July 19, 2011
Avoidant Tendencies Have Medical Basis
An attorney who engaged in misconduct in a series of matters was suspended for nine months by the South Carolina Supreme Court. The court noted evidence that mitigated the sanction:
Dr. Charlotte Murrow Taylor, who holds a Ph.D. in counseling, testified before the Panel on Respondent's behalf. Dr. Taylor has performed extensive testing on Respondent and currently treats him. She opined that Respondent suffers from Asperger's disorder, adult variety, Attention Deficit Disorder, and anxiety disorder. According to Dr. Taylor, stress from receiving a Treacy letter, from a court demanding information, or from an angry client would likely trigger Respondent's avoidant tendencies, causing him to close himself off from subsequent communications. Dr. Taylor testified Asperger's patients are treatable through cognitive behavioral intervention therapy, comprising rote practice of behavioral and social skills. With the aid of medication, Dr. Taylor testified, patients have been known to make great progress under this form of therapy. She testified Respondent is currently taking medication, has been cooperative in his counseling, has reacted positively to treatment, and has made considerable progress since she began treating him.
The attorney must appear before the Committee on Character and Fitness prior to reinstatement. (Mike Frisch)
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