On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility.
Ferren and Terry, Associate Judges, and Newman, Senior Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam
The Board on Professional Responsibility has recommended that respondent, a member of the District of Columbia Bar, be suspended from the practice of law for two years, and that she be required to demonstrate her fitness to resume the practice of law if she seeks reinstatement in the Bar after her suspension has run its course. We adopt the Board's recommendation and incorporate by reference its report, which we attach hereto as an appendix. We note that respondent did not appear before either the hearing committee or the Board, did not file a brief with either the Board or this court, and has not in any way contested the charges against her, despite ample notice of the pendency of these disciplinary proceedings.
It is therefore ORDERED that respondent, Ellen R. Delate, shall be suspended from the practice of law in the District of Columbia for two years, effective thirty days from the date of this order. Such suspension shall be in addition to the suspension previously ordered in In re Delate, 579 A.2d 1177 (D.C. 1990). It is
FURTHER ORDERED that if respondent seeks reinstatement in the Bar after her two-year suspension has expired, she shall file with the Board on Professional Responsibility a petition for reinstatement, and shall furnish to the Board proof of her fitness to resume the practice of law. See D.C. Bar R. XI, §§ 3(a)(2) and 16(d).
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS
BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
IN THE MATTER OF: ELLEN R. DELATE, RESPONDENT
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
This matter is before the Board on Professional Responsibility on the Report of Hearing Committee Number Three, dated October 22, 1990. The Committee found that Respondent, Ellen R. Delate, Esq., an attorney admitted to practice before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, violated Disciplinary Rules DR 1-102(A)(5) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of Justice); DR 6-101(A)(3) (neglect of a legal matter); DR 7-101(A)(1) (intentional failure to seek the lawful objectives of a client); DR 9-103(B)(3) (failure to maintain complete records and render appropriate accounts); and DR 9-103(B)(4) (failure to promptly pay or deliver funds, securities, or properties to the client upon request). These violations arise out of Respondent's appointment as conservator for Dorothy Mead Jacobson beginning April 17, 1984 and ending July 17, 1989 when she was removed for failure to complete the Second Accounting and failure to file a Final Accounting following the Ward's death in 1987. *fn1
We have reviewed the record and find that the Committee's findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence in the record. In addition, we agree with the Committee's recommended sanction of a two-year suspension with a requirement to show fitness to return to practice. We also recommend that that suspension be imposed in addition to the six-month suspension imposed in In re Delate, 579 A.2d 1177 (D.C. 1990).
On November 12, 1982, James McConville, an attorney representing members of the family of Dorothy Mead Jacobson, filed a Petition to Appoint a Conservator of the estate and person of Ms. Jacobson. Bar Ex. 2; (Tr. 9-11). Shortly thereafter, the Court appointed Judith Ludwic as conservator. (Tr. 11). On or about April 17, 1984, upon the withdrawal of Ms. Ludwic, the Court appointed the Respondent, Ellen R. Delate, successor conservator. Bar Ex. 4; (Tr. 11-12). Ms. Delate has been admitted to practice before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals since 1973. See Bar Ex. A.
On or about July 6, 1984, Respondent reported that the estate of Ms. Jacobson contained bank deposits of $30,668.29, personal property worth $3,248.28 and stock worth $7,430.94. Report at 3; Bar Ex. 5; (Tr. 25-26). In accordance with her duties as conservator, Respondent was required to make Accountings of the estate of Ms. Jacobson.
The First Accounting was due the following year. Respondent, after receiving an extension, filed the First Accounting on May 29, 1985. Bar Ex. 6; (Tr. 18-19). It was subsequently approved by the Superior Court Probate Division on or about August 12, 1985. Report at 4. The Second Accounting was due on May 17, 1986. Bar Ex. 7. Again Respondent requested and was granted an extension of time in which to file it. Bar Ex. 8. Respondent failed to file this Accounting by June 7, 1986, the time limit granted under the extension.
On or about June 13, 1986, the Court received a letter from the Ward stating that her medical bills had not been paid. This letter also indicated that no money had been provided for the purchase of a winter coat or to take a vacation. Bar Ex. 9.
On or about November 25, 1986, the Clerk sent a letter of warning to Respondent demanding that the Second Accounting be filed by December 9, 1986. Bar Ex. 10. Finally, because the required Second Accounting had still not been filed, the Clerk sent a Removal of Delinquent Fiduciary notice to the Respondent on or about January 13, 1987. Bar Ex. 11. The matter was set for summary hearing on February 5, 1987. Bar Ex. 13. On February 5, 1987, an incomplete Second Accounting was filed by Respondent and the summary hearing was cancelled. Bar Ex. 14.
On June 26, 1987, the Ward died. Bar Ex. 1; (Tr. 13). Since the Ward's death no Final Accounting has been filed by Respondent. The Second Accounting remains incomplete.
The Clerk of the Court sent a Memorandum of Delinquent Fiduciary to the Court and Respondent on March 21, 1989, which was followed on March 23 by a Notice of Summary Hearing to be held on June 27, 1989 for Respondent's failure to file a Second, Third or Fourth Accounting for the Ward. Bar Ex. 1, 15, 16; (Tr. 13). No response from Respondent was ...