Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Maryland Court of Appeals has disbarred an attorney for a pattern of misconduct in the course of a single serious personal injury matter in which he had represented the plaintiff. He did not timely pursue the matter and filed suit after the applicable statute of limitations had expired. He attributed the late filing to an administrative oversight.
When he filed the case, he misrepresented the accident date by a year to conceal the statute of limitations problem and failed to correct the date, "causing the Circuit Court to needlessly expend time and other resources, all in violation of [multiple disciplinary rules including dishonesty and lack of candor to a tribunal]." His affirmative acts of concealment of the statute of limitations issue from his client precluded any recovery for her substantial injuries. He failed to advise her to obtain independent counsel to pursue a possible malpractice claim. He did not have malpractice insurance.
He also failed to respond to Bar Counsel's written requests for information.
The attorney was undergoing a nasty and unexpected firm dissolution in which he was locked out of his office, marital discord and health issues. The court found that these factors did not explain or mitigate the blown statute and ensung acts of serious dishonesty. (Mike Frisch)