Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The California State Bar Court Review Department has concluded that a criminal conviction involved moral turpitude and proposed disbarment on the following facts
Wyatt, an attorney since 1976, lives in Rossmoor, a gated senior community. On December 10, 2010, between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m., Wyatt drank vodka at home and then drove to a restaurant in a neighboring town where he ate dinner and drank one beer.
Meanwhile, Edward Phillips, an 85-year-old Rossmoor resident, was waiting near his home for a bus. It was his nightly routine to call for a Rossmoor shuttle bus to take him to P.F. Chang’s restaurant for dinner. At the time, Phillips was carrying his cane, which he occasionally used to assist him with walking.
Around 6:30 p.m., as Wyatt was driving home from the restaurant, he struck Phillips. Upon impact, Phillips smashed Wyatt’s windshield, was thrown between 38 and 52 feet, and landed with his head near the curb and his feet extending toward the middle of the road. Phillips was bleeding profusely from a severe head wound. Wyatt did not have a cellular phone. He got out of his car, found Phillips nonresponsive, returned to his vehicle, and drove one mile to the guard station at the front gate to get help, leaving Phillips alone. He reported the accident to the security guard, who told him to wait in the guard station. Wyatt drank coffee and water while he waited. The security guard called the paramedics and police.
The attorney claimed that the victim (who died 60 hours later) had "streaked" in front of his car. His story changed to a "hobbled gait" when he learned that the victim was 85. He also concealed the amount he had to drink before the incident.
The attorney is described as a leading environmental attorney and a dean of the environmental bar. (Mike Frisch)
A recent opinion from the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee:
May a newly-appointed judge continue to host a weekend radio program playing classic songs for a commercial radio station?
ANSWER: Yes, as long as the judge ensures that the judge’s hosting duties do not demean the judicial office, the judge is not an employee of the radio station and the judge does not personally participate in advertising promotions.
The inquiring judge has recently been appointed to the bench and prior to the appointment had hosted a weekend radio program on a commercial radio station for many years. The hosted program generally consisted of playing “classic hits” from the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s. The inquiring judge acted essentially as a disk jockey – introducing songs, giving the weather, and dispensing music trivia about the songs/artists played.
During the inquiring judge’s radio program, the radio station utilized pre-recorded advertisements but the inquiring judge was not involved in the selling or recording of such advertisements. Occasionally, advertising packages sold to advertisers included the inquiring judge giving away a product or service to a listener (e.g. the third caller wins a glass bottom boat ride from an advertiser).
The inquiring judge also received compensation from the radio station for his disk jockeying duties in the amount of $20.00 per hour while in the studio “live” amounting to $60.00 per week in compensation.
The inquiring judge recognizes the applicable judicial canons raised by his inquiry and the Committee would like to acknowledge the judge for his efforts in both providing the Committee with a detailed factual basis outlining his inquiry and for his review of the Code of Judicial Conduct and past opinions of the Committee.
Rock on! (Mike Frisch)
An attorney who had consented to disbarment in the District of Columbia has managed to persuade New York to impose lesser reciprocal discipline.
Instead of disbarment, the New York Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department ordered a suspension of two years and until further court order
We agree with respondent, however, that the imposition of the sanction of reciprocal disbarment would be unjust under the circumstances of this case, particularly considering the nature of the conduct that provided the basis for respondent’s consent to disbarment in the District of Columbia and his statement that his depression contributed to his decision to consent to disbarment.
I must say, as a matter of opinion, that if the attorney conceded that disbarment was appropriate in the place that was investigating and prosecuting him for misconduct, I have difficulty understanding the rationale here. (Mike Frisch)
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a conviction in a drug distribution case notwithstanding the fact that the judge was Facebook friends with an undercover informant who was a key state witness.
The court found that the digital connection did not create an appearence of impropriety or impair the judge's responsibilities as the thirteenth juror
The Defendant asserts that because the trial judge is Facebook “friends” with Dunaway, the appearance of bias is present. In this instance, the Defendant has simply not established that the trial judge’s participation in the social network Facebook prevented him from properly exercising his role as thirteenth juror. The record in this case is not developed as to the length of the Facebook relationship between the trial court and the confidential informant, the extent of their internet interaction or the nature of the interactions. The fact that the trial judge was “friends” on Facebook with a witness is not sufficient proof that the trial court could not impartially fulfill its duty as thirteenth juror. In our review of the record, we find nothing to suggest that the trial court did not adequately function in its role as thirteenth juror and nothing to indicate bias on the part of the trial court.
There is a warning note in a concurring opinion
...the opinion in my view should not stand for the proposition that a judge’s Facebook relationship with a litigant or a key witness for a litigant poses no ground for disqualification. I accept and agree with the trial judge’s commentary that one cannot reasonably expect a trial judge living in a small community to recuse himself or herself because he or she is acquainted with a litigant or a key witness. When a judge shares a Facebook “friendship” with such a person, however, the aggrieved party may be able to show that this “social media” relationship is more active, regular, or intimate than mere incidental community propinquity might suggest. For instance, how intentional is the relationship? Who initiated it and when? How do the participants use the medium? What type of information is shared? What is the frequency of the communications? Certainly, I could envision a properly presented Rule 10B motion that, upon proof, evinces at least an appearance of impropriety. See Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10 §1.2 (“A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.”). For instance, as in the present case, the judge’s familiarity with the Facebook “friend” may indicate his or her awareness of the “friend’s” conflict with the criminal justice system.
An attorney who had participated in false certification on HUD-1 statements, failed to supervise the conduct of another attorney and paralegals that he employed and used his law firm's trust account to "fund all or part of the buyer's contribution reflected on certain HUS-1 Statements" was disbarred by the Delaware Supreme Court.
The court's order appends the report of its Board on Professional Responsibility, which stated
Respondent participated in a criminal act of an equity stripping scheme to defraud innocent people of their life savings and in doing so made misrepresentations to lenders causing them injury as well. Any lesser sanction would only serve to exacerbate the substantial loss those innocent people suffered.
The board noted that the attorney admitted conduct that violated federal law although he had not been convicted. His plea for a lesser sanction fell on deaf ears. (Mike Frisch)
The Ohio Supreme Court decided three cases yesterday involving the unauthorized practice of law.
Kevin Kidder has this summary from the court's web page
In three separate cases announced today, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a real-estate agent, a man who represented a debt-consolidation company, and another man who owned a divorce-assistance company, none of whom are attorneys, all engaged in the practice of law without having been admitted to the bar.
Company prepares faulty divorce petition Norm Hernick owns companies called “Law Online Inc.” and “A Divorce Fast.” In 2007, Andrea Colburn contacted A Divorce Fast when she was seeking a divorce from her husband, Derik Derousse.
She was advised by the company that she did not need legal advice or representation and, after paying $539, A Divorce Fast prepared a divorce complaint on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Colburn told the company she wanted child custody and support, but the complaint did not include her request. When she tried to file the complaint in court, court personnel told her it was unacceptable and they helped her with the divorce paperwork. Ultimately, the divorce was granted on grounds of incompatibility and living separate and apart for more than one year, contrary to what A Divorce Fast had determined.
In today’s unanimous per curiam (not authored by a specific justice) decision, the court adopted the recommendation of the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law to approve a consent decree. In the decree, which is a judgment that all the parties agree to, Hernick admits he engaged in the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) when his company prepared Colburn’s complaint.
The decree requires that Hernick and any company he owns cannot engage in UPL, he must pay a $1,000 fine, and he must reimburse Colburn her $539.
Non-lawyer drafts legal documents for homeowners, represents his real-estate company in court In a second case, the Supreme Court unanimously held that former Mount Vernon arearesident Paul-Eugene Miller had provided legal services, filed paperwork in county recorder offices, and represented his company in court, despite not being an attorney, thus engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
Miller was a managing partner in Diversified Benefits Group Ltd., a company in the business of purchasing homes. Miller, as an agent for the company, would enter into agreements with homeowners to sell their houses to Diversified, and prepare contracts, deeds, trust agreements, affidavits, powers of attorney, and promissory notes.
In 2007, in Howard, Ohio, Craig and Heidi Stevens hired Miller to prepare paperwork to sell their home to him. They paid him $3,000, and he had the couple sign a limited power of attorney, a trust agreement, a “land trust beneficial interest assignment,” and other documents. Miller agreed to take care of all of the property’s expenses once the papers had been signed.
Subsequently, the couple discovered that neither the company nor Miller were making the mortgage payments on the house. Because the couple could not reach Miller, they lost their house to foreclosure. At least five other homeowners reported similar circumstances involving Miller.
In today’s per curiam decision, the court adopted the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law’s report, which found that Miller had engaged in UPL seven times, six times in his dealings with homeowners and once by representing Diversified in court.
The court levied a penalty totaling $7,000 and ordered Miller to stop the unauthorized practice of law.
Company barred from representing debtors in collection matters In 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court approved a consent decree stating that Stuart Jansen and his company, American Mediation & Alternative Resolutions, had represented several clients who were in debt in their settlements with creditors, constituting UPL.
That decree required American Mediation to stop sending correspondence to creditors that disputed the debts of their clients, and to stop representing debtors in the resolution of their debts with creditors.
In today’s unanimous decision, the court adopted the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law’s report, which determined that Jansen and American Mediation had violated the 2010 consent decree by continuing to represent debtors in their settlements with creditors.
After the 2010 consent decree went into effect, American Mediation sent about 35,000 solicitation letters to potential clients and sent close to 459 proposed settlement letters to creditors on behalf of their clients, who paid between $250 and $295 per case.
A new consent decree, approved by the court today, noted that even though the company altered its letters to say that they were not attorneys, the business was not a mediation service, as they claimed.
“The one-sided nature of [their mediation] agreement, which also requires the debtor to pay respondents’ fees in full, reveals that while respondent’s forms may have changed, their underlying business practices – which constitute the unauthorized practice of law – have not,” the court’s per curiam opinion stated.
The court ordered Jansen and American Mediation to permanently stop engaging in “any arbitration, mediation, or alternative dispute resolution of any kind for profit.” It also stated that a minimum penalty of $50,000 will be imposed if either Jansen or American Mediation is found to engage in UPL again.
An attorney who represented clients in three municipal courts while suspended for non-payment of his annual client security fund assessment has been censured by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
The court followed the recommendation of its Disciplinary Review Board.
The DRB report noted that the attorney had appeared in court knowing that he had failed to pay the fund for five years and after being served with notice from disciplinary authorities.
He also had a prior reprimand for the same misconduct and failed to participate in the proceedings. These aggravating factors bumped the sanction up from a reprimand to a censure.
One DRB member would impose a three-month suspension.
There are other jurisdictions (Pennsylvania, for instance) where this misconduct would lead to a lengthy suspension. (Mike Frisch)
The web page of the District of Columbia Bar reports the following scheduled bar disciplinary hearing:
In re Larry E. Klayman, D.N. 048-08
April 7-8, 2014, 9:30 a.m.
Hearings are held in the District of Columbia Courthouse.
The petition (which is not available on line) alleges three instances of violations of District of Columbia Rule of Professional Conduct 1.9 in representing interests materially adverse to Judicial Watch in the same or substantially related matters.
It states that Mr. Klayman was Chairman and General Counsel of Judicial Watch from July 1994 to September 2003. (Mike Frisch)
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
A law firm partner and the firm itself have been publicly censured by the New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department.
Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP (hereinafter C & S), is a law firm engaged in the practice of law with offices at 199 Crossways Park Drive, P.O. Box 9004, Woodbury, New York 11797-9004. David A. Cohen (hereinafter the individual respondent) is the senior partner of C & S. As senior partner, the individual respondent oversaw the legal activities of C & S's collection practice during the relevant period of time, and indirectly supervised approximately three hundred employees, including attorneys, paralegals, collection staff, and support staff. In April 2002, the individual respondent had an informal discussion with Grievance Committee counsel, and was advised to "exercise caution, try to be careful and supervise [his] staff adequately, make sure [he had] appropriate and reasonable procedures in place, and that [he monitored those] procedures." The individual respondent also was advised that he, his partner Mitchell G. Slamowitz, and the attorneys employed by C & S were responsible for the conduct of their staff.
The court found ethical misconduct in several matters where the firm pursued the wrong debtor
The individual respondent, David A. Cohen, did not testify. Rather, the respondents relied primarily upon the testimony of an expert witness, Ronald M. Abramson, Esq. A creditors' attorney and member of the Grievance Commission of Maryland, Abramson testified that the respondents' conduct was both reasonable and proper in the aforementioned matters. According to Abramson, the respondents could not assume that what was being told to them by the debtors was correct, and that the onus was not upon the respondents to establish the validity of the debtors' claims absent written notice from the debtors, within 30 days, following their presumed receipt of a validation letter pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 USC § 1692k; hereinafter FDCPA). Abramson testified, further, that in the absence of FDCPA violations, there could be no ethical violations. However, on cross-examination, Abramson conceded that there did not have to be a violation of the law for there to be professional misconduct.
Notwithstanding Abramson's testimony, we find that the respondents' conduct in the aforementioned matters was neither reasonable nor proper, particularly in the Mujtaba, Quader, and Kerschhagel matters, wherein the respondents had information at their disposal that they were pursuing the wrong debtor; continued to pursue a collection matter even after the matter was concluded; and restrained a debtor's bank account despite improper service and knowledge that the debt had previously been satisfied. Based upon their unreasonable and improper conduct in multiple debt collection matters, we find that the respondents engaged in a pattern and practice of failing to act appropriately, and that this pattern and practice was prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation former Code of Professional Responsibility DR 1-102(A)(5) (22 NYCRR 1200[a]; cf. Matter of Sokoloff, 95 AD3d 254).
As to sanction
In determining an appropriate measure of discipline to impose, we note that the respondents have a voluminous history of similar misconduct. On or about June 29, 2012, the individual respondent received a Letter of Reprimand emanating from complaints filed between 2004 and 2008, which were similar in nature to those presently before the Court. Additionally, from 1996 through 2005, a total of seven Letters of Caution, two Admonitions, and three Personally Delivered Admonitions, were issued to either the individual respondent or C & S, and they all emanated from complaints similar to those involved in the instant petition, and arose from conduct including the failure to conduct adequate investigations prior to commencing debt collections or restraining bank accounts, the failure to adequately supervise non-legal staff, and the failure to adequately address inquiries and complaints from alleged debtors.
In mitigation, C & S's managing attorney, Leandre John, testified that the respondents have undertaken efforts to reform their collection practices by adding a compliance department and other safeguards to prevent future misconduct. John testified that he presently oversees C & S's legal procedures, supervises the attorneys and support staff in the legal department, and assists the individual respondent and his partner in addressing legal issues. He testified, further, that the respondents' compliance department reviews complaints from debtors and alleged debtors, as well as issues between managers and staff. The respondents' expert witness, Abramson, testified that staff training is better now than it was prior to 2008. Moreover, he was impressed by the respondents' compliance department.
The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board has recommended permanent disbarment of a partner in an insurance defense firm who
repeatedly engaged in intentionally reckless expense reporting which resulted in hundreds of misrepresented travel expenses and tens of thousands of dollars in erroneous reimbursements for his sole benefit. Despite an earlier warning by the firm that such conduct was unacceptable, [he] perpetuated the pattern and caused substantial and potentially irreparable injury to Farm Bureau and [his law firm].
The Board rejected the attorney's claim that the evidence against him was hearsay and based on second-hand knowledge. The Board noted that strict rules of evidence do not apply and that the evidence was persuasive and reliable hearsay.
He had previously been suspended for a year and a day for failing to file federal income tax returns. (Mike Frisch)
The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board has concluded that an attorney engaged in no ethical violations in connection with her efforts to assist a pro bono client with his financial affairs.
The charges arose from a petition for interdiction and to appoint a curator filed by an attorney, which is what we here in D.C. would call a guardianship proceeding.
While the Board found that the petition was "sloppy and confusing," it did not rise to the level of a Rule 1.1 violation.
The Board also rejected charges that the attorney had violated her duty of confidentiality in disclosures made during the process, noting that such disclosures were common in such proceedings.
The Board dismissed the charges. (Mike Frisch)
Monday, February 17, 2014
An attorney who wrote two checks on her escrow account with the ledger notation "Help Me" was given a stayed 60-day suspension with conditions by the Indiana Supreme Court.
The attorney was addicted to playing slot machines. The two checks were written to cover gambling losses when her operating account was down to $10.
One check for $1,100 was honored; the second check for $550 was not.
Since the mid-2012 misconduct, the attorney sought treatment for her addiction. Except for a single relapse in April 2013, she had been slot-free since November 2012.
The $1,100 was restored. (Mike Frisch)
The North Carolina State Bar filed charges on Valentine's Day alleging that an attorney who was admitted in 2009 and practiced domestic relations law engaged in improper sexual behavior towards three clients.
The allegations include charges that the attorney texted pictures of himself in the full-length nude and of his erect penis. He also is alleged to have kissed and touched clients in a sexual manner.
He allegedly told one client that he had had a vasectomy and could thus "ride bareback."
Finally, it is alleged that he "wrote off" bills to a client who was the subject of his attentions without advising his firm and lied to the State Bar in response to complaints against him. (Mike Frisch)
Sunday, February 16, 2014
The Louisiana Supreme Court has imposed discipline on two attorneys, only one of whom is admitted to practice in the jurisdiction.
The misconduct took place in a federal case involving a work-related diving accident.
The non-admitted attorney had participated in a deposition and been listed as counsel of record but not sought admission pro hac vice in the case. He thus had engaged in unauthorized practice.
The court held that it had plenary authority to regulate practice within its borders for the protection of its citizens. The sanction imposed prevents the attorney from seeking full or pro hac admission or three years.
Notably, the non-admitted attorney (licensed in Texas and Pennsylvania) was acquitted of ethical misconduct involving the same client by a Texas jury. There, the charges involved providing improper financial assistance and solicitation of professional employment.
The court here rejected the argument that it was obligated to accord full faith and credit to the Texas acquittal because the charges of unauthorized practice were not addressed in that action.
The other (admitted in Louisiana) attorney was disbarred.
Justice Knoll would disbar them both. (Mike Frisch)
Saturday, February 15, 2014
From Kelly Terry at UALR William H. Bowen School of Law:
Assessment Across The Curriculum
Institute for Law Teaching and Learning
Spring Conference 2014
Saturday, April 5, 2014
“Assessment Across the Curriculum” is a one-day conference for new and experienced law teachers who are interested in designing and implementing effective techniques for assessing student learning. The conference will take place on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Conference Content: Sessions will address topics such as
- Formative Assessment in Large Classes
- Classroom Assessment Techniques
- Using Rubrics for Formative and Summative Assessment
- Assessing the Ineffable: Professionalism, Judgment, and Teamwork
- Assessment Techniques for Statutory or Transactional Courses
By the end of the conference, participants will have concrete ideas and assessment practices to take back to their students, colleagues, and institutions.
Who Should Attend: This conference is for all law faculty (full-time and adjunct) who want to learn about best practices for course-level assessment of student learning.
Conference Structure: The conference opens with an optional informal gathering on Friday evening, April 4. The conference will officially start with an opening session on Saturday, April 5, followed by a series of workshops. Breaks are scheduled with adequate time to provide participants with opportunities to discuss ideas from the conference. The conference ends at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Details about the conference are available on the websites of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning (www.lawteaching.org) and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law (ualr.edu/law).
Conference Faculty: Conference workshops will be taught by experienced faculty, including Michael Hunter Schwartz (UALR Bowen), Rory Bahadur (Washburn), Sandra Simpson (Gonzaga), Sophie Sparrow (University of New Hampshire), Lyn Entrikin (UALR Bowen), and Richard Neumann (Hofstra).
Accommodations: A block of hotel rooms for conference participants has been reserved at The DoubleTree Little Rock, 424 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR 72201. Reservations may be made by calling the hotel directly at 501-372-4371, calling the DoubleTree Central Reservations System at 800-222-TREE, or booking online at www.doubletreelr.com. The group code to use when making reservations for the conference is “LAW.”
Friday, February 14, 2014
The North Dakota Supreme Court has ordered a 30-day suspension of an attorney on these stipulated facts:
[Attorney] Shaft admitted the following facts and conclusions. From 1986 to 2012, Shaft practiced in Grand Forks as a member of Shaft, Reis & Shaft, Ltd. ("SRS"). Shaft was a fifty percent shareholder, director, and a corporate officer in SRS, holding the positions of Vice President and Secretary. SRS always operated such that all compensation for legal services performed by the employed attorneys was the property of SRS. The firm did not have written policies regarding matters such as pro bono work, representing family, developing and teaching continuing education courses or mediations. Eleven times during the years he practiced at SRS, Shaft directed payments for his services be paid directly to him at his residential address, instead of to SRS. Shaft generated bills for the eleven matters listing his residence address as the billing address instead of SRS. The matters included, but were not limited to, Shaft formulating and teaching continuing education courses, handling mediations, and a situation where Shaft represented family members. The total amount of the payments Shaft received for the matters was approximately $40,000.
In December 2012, Shaft withdrew from SRS and became the sole shareholder in Grant H. Shaft, PLLC doing business as Shaft Law Office. Shaft reimbursed SRS for the total amount of payments he received for the eleven matters and, upon reimbursement, was paid a sum equal to his fifty percent interest in the amounts reimbursed. By written agreement, SRS and Shaft have resolved any remaining issues regarding similar billings.
The New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department has held that a legal malpractice claim may continue.
The issue on appeal was whether a document should have triggered further review by the defendant law firm.
In this legal malpractice action, plaintiffs allege that defendant law firm failed to provide them with the appropriate legal advice, and rendered a legal opinion without performing the necessary due diligence, in connection with the securitization of a pool of commercial mortgage loans. When one of the loans went into default, the trustee of the trust holding the mortgages brought an action against plaintiffs in federal court alleging that they had breached various warranties in the securitization agreements. Plaintiffs maintain that the alleged breach of the warranties was the result of the law firm's malpractice leading up to and during the securitization process. Plaintiffs claim that they were forced to settle the federal lawsuit for millions of dollars, and that they would not have suffered these damages but for the law firm's negligence. The motion court denied the law firm's motion for summary judgment dismissing the malpractice cause of action. We now modify to dismiss that part of plaintiffs' claim alleging that the law firm failed to provide appropriate legal advice, and to limit plaintiff's claim that the law firm did not perform the requisite due diligence before rendering its legal opinion on the securitization.
The majority opinion notes and disputes a dissent
In concluding that the malpractice cause of action against Cadwalader should be dismissed in its entirety, the dissent misperceives that the majority is reaching out to create an issue of fact. We emphatically reject this contention, and it does not become true simply because the dissent continually repeats it. As noted, the motion court, in its decision, addressed the significance of the Deal Highlights document in denying Cadwalader's motion for summary judgment. In light of the motion court's reliance upon this critical document, it is disingenuous for the dissent to accuse the majority of creating fact issues for trial. In upholding Nomura's malpractice claim on a narrow basis, we fully adhere to our role of "issue-finding, rather than issue-determination" (citation omitted)
From the dissent:
If I agreed with the majority that, on this record, the information in the Deal Highlights document could reasonably be found to constitute a "red flag" that should have prompted Cadwalader to make further inquiry, I would join in affirming the denial of summary judgment. After all, even while they took the position (with which the majority agrees) that Cadwalader was not responsible for conducting due diligence, Cadwalader's expert witnesses and its senior REMIC partner, Charles Adelman, Esq., agreed in their testimony that it would have been appropriate for the firm to raise an issue with Nomura if any information came to Cadwalader's attention that reasonably put in question the qualification of any of the loans for REMIC treatment. Nothing in the record, however, supports the majority's conclusion — a conclusion that Nomura itself has not asked us to draw — that the Deal Highlights document, merely because it stated that the appraisal included the hospital's value as a going concern, should have alerted Cadwalader to a potential problem with the loan, given that Cadwalader had already properly advised the client about the REMIC rules (as determined by the majority). To reiterate, if there was any red flag in this case, it was a document that Nomura, but not Cadwalader, had in its possession when the securitization closed, namely, the August 1997 appraisal of the hospital, which had been prepared as the basis for the underwriting of the Doctor's Hospital loan.
The Nebraska Supreme Court has held that a graduate of the University College Dublin has "attained educational qualifications at least equal to those required at the time of application for admission by examination" and waived the educational requirements to seek Bar admission.
He will now be permitted to take the Nebraska Bar examination.
The applicant had both an undergraduate and law degree from Dublin. He was permitted to sit for (and passed) the New York Bar exam.
He had practiced in New York after his 2006 admission there. He then went to work as a corporate attorney in an Omaha law firm under the supervision of a Nebraska lawyer.
The court found that he did not meet the educational requirements for admission on examination but that waiver was appropriate in light of his education, familiarity with U.S. law and practice in New York. (Mike Frisch)
Thursday, February 13, 2014
An attorney who pleaded no contest to misdemeanor child endangerment charges should be subject to a stayed one year suspension, with an actual suspension of 120 days and probation for two years, according to a recent decision by the Review Department of the California State Bar Court.
The attorney had left his nine-month old daughter unattended in a crib in a Santa Monica hotel room "for at least forty minutes" while taking his three-year-old son for a walk.
The situation as discovered by a bellman who was delivering a baby bottle. When the bellman was unable to reach the attorney by phone, he called the authorities.
The attorney was found to be remorseful and cooperative with the State Bar. The evidence showed that he was deeply affected by this lapse. His wife testified that he was otherwise a good father to his children.
The review department agreed with the hearing judge that the offense did not involve moral turpitude.
Citing two instances of prior discipline, the State Bar sought disbarment. The State Bar contended that the attorney had lied to police.
Neither the hearing judge or the review department found that violation.
The review department was quite critical of the State Bar's changing position on moral turpitude.
The report clearly viewed the disbarment recommendation as excessive, noting that the conduct here (unlike the attorney's prior bar cases) had absolutely nothing to do with the practice of law.
I have to agree. The State Bar's position on sanction is hard to fathom. (Mike Frisch)
An attorney who had been convicted for using illegal drugs and of a battery committed on his girlfriend should be suspended for two years and until further court order, according to a recent report and recommendation by an Illinois Hearing Board.
The findings on the drug use:
Between at least 2003 and 2006, Respondent resided in Chicago and was employed at various law firms in the Chicago area. (Ans. at par. 1). During this time, the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961, section 720 ILCS 570/402, provided, in part, that it was unlawful for any person knowingly to possess cannabis, cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin.
Between 2003 and 2005, Respondent possessed and used cannabis approximately five times a week. On multiple occasions between 2003 and 2006, Respondent possessed and used cocaine and heroin. Additionally, at some point between 2005 and 2006, Respondent possessed and used crack cocaine.
In May 2006, Respondent moved to North Port, Florida. In 2007 and 2008, the Florida Criminal Code...provided, in part, that it was unlawful for any person to be in actual or constructive possession of heroin and cocaine.
In April 2007, while residing in Florida, Respondent possessed and used heroin in an amount sufficient to cause an overdose; Respondent was hospitalized for at least three hours following the overdose. Then, in July 2008, while residing in Florida, Respondent possessed and used cocaine.
The battery charges involved, in part:
Between June 21, 2012, and October 31, 2012, Respondent and Ms. Underwood continued to reside together in Port Charlotte. At approximately 7:00 p.m. on October 31, 2012, Respondent and Ms. Underwood were present at their home in Port Charlotte with an acquaintance named Michael Daniels. At that time, Ms. Underwood was in the shower when she and Respondent began to argue. During this argument, Respondent, intentionally and against Ms. Underwood's will, threw, poured, or squirted bleach in Ms. Underwood's eyes.
After Ms. Underwood exited the shower, dressed herself, and entered a bedroom, Respondent shoved her several times. Ms. Underwood tried to move past Respondent in order to leave the room, but he grabbed her by the belt, and then bit her on her right side. Respondent continued to shove Ms. Underwood, until Mr. Daniels stepped between them and called 911. Respondent's conduct was intentional and against Ms. Underwood's will.
The attorney had initially answered the bar charges but thereater did not participate in the proceedings. (Mike Frisch)