Thursday, July 9, 2020

Threats And Unwarranted Disclosures

A partially stayed three-month suspension with 30 days of actual suspension was imposed by a single justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

The summary from the web page of the Board of Bar Overseers

Smith and Doe (pseudonyms) were in a dating relationship in college. After the relationship ended, Smith alleged that Doe had engaged in sexual misconduct. Representing Doe, the respondent preemptively threatened Smith with disciplinary and criminal actions. She later sued their college after its hearing panel concluded that Doe had had non -consensual sex with Smith. The respondent repeatedly used Smith’s real name in her filings against the college. She also provided personal information about Smith, including irrelevant but "extremely private potentially embarrassing" facts. Although the respondent twice agreed, and was ordered by the Court, to redact her filings, she did not do so fully. She disclosed facts to a third-party blogger through unredacted pleadings and attachments. She knew or should have known the blogger would publicize Smith's name further, and the blogger did so. As a result, this material was readily available to the public.


The respondent stipulated that her conduct violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.1 (competence); 1.3 (diligence); 3.4 (c) (failure to comply with obligations under the rules of a tribunal); 3.4 (h) (threatening to present criminal charges solely to obtain an advantage in a civil matter); 4.4 (a) (actions on behalf of client that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person); 8.4 (a) (misconduct through the acts of others); 8.4 (d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice); and 8.4 (h) (other conduct reflecting adversely on fitness to practice)

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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