July 13, 2009
Power Of Attorney
A petition for reinstatement of an attorney who had been suspended for a year and a day in 2006 was denied by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The "essence of [the] misconduct was a conflict of interest with her client," a mentally incompetent person for whom the Petitioner had power of attorney. The attorney had drafted and executed an indenture and mortgage in the amount of $275,000 to finance her own purchase of land in New Mexico.
The attorney had decided to retire before the prior discipline was imposed but continued to act under the power of attorney and did not notify the client victim or her beneficiaries of her suspended status. When the client passed away, she was appointed executrix of both estates. Petitioner also failed to advise a second client for whom she had power of attorney of her suspended status. The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office is investigating aspects of the power of attorney account for the client victim.
The Disciplinary Board had opposed reinstatement:
Petitioner demonstrated poor judgment and motive in her decisionto continue as [the client]'s agentand to serve as executrix for the estate following her suspension, instead of dissociating herself from the original source of the conflict of interest. This behavior indicates that Petitioner has no greater appreciation of her wrongdoing and has not rehabilitated herself from her original misconduct, which involved the same lack of judgment and foresight as to the implications of her actions.
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