Wednesday, April 3, 2013
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has affirmed a decision of the Bar Association Public Protection Fund Committee ("PPFC") that denied a claim for reimbursement for fees paid to an attorney.
The PPFC concluded that the claimant "failed to demonstrate that the funds at issue were lost as a result of [the attorney's] embezzlement, conversion, or theft."
The case arose from a disciplinary matter that resulted in the attorney's suspension for two years. The misconduct involved conflicts of interest but not conversion. The court declined to disbar the attorney due to the absence of a selfish or improper motive.
The court noted that the standard of review of an PPFC denial of payment was a question of first impression.
The PPFC "sustainably exercised its discretion when it denied the...claim for failing to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that [the] losses resulted from the conversion or theft of client funds by [the attorney]..." (Mike Frisch)