Friday, January 21, 2011
In contrast to yesterday's decision from Wisconsin comes a case from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court imposing a year and a day suspension as proposed by its Disciplinary Board for multiple dishonest acts. The board had rejected a censure and probation that was recommended by a hearing committee.
The attorney was retained in a bankruptcy matter. He received a payment for both a portion of his fees and the filing fee. He did not pay the filing fee and did not escrow the payments. When he filed the case, he misrepresented that the client could not afford to pay the filing fee. He misled the client and the disciplinary process.
According to the board:
Had this matter not involved acts of dishonesty by Respondent, we would most likely not consider a suspension of this length. Respondent engaged in dishonesty to his client and the Court, and demonstrated an inability to be truthful to Disciplinary Counsel and the Hearing Committee. Respondent's lack of credibility is very troubling. Dishonesty cannot be excused, nor remedied by public censure or probation.
In mitigation, the attorney was inexperienced and had made restitution to the client. (Mike Frisch)