IN RE ANDRE P. BARBER, RESPONDENT. A Suspended Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (Bar Registration No. 466138)
Argued October 2, 2014.
Andre P. Barber, Pro se.
Julia L. Porter, Senior Assistant Bar Counsel, with whom Wallace E. Shipp, Jr., Bar Counsel, and Jennifer P. Lyman, Senior Assistant Bar Counsel, were on the brief, for the Office of Bar Counsel.
Before FISHER and BECKWITH, Associate Judges, and NEBEKER, Senior Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Respondent Andre Barber opposes the Board on Professional Responsibility's unanimous recommendation that he be disbarred from the practice of law in the District of Columbia. Mr. Barber was found to have violated sixteen Rules of Professional Conduct. We are not persuaded by Mr. Barber's arguments on appeal, and we accept the Board's recommendation of disbarment.
This appeal involves three separate disciplinary matters that were consolidated after two Hearing Committees found several rule violations. In the first matter, Mr. Barber was accused of violating Rule of Professional Conduct 3.1 (asserting and pursuing frivolous claims) and Rule 8.4 (d) (seriously interfering with the administration of justice) for his actions in pro se litigation with his residential landlord. The Board found that Mr. Barber filed several " groundless and repetitive pleadings and appeals, which were intended to increase his opponent's fees, and had that effect." When those appeals reached our court, we called his claims " frivolous" and stated that " [w]e do not believe that appellant reasonably could have entertained the faintest hope of prevailing on the merits of this appeal" and that " the trial court characterized the argument he presents on appeal as 'crazy.'" Mr. Barber was subsequently sanctioned by the trial court, but he never paid the roughly $87,000 of legal fees incurred by his landlord.
In the second matter, Mr. Barber was accused of violating fourteen Rules of Professional Conduct--thirteen that were sustained by the Board--during his representation of three clients in litigation against their landlord, Tenacity Group, LLC. Several charges arose from statements Mr. Barber made and actions he took while attempting to collect his legal fees from his clients and from Tenacity directly. These included misrepresentations to an arbitrator that the fee was not in fact contingent; statements breaching the settlement agreement, which resulted in his clients losing their valuable settlement; threats to report counsel for Tenacity to the bar if counsel did not pay him; and " [l]aunch[ing] a [l]itigation [b]arrage [a]gainst Tenacity" that one trial judge called " highly disturbing" and " baseless." In addition, Mr. Barber was found to have failed to communicate with a client regarding the client's appeal and to have used an improper trade name. The third matter against Mr. Barber consisted of allegations of misconduct during
Bar Counsel's investigation--primarily false statements. Mr. Barber was also cited for his " palpable disdain" and failure to adhere to Hearing Committee orders during ...