Friday, June 8, 2007

Only Bar Counsel Can Prosecute Ethics Cases

A dissatisfied complainant has no private cause of action after Bar Counsel dismisses an ethics complaint, according to a holding of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The complaint against former counsel had been investigated and, after disposition, reviewed by a Board of Bar Overseers member. The client then filed a civil suit to sanction the attorney. The court affirmed the dismissal of the suit,  holding that there is no basis on which a private citizen can enforce disciplinary authority against an attorney. (Mike Frisch)

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This has been the law in Massachusetts for many years. The current case gave the Court the opportunity to reiterate that complainants are not parties, but just possible witnesses. This being an administrative process, there is no private right of action as to the complaint or disciplinary process. Jim Bolan

Posted by: James Bolan | Jun 11, 2007 11:13:10 AM

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