Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sanction Proposed For Volunteer Arbitrator

Here's a recommendation for discipline under circumstances that I have not previously encountered:

The attorney was admitted to practice in 2003. In 2005, he volunteered to serve on the Arizona State Bar Arbitration Committee. He initially failed to schedule a matter assigned to him. The matter was finally heard after the Bar's General Counsel intervened. He then did not file the decision in compliance with applicable time limits and failed to respond to repeated efforts to have him issue the decision. He also had not timely responded to the Bar investigation. Eventually, evidence was presented that the neglect was the product of "avoidant behavior that was symptomatic of depression and alcohol." 

The hearing officer recommends that the lawyer be publicly censured and placed on probation for two years.

If you are Bar Counsel, you may wish to consider sending a copy of this recommendation to the volunteer hearing committees that have morbidly overdue reports.  (Mike Frisch)

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I don't know what they put in the water in Arizona, but the proportionality section of the opinion also cites a number of similar unpublished Arizona cases. Could it be that working as an arbitrator is mandatory and resented in Arizona? One of the arbitors was actually held in contempt for failing to appear at one of his hearings.

What a strange case.


Posted by: FixedWing | Apr 30, 2009 9:56:33 PM

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