Articles Tagged with “Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct”

A Massachusetts attorney has been disbarred for engaging in activities which created conflicts of interest and for misusing client funds. The violations included (1) using client funds to purchase annuities from a company where the attorney was an agent and received a commission on the sale, (2) improperly cashing out existing annuities, which resulted in charges to the ward, (3) charging excessive fees to a guardianship estate, and (4) intentionally misusing over $10,000 of estate funds in another guardianship.

In April, 2016, the attorney submitted an affidavit of resignation admitting to violations of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct between 2007 and 2014. In June, 2016, the Board of Bar Overseers recommended acceptance of the affidavit and disbarment. The Supreme Judicial Court then adopted the recommendation and entered a judgment of disbarment effective immediately.

In Re John A Aliperta

A client signed a fee agreement with an attorney for representation in her divorce. On June 26, 2013, as a condition of the signed fee agreement, the client tendered to the attorney $8,000.00 as a retainer for a divorce case and for a real estate closing. Upon receipt of the check, the attorney deposited the funds into her Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Accounts (“IOLTA”).

The following day, the attorney withdrew $5,500.00 and used it for purposes unrelated to the client. At this time, the attorney had neither earned this money, nor sent a bill to the client. Over the next month, the attorney continued to withdraw funds from the IOLTA until the account balance was approximately $1,000.00.

In early December 2013, the client terminated the attorney-client relationship. At the time of termination, the attorney had spent all but $500.00 of the money she had withdrawn, failed to provide the client with an accounting of the funds and did not return the $500.00 for several months.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (“BBO”) has issued an admonition against an attorney for failing to competently handle a legal matter, failing to seek his client’s lawful objectives, and failing to adequately communicate with his client.  In Admonition No. 14-03, the attorney was hired to bring a wrongful termination suit on behalf of a municipal employee, who was terminated as the result of the terms of his union agreement, which favored employees with seniority.
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