Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

04/12/91 PETER LARSEN RESPONDENT A MEMBER BAR

April 12, 1991

IN RE: PETER LARSEN, RESPONDENT A MEMBER OF THE BAR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS


Ferren and Wagner, Associate Judges, and Pryor, Senior Judge. All Members of the Board join in this report, except for Members Freund and Williams, who did not participate.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility

This matter comes to us from the Board on Professional Responsibility ("the Board") as a reciprocal discipline case that arose because the Court of Appeals of Maryland disciplined respondent for misappropriation of client funds. *fn1 We accept the Board's recommendation and impose the discipline recommended by the Board.

In reciprocal discipline cases, this court imposes an "identical discipline" unless we determine "the misconduct established warrants substantially different discipline in the District of Columbia." D.C. Bar R. XI, § 11(f). The Court of Appeals of Maryland suspended respondent indefinitely but without prejudice to apply immediately for reinstatement and subject to certain conditions. In this jurisdiction misappropriation of funds warrants disbarrment in virtually all cases. In re Addams, 579 A.2d 190, 191 (D.C. 1990) (en banc). Therefore, the misconduct established in this case warrants substantially different discipline from that imposed by Maryland. Accordingly, we turn to the Board's recommended discipline. *fn2

The Board recommends this court disbar respondent, but stay the disbarrment and impose a period of conditional probation for three years. The Board's recommendation is based on the findings of the Maryland court and our existing case law dealing with analogous circumstances. The Maryland court found that respondent's misconduct resulted from a mental illness, a bipolar or manic depressive disorder, and that with continued treatment and support respondent could practice law responsibly and professionally. As the Board points out, this court previously considered alcoholism, In re Reid, 540 A.2d 754, 759-60 (D.C. 1988), In re Kersey, 520 A.2d 321, 326-28 (D.C. 1987), and chronic depression, In re Peek, 565 A.2d 627, 634 (D.C. 1989), to be mitigating factors justifying a sanction of supervised probation. The Board reasons that in this case respondent's mental illness should similarly be considered a mitigating factor justifying a sanction of supervised probation. We are persuaded by the Board's reasoning and, accordingly, we adopt the Board's recommended sanction as specified by the Board in its report, which we append as part of this opinion.

So ordered.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Bar Docket No. 445-89

(DCCA No. 89-1424)

IN THE MATTER OF: PETER LARSEN, RESPONDENT.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

On November 28, 1989, the Court of Appeals of Maryland filed an opinion and order suspending Respondent, Peter Larsen, from the practice of law in that state. The basis for the suspension was a determination that Respondent had engaged in numerous disciplinary code violations in 1986 in his handling of funds received in connection with a client's personal injury claim. Under the Maryland order, Respondent was allowed to apply for reinstatement any time after ninety days if he agreed to comply with specified conditions, including subjecting his practice to outside monitoring for a two year period.

Based on this action in Maryland, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, on January 18, 1990, suspended Respondent from the practic of law in this jurisdiction until Disposition of reciprocal disciplinary proceedings here. However, on April 13, 1990, after receiving notice that Respondent had been permitted to resume practice of law in Maryland on January 23, 1990, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals vacated the suspension. Thus, at the present time, Respondent can practice law in Maryland (under the conditions imposed by the Maryland Court of Appeals) but is presumably under no restraint concerning practice in the District of Columbia.

In the Court's order of January 18, 1990, the Board was directed to recommend whether reciprocal discipline should be imposed and, if not, whether other action should be taken. Despite the Court's later order vacating Respondent's suspension, the Board is still required to comply with this direction. Therefore, we have considered the question of reciprocal discipline. We conclude that the misconduct upon which the Maryland discipline was predicated "warrants substantially different discipline in this jurisdiction," and recommend, therefore, that reciprocal discipline not be imposed.

With respect to the discipline that should be imposed, we have concluded that a de novo hearing is not required here in light of the conclusive nature of the factual findings made in Maryland. We recommend that the Court disbar Respondent in the District of Columbia, but that it immediately stay the disbarrment and place Respondent on probation for three years on terms and conditions we specify on pages 13 and 14 of this Report.

The Maryland Proceedings

The Maryland proceedings began when a physician, Indira V. Gokulanathan, M.D., filed a complaint with the Maryland Bar authorities that Respondent had failed to pay charges for medical treatment afforded to the family of Deborah Glass, a personal injury client of Respondent. The Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission investigated the complaint and concluded that there was basis to believe that Respondent had, in fact, mishandled funds he had received in settlement of his ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.