Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 68377
Attorney Name Pierre, Alex Hughes
DBP Docket No. 193 DB 2003
Supreme Court Docket No. 1047 DD No. 3
County Philadelphia
Disciplinary Counsel Richard Hernandez
Counsel for Respondent None
Decision Date 2005-08-30
Effective Date 2005-09-30
Case Digest Respondent was charged with misconduct in two separate disciplinary matters. In the first disciplinary matter, Respondent failed to file a third party benefits action on behalf of a client prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations; failed to advise the client of his mishandling of her case; misrepresented to the client the status of her case; deceived the client into believing that a $5,000 settlement of her first party benefits claim was a settlement of her third party benefits claim; divided the proceeds of the first party benefits settlement between himself and the client; misrepresented to counsel for the clientís medical provider the status of the first party benefits settlement; and commingled and converted fiduciary funds intended for the medical provider. In the second disciplinary matter Respondent failed to provide competent representation to a client by failing to enter insurance contracts into evidence during the trial of the clientís breach of contract actions. In aggravation of discipline, Respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in nine civil and criminal legal matters over an eighteen-month period, exhibited no remorse for his misconduct, and offered less than candid testimony at the disciplinary hearing. The Disciplinary Board had recommended a two-year suspension after concluding that three-year suspensions were imposed in disciplinary cases involving the theft of large sums of fiduciary funds; however, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court imposed a three-year suspension. The Disciplinary Board and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected Respondentís claims that he was deprived of his 6th Amendment right to counsel and right to trial before an impartial arbiter.
Rule Violation(s) RPC 1.1, RPC 1.3, RPC 1.4(a), RPC 1.4(b), RPC 1.5(a), RPC 1.15(a), RPC 1.15(b), RPC 4.1(a), RPC 8.4(a), RPC 8.4(b), and RPC 8.4(c)
Discipline Imposed Three-year suspension
Points of Law Disciplinary Board rejected Respondentís claim that the denial of his Motion for Appointment of Counsel constituted a deprivation of his 6th Amendment right to counsel, citing to Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Campbell. Aggravating factors consisting of the unauthorized practice of law, lack of remorse, and less than candid testimony before the Hearing Committee will result in an enhancement of the discipline to be imposed.
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