The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently disbarred an attorney, for practicing law while he was still serving a suspension for prior unethical conduct. In the Matter of Paul F Coddington, Jr, an attorney was suspended for professional misconduct and was subsequently hired by a law firm as a paralegal. The attorney falsely told his employer that he had applied to have his license reinstated. Thus, relying on this information, a lawyer at the firm permitted him to represent a client in court and handle cases.
The Indiana Supreme Court has placed an attorney on probation, after finding that she withdrew unearned funds from her client trust account. In the Matter of Jennifer L. Graham, an attorney wrote a check to herself from her client trust account in the amount of $1,100, and wrote the words “HELP ME” next to the check number in her account ledger book. A few days later, she wrote another check in the amount of $550 with the same phrase written in the ledger. When she presented the second check for payment, it was dishonored. She repaid the $1,100 several days later.
The Michigan Supreme Court has removed and conditionally suspended a judge after ruling that he violated the Code of Judicial Conduct. In the matter of Wade H. McCree, a judge was presiding over a case regarding the nonpayment of child support. While the case was ongoing, he began a sexual relationship with the petitioner, who was the mother of the child. He continued to oversee the matter, and sent her private messages about the case. He later recused himself, but did not disclose the relationship as the reason for his recusal.
The judge was also presiding over a criminal case against the woman’s uncle. While he was still romantically involved with her, he signed an order reducing her uncle’s bond also sent her text messages about the case.
The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (“BBO”) has issued an admonition of an attorney after finding that he violated the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. The attorney represented the victim of an auto accident, who was disabled as a result of the accident. The attorney filed the lawsuit timely, but failed to effect service, which resulted in dismissal of the case. The attorney was able to have the case reinstated, but it was dismissed again after the attorney failed to respond to discovery requests. Over one year later, the attorney moved to vacate the dismissal, but the motion was denied as untimely.
The BBO held that the attorney’s failure to diligently pursue the client’s case was a violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.1 and 1.3. The attorney also failed to inform the client of either dismissal and did not respond to the client’s requests for status updates, as required by Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4(a) and (b).