Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The Maryland Court of Appeals has determined that a "simple reprimand" is the appropriate sanction for misconduct committed by an attorney in his capacity as personal reprentative of his aunt's estate. According to the court's summary, the aunt had loaned the nephew $95,000 interest free with repayment due 120 days after her death. He took five years to repay without interest for the time he was in arrears. The court concluded that he had not been intentionally dishonest and considered his "otherwise unblemished record and other mitigating factors..." While he could serve as personal representative, he was ethically obligated to collect interest on the loan for the benefit of the estate.
The facts set out in the court's opinion describe a protracted and nasty family dispute. Notably, the complaint was initiated by the attorney for the attorney's sister. He serves on the Attorney Grievance Commission. The court rejected as "unfounded" a claim that this fact had unduly influenced the actions of Assistant Bar Counsel. (Mike Frisch)