A Massachusetts attorney has been suspended indefinitely as the result of two claims of misconduct, including falsifying information to the FBI and forging real estate documents. Specifically, in April of 2006 and January of 2007, the attorney met with FBI agents and alleged that his bank had “misdirected” approximately $88,000 from his account. The attorney furnished several documents to the FBI, which were found to have been fabricated. The attorney pleaded guilty to criminal charges for this misconduct on October 29, 2007, and was sentenced to two years probation, which he failed to disclose to bar counsel, as required under S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 12(8) and Mass. R. Prof. Conduct 8.4.
The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (“BBO”) has issued public admonition against an attorney for failing to obtain a former client’s consent before representing a new client in a substantially related matter adverse to the former client. In Admonition No. 15-23, the attorney had been employed by the law firm for eight years. During this period, the firm represented the former client’s spouse, seeking modification of a divorce based on allegations of child abuse. The attorney did not directly represent the spouse, but was consulted on a financial issue in the case.
The attorney left to start his own firm, and several years later, was retained by the former husband to defend new allegations of sex abuse a civil matter filed by his ex-wife. The attorney advised him of his firm’s prior representation of the ex-wife, but forgot that he had been personally consulted on the case, and also failed to obtain the ex-wife’s consent to represent her ex-husband.
The ex-wife informed the attorney of the conflict of interest and requested that he withdraw as counsel, but the attorney refused. Counsel for the ex-wife then filed a Motion to Disqualify, which the Court granted.
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.
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.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) has suspended an attorney from practicing law for 6 months, following a determination that he had been practicing without a license, and falsely represented himself as a licensed attorney. In the matter of Peter Larkowich, a Massachusetts attorney was administratively suspended for failing to pay his dues to the Massachusetts bar. He did not apply to be reinstated, nor did he notify his clients of his suspension, or withdraw from his current cases. Continue reading
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), located in Boston, has suspended an attorney from practicing law after she admitted to violating multiple Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. In the matter of Diane R. McGarvey, an attorney was involved in four separate motor vehicle incidents over a period of years, which resulted in criminal charges against her. Continue reading