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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 68377
Attorney Name Pierre, Alex Hughes
DBP Docket No. 134 DB 2004
Supreme Court Docket No. 1113 DD No. 3
County Philadelphia
Disciplinary Counsel Richard Hernandez
Counsel for Respondent None
Decision Date 2006-03-28
Effective Date 2006-04-27
Case Digest Respondent was charged with misconduct in two separate disciplinary matters. In the first disciplinary matter, Respondent failed to file a response to defendantsí Expert Interrogatories, resulting in the court issuing an order precluding his clients from presenting expert testimony in their legal malpractice case. Respondent also failed to comply with court orders. The second disciplinary matter concerned Respondent having engaged in the unauthorized practice of law over the course of eighteen months. Respondent handled twelve client matters during that time span, of which six were new client matters assumed following his transfer to inactive status. Respondentís unauthorized practice of law consisted of attending hearings, filing pleadings, rendering legal consultation and advice, negotiating matters with opposing counsel, and undertaking discovery. Respondent failed to advise his clients, the courts, and opposing counsel of his transfer to inactive status and failed to withdraw his appearance in any client matters pending at the time of his transfer to inactive status. Respondent misrepresented to his clients, the courts, and opposing counsel that he was licensed to practice law. Respondent also failed to file a verified statement of compliance with the Secretary of the Disciplinary Board. In one matter, Respondent failed to communicate to the client the terms of the fee agreement in writing. In aggravation of discipline, Respondent had six legal malpractice actions and one wrongful use of civil process action filed against him. The Disciplinary Board recommended that Respondent receive a three-year suspension to run concurrent with a three-year suspension imposed in a prior disciplinary proceeding. The prior disciplinary proceeding involved acts of misconduct that were distinct from the matters currently before the Disciplinary Board; however, Respondentís unauthorized practice of law was raised as an aggravating factor in the prior disciplinary proceeding. Because Respondentís present misconduct occurred in the same time frame as the misconduct in the prior disciplinary proceeding, and Respondentís unauthorized practice of law was raised as an aggravating factor in the prior disciplinary proceeding, the Disciplinary Board recommended a three-year suspension to run concurrent with the three-year suspension imposed in the prior disciplinary proceeding. The Disciplinary Board denied Respondentís request to dismiss the disciplinary charges based on the doctrine of double jeopardy and/or collateral estoppel.
Rule Violation(s) RPC 1.1, RPC 1.3, RPC 1.4(a), RPC 1.4(b), RPC 1.5(b), RPC 1.16(a)(1), RPC 3.3(a)(1), RPC 4.1(a), RPC 5.5(b), RPC 8.4(c), RPC 8.4(d), and Pa.R.D.E. 203(b)(3) via Pa.R.D.E. 217(b), Pa.R.D.E. 217(c)(1), Pa.R.D.E. 217(c)(2), Pa.R.D.E. 217(d), and Pa.R.D.E. 21
Discipline Imposed Three-year suspension to run concurrent with a prior three-year suspension dated 8/30/2005
Points of Law The Disciplinary Board will reject an attorneyís request to dismiss disciplinary charges based on the doctrine of double jeopardy and/or collateral estoppel if the disciplinary charges in the present proceeding are separate and apart from the disciplinary charges decided in a prior proceeding. However, if the acts of misconduct occur in the same time frame, the Disciplinary Board will consider that factor in fashioning the discipline to impose.
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