Monday, December 22, 2008
An attorney was reprimanded in a Maine matter with a "complicated and protracted history [that] began in October 1998 with a complaint to the Board of Bar Overseers..." The complaint came from the opposing party of a divorce client and had been stayed for approximately seven years while the divorce was pending. When the bar proceedings got going, the client objected to a proposed consent resolution of her complaint. She claimed that the bar disciplinary process had "chosen to ignore most of her complaints concerning [the attorney]" and filed a motion to intervene. She demanded that independent counsel undertake a review of her concerns.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court held that the complainant was a non-party with an important but limited role, analogous to the victim in a criminal matter. As such, the motion to intervene was denied. The court accepted the agreed-upon sanction as the lawyer had "engaged in conduct, although short-lived, that was effectively, a misrepresentation...He did not with sufficient promptitude correct information but rather participated in the continuation of false evidence, which left unclarified and misleading pleadings before the Court. " (Mike Frisch)