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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 44089
Attorney Name Silverman, Gary Scott
DBP Docket No. 7 DB 2001
Supreme Court Docket No. 632 D.D. No. 3
County Out of State (MD)
Disciplinary Counsel Edwin W. Frese, Jr.
Counsel for Respondent None
Decision Date 2001-01-22
Effective Date 2001-02-21
Case Digest This is a reciprocal discipline case. On February 28, 2000, the Maryland Court of Appeals suspended Respondent for a period of 30 days based upon a Joint Petition for Suspension By Consent of Bar Counsel and Respondent. The underlying charges were that Respondent had failed to adequately supervise his office staff resulting in the commingling of Respondent’s funds with those of clients and also the failure to discover for 15 months that the bank had incorrectly removed $25,000 FROM Respondent’s escrow account resulting in a few checks being returned NSF. During the time in question, both the Respondent and his wife were experiencing serious medical problems which kept Respondent out of the office a great deal of time. Respondent did not report his suspension to Pennsylvania. It was discovered by review of a National Disciplinary Data Bank Report. By Notice and Order dated November 17, 2000, Respondent was directed to inform the Court of any claim he had as to why the imposition of identical or comparable discipline would be unwarranted in this Commonwealth. The Notice and Order was sent to Respondent’s last registered address. Respondent made no reply and by Order dated January 22, 2001, he was suspended for 30 days and directed to comply with Rule 217, requiring notification to clients of his suspension. On or about February 23, 2001, the Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration essentially claiming he did not respond to the Notice and Order because it was sent to a former address and that the 30 day suspension in Maryland did not require him to notify his clients of his suspension while Pennsylvania’s 30 day suspension did, rendering Pennsylvania’s sanction materially different that Maryland’s. Disciplinary Counsel responded by pointing out that Respondent had not only failed to notify Pennsylvania of his Maryland suspension in violation of Rule 216(e), but also failed to timely register and pay his annual fees for FY 2000-2001 or notify the Administrative office of his change of address in violation of various subsections of Rule 219. The Court denied Respondent’s request for reconsideration by Order dated March 23, 2001
Rule Violation(s) Md. Rule of Professional Conduct 5.3; Md. Rule 16-607 (commingling)
Discipline Imposed 30 day suspension (reinstated 12/10/01)
Points of Law Caveat: One should not complain about not receiving notice when he failed to amend registered address to which notice was sent. Note: No subsection of Md.RCP 5.3 was specified, although the facts indicate it was subsection (b) dealing with a lawyer’s duty to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the nonlawyer employees under the lawyer’s direct supervisory authority act in conformance with the professional obligations of the lawyer. It was pointed out in Disciplinary Counsel’s letter to the Court that Maryland Rule 5.3(b) is mandatory as it uses the word “shall” while Pennsylvania RCP 5.3(b) is not as it uses the word “should.” [Note -- this was true at the time of the conduct, but the Pennsylvania rule has been amended and now reads "shall" like the Maryland rule].
Report/Opinion not available