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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 19261
Attorney Name Tomasco, Mary Ellen
DBP Docket No. 111 DB 2004
Supreme Court Docket No. 1097 DD No. 3
County Chester
Disciplinary Counsel Harold E. Ciampoli, Jr.
Counsel for Respondent John Rogers Carroll
Decision Date 2006-03-10
Effective Date 2006-04-10
Case Digest In 1990 Respondent’s client granted Respondent power of attorney authority. By August 2002, the client was not competent to make any legal or financial decisions by reason of dementia. In the fall of 2002, Respondent liquidated some of the client’s bond holdings and deposited $275,000.00 of the client’s money into Respondent’s personal bank account. Respondent utilized these funds for her own benefit to purchase a New Mexico real estate property. Respondent prepared and executed a purported indenture between herself and the client in the sum of $275,000.00 mortgaging the premises of the New Mexico property. Respondent did not take any steps to have the indenture recorded and did not obtain the services of independent counsel to represent the client’s interest or to review the transaction. The Hearing Committee recommended a public censure and probation. The Disciplinary Board concluded a stronger sanction was necessary. The Supreme Court by order of March 10, 2006, concurred with the recommendation of the Disciplinary Board and suspended Respondent for a period of one year and one day.
Rule Violation(s) 1.7(b), 1.8(a), and 1.8(b)
Discipline Imposed Suspension for 1 year and 1 day
Points of Law The Board found that although the evidence did not support a finding of theft of client funds or dishonesty, Respondent’s conflict of interest with a mentally incompetent client “goes to the heart of the attorney client relationship.” Respondent abused her professional relationship with a client for personal gain by unilaterally imposing a business transaction on an incapacitated client. Respondent’s actions constituted a grave misstep and warranted a suspension of one year and one day.
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