Monday, November 24, 2008
The District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility had recommended reciprocal discipline based on a Florida sanction imposed on Montgomery Blair Sibley. The attorney had been suspended for three years in Florida and must petition for reinstatement. The board here rejects a collateral attack on the legitimacy of the Florida process as well as the contention that the misconduct (intentional disobedience of court-order support obligations and asserting frivolous claims) merited substantially different discipline in the District of Columbia.
In an unrelated reciprocal matter from Massachusetts, the board rejected claims for greater discipline from Bar Counsel as well for lesser discipline from the lawyer, who had made unauthorized payments for his own benefit as general counsel to Houghton Mifflin Company. The lawyer had used the funds to pay his rent and for a summer vacation rental in Rhode Island. Bar Counsel sought disbarment, contending that the strict rule of disbarment for misappropriation applied. The attorney contended that he should get mitigation based on alcohol addiction. The board rejected both claims--the attorney had failed to raise alcoholism in the Massachusetts case--and recommended the functionally-equivalent discipline of a three-year suspension. (Mike Frisch)