Tuesday, March 12, 2013
The Rhode Island Supreme Court has imposed a public censure of an attorney who violated rules governing direct contact with a prospective client.
The prospective client's husband had died in West Virginia hotel from exposure to carbon monoxide gas. A West Virginia attorney who had worked with the respondent on prior cases contacted him and asked him to "look into it."
The respondent sent an investigator to the prospective client's home. She was not there (as she was out making funeral arrangements) and the investigator left the respondent's card with her friend. She did not contact the respondent.
The investigator returned a week later and met with the prospective client. She advised that she had already retained counsel.
The prospective client then complained to the Bar. The respondent admitted the facts and expressed remorse.
The court found the conduct "inexcusable" but noted that the respondent had an unblemished disciplinary record in 38 years of practice. (Mike Frisch)