother and sister hired an attorney to represent them in a negligence claim against an electric company, after a manhole cover exploded underneath their car, injuring them.
In Re: Kirk Y. Griffin No. BD-2013-081: Massachusetts Court Disbars Attorney for Misuse of Client Funds
The Supreme Judicial Court has recently disbarred a Boston, Massachusetts. In the matter of Kirk Y. Griffin, an attorney admitted to using client funds for personal expenses over a period of eight years. After learning of the attorney’s conduct, the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (“BBO”) initiated an investigation and then filed a petition for discipline against the attorney.
Resnick v. Baker, No. 13-P-234: Massachusetts Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Legal Malpractice Suit
The Massachusetts Court of Appeals, located in Boston, has affirmed a judgment dismissing a legal malpractice claim against a Massachusetts attorney. In Resnick v Baker, a client hired an attorney to represent him in a property dispute. The attorney obtained a favorable result for the client, but failed to timely file a motion seeking payment of the client’s attorney’s fees. The judge granted the opposition’s motion to strike the request for fees.
Canha v. Gubellini, No. 12-P-923: Massachusetts Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of Legal Malpractice Action
The Massachusetts Court of Appeals, located in Boston, affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice action brought against a Massachusetts attorney. In Canha v. Gubellini, a client hired an attorney to represent her in a legal malpractice action against her former lawyer.
Scanlon v. Dukess, No. 13-P-495: Massachusetts Court of Appeals Affirms Summary Judgment for Attorney in Legal Malpractice Action
The Massachusetts Court of Appeals, located in Boston, affirmed summary judgment in favor of an attorney in a legal malpractice case. In Scanlon v. Dukess, a real estate investor sold a property in Brockton, Massachusetts and sought to purchase a replacement property in order to defer capital gains tax on the sale, which is permitted by federal statute 26 U.S.C. § 1031 and is known as a ‘1031 exchange’.
Under that statute, the investor had to identify to the IRS possible replacements within 45 days of the sale of the Brockton property and then complete the purchase within 180 days. The investor listed three properties, but only one in Taunton, which was leased by a drugstore, qualified for a 1031 exchange.
After the 45 days had passed, the investor consulted his long time attorney about the purchase of the Taunton property. The attorney advised him that he would have to assume the existing lease, but failed to inform him that the lease did not contain a condemnation clause, which would prevent the drugstore from sharing in the proceeds of an eminent domain taking. The investor purchased the property on the final day of the 180 day period.