Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Another Smoking Gun In D.C. Bar Disciplinary Dysfunction

A District of Columbia Ad Hoc Hearing Committee recently issued a report that would be unremarkable save for two facts.

The first fact

An evidentiary hearing was held on May 9 and 10, 2012, and August 10, 2012.

Yes. the hearing was held five years ago. Reports are due within 120 days of the close of the record.

Second and equally lamentable is the fact that Disciplinary Counsel had brought a second matter against the same respondent.

That matter was assigned to a separate hearing committee which filed its report last month concluding

the Committee concludes that Disciplinary Counsel has established a violation of Virginia Rules 1.1 and 1.3(a) in that Respondent did not adequately prepare before filing the Complaint, prejudiced his client’s case by filing on the statutory deadlines, and did not pursue discovery with sufficient diligence once he filed. We also find that he violated Rules 3.3(a) and 8.4(c) in asserting in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that Dr. Davis had an office at Central State when the record in this case showed that the doctor did not. We recommend that he be suspended for a period of forty-five days.

Here the hearing committee found misconduct and recommends a public censure

Respondent, Gregory L. Lattimer, Esquire, is charged with violating Rule 1.4(a) of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Rules”), in each of three separate client matters. The Hearing Committee finds clear and convincing evidence that Respondent violated Rule 1.4(a) in the course of his representation of two clients, and recommends that Respondent receive a public censure for his misconduct. The Hearing Committee finds that Disciplinary Counsel did not establish a violation of Rule 1.4(a) in the third client matter.

But understand this.

Because the two matters were not joined, this committee was blissfully unaware of the other serious matter.

In 2006, Respondent was issued an informal admonition for conduct that took place in 2003 involving his failure to properly distribute the proceeds of a settlement, in violation of Rules 1.1(a) (competent representation), 1.1(b) (skill and care), 1.5(e) (failure to advise client in writing of division of fees and responsibilities of co-counsel), and 1.15(a) and (b) (failure to safekeep and properly disburse client funds). Respondent has no other disciplinary infractions.

Both matters are now before the Board on Professional Responsibility, which is obligated to treat the matters in tandem.

The two reports are In re Gregory Lattimer and can be accessed here. (Mike Frisch)


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