Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 44161
Attorney Name Casella, Lawrence James
DBP Docket No. 81 DB 2003
Supreme Court Docket No. 859 DD #3
County Allegheny
Disciplinary Counsel Cory John Cirelli
Counsel for Respondent Craig Evan Simpson
Decision Date 2005-09-08
Effective Date 2003-09-22
Case Digest Respondent asserted that the IOLTA rules violated constitutional principles and his own deeply held moral beliefs. He attempted to obtain exemptions from compliance with the IOLTA rules for all of the accounts where he held qualified funds, but he was unsuccessful. When that tack failed, he engaged in a running battle with the IOLTA Board over its procedures for obtaining exemptions from the IOLTA rules. During that time, he certified that his PA Attorney Annual Fee Form information was correct as to an exemption having been granted, when he knew that an exemption request as to one of his accounts had been denied. After the IOLTA Board referred the matter to Disciplinary Counsel for investigation of Respondentís refusal to comply with the IOLTA rules, Disciplinary Counsel caused subpoenas to be issued to Respondent and to the banks where he maintained his non-IOLTA trust accounts. Respondent filed a motion to quash the subpoena directed to him, which was denied. When Respondent failed to obey the Disciplinary Boardís directive that he comply with the subpoena, Disciplinary Counsel filed a petition for rule to show cause why he should not be temporarily suspended. By Order of the Supreme Court dated 9/22/2003 Respondent was placed on temporary suspension. Respondent was charged in a petition for discipline with failing to place all qualified funds received by him in an IOLTA account, deliberately failing to disclose a material fact requested in connection with a disciplinary matter, and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
Rule Violation(s) 1.15(d), 1.15(e), 8.4(a) and 8.4(c).
Discipline Imposed Suspension of one year, retroactive to 9/22/03
Points of Law
Report/Opinion Download