Thursday, August 30, 2007
A lawyer who represented a client in a dog bite case was charged with failure to notify prior counsel (who had filed a lien on any judgment) that he had filed a motion with the court for release of funds representing costs and fees, making false statements to the court and misappropriation of funds to which the first attorney was entitled. A Michigan hearing panel found the violations and imposed a one-year suspension.
On appeal of the Grievance Administrator, the Michigan Attorney Disciplinary Board concluded that the appropriate sanction was license revocation:"it is untenable to give [the lawyer] a "break" simply because he stole money belonging to another lawyer rather than money belonging to a client." Stealing is stealing and merits the ultimate sanction. The lawyer had a lengthy history of prior discipline and had failed to respond to the bar investigation. (Mike Frisch)