On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility
Rogers, Chief Judge, and Newman and Farrell, Associate Judges.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Newman
This matter comes before us on the Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility ("Board"). Involved are six separate matters, which have been consolidated for review. After evidentiary hearings on each of these matters, the Board found fifteen violations of the Disciplinary Rules and recommended that respondent be suspended for one year with reinstatement conditioned upon a showing of fitness to practice. We accept the Board's findings, agree with its analysis, and adopt its recommendation.
I. Respondent's Disciplinary Violations
Following is a brief review of the Board's findings in six separate disciplinary matters concerning respondent, as set out in the Board's Report and Recommendation ("Report").
Bar Docket No. 285-84 (The Davis Matter).
While serving as court-appointed Conservator of the estate of Betsy Davis from March 30, 1982 through June 13, 1984, during which time Davis resided in a nursing home, respondent failed to carry out his responsibilities to serve the needs of the estate and Davis's personal needs. Specifically, respondent failed, among other things, to pay the nursing home's monthly charges, to produce rental income from the ward's estate, to file timely accounts, to attend various hearings regarding his Conservatorship, and to respond to requests for information from auditors and the successor-conservator. Eventually, the Auditor-Master concluded that respondent owed Davis's estate $9,093.90 and judgment was entered against him in that amount by the probate court. Thereafter, respondent entered into a settlement agreement with the successor-conservator, wherein he agreed to pay the estate $9000.00.
Based upon this conduct, the Board found that respondent had violated DR 1-102(A)(5) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of Justice), DR 6-101(A)(1) (undertaking a legal matter which he knew or should have known he was not competent to handle), DR 6-101(A)(3) (neglect), DR 7-101(A)(1) (intentional failure to pursue the client's lawful objectives), DR 9-103(B)(3) (failure to maintain complete records and render appropriate accounts).
Bar Docket No. 296-86 (The Junkins Matter).
Respondent accepted $750 from Foster L. Junkins to represent him regarding the termination of Junkins's Maryland worker's compensation benefits. Respondent, who was not licensed to practice in Maryland, sent one letter of inquiry to Junkins's employer in August 1985 regarding the loss of benefits, after which respondent did not again contact the employer. He met once more with Junkins, in Maryland, after which the two had little or no substantive contact. When Junkins complained to Bar Counsel through successor-counsel, respondent denied accepting a fee from Junkins. He also failed to respond to Bar Counsel's requests to provide documents relating to his representation of Junkins.
Based upon this conduct, the Board concluded that respondent had violated DR 1-102(A)(5) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of Justice) and DR 6-101(A)(3) (neglect).
Bar Docket No. 560-86 (The Gaines Matter).
Respondent was appointed by the court to defend Delberta Gaines in a divorce proceeding. In connection with that proceeding, respondent was charged with failure to file an answer within the time limit set by the court. After a full hearing, the Hearing Committee concluded that no ...