Thursday, April 24, 2014
An attorney who, among other things, violated his duty of confidentiality by placing his client's medical records in public pleadings has been disbarred by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
The key findings
The Board [on Professional Responsibility] accepted the Hearing Committee’s findings that respondent represented Ms. Nunnally in an employment discrimination suit from September 12, 2005, until she discharged him on November 28, 2008. In connection with that representation, respondent filed several frivolous and inflammatory motions, failed to appear at a deposition of an important witness who was hostile to Ms. Nunnally, neglected to file certain motions which effectively prevented Ms. Nunnally from presenting evidence for her retaliation claims, introduced Ms. Nunnally’s confidential medical records into the public record, and sought and received a six month postponement of Ms. Nunnally’s trial without her consent.
After Ms. Nunnally discharged respondent on November 28, 2008, he threatened her and refused to release her case file to her. She then filed a complaint against respondent with Bar Counsel and initiated an arbitration claim before the Attorney/Client Arbitration Board ("ACAB") seeking repayment of some of the fees she had paid him. In response, respondent submitted to Bar Counsel and ACAB inconsistent bills that he had never given Ms. Nunnally and that inflated what she owed him according to their initial fee agreement. After ACAB entered an award to Ms. Nunnally of $11,000 against respondent, he filed a civil suit against her in Superior Court on the basis of the same falsified billing records that ACAB had rejected. Respondent submitted similar falsified billing records to the Bankruptcy Court, where he filed another claim against Ms. Nunnally. Respondent repeatedly submitted Ms. Nunnally’s confidential medical records subject to attorney-client privilege into the public records in these and other proceedings.
In a second matter, the attorney
...represented Tenedia Davis and her minor daughter in a personal injury action. Because respondent failed to identify any fact witnesses in the joint pretrial statement, he was unable to put any fact witnesses on at trial to establish that the defendant had caused Ms. Davis’s daughter’s injuries, and the court entered judgment as a matter of law for the defendant. On appeal, respondent submitted a fabricated joint pretrial statement that included fact witnesses, and told this court at oral argument that he had sent the fabricated document to opposing counsel prior to trial.