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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 0
Attorney Name Anonymous,
DBP Docket No. 49 DB 2004
Supreme Court Docket No. 1104 DD No. 3
County
Disciplinary Counsel Donna M. Snyder
Counsel for Respondent Ellen C. Brotman
Decision Date 2006-03-23
Effective Date 0000-00-00
Case Digest Respondent admitted that while caring for his infirmed mother in his home, he wrote checks to himself from his mother’s account up until a week before she died. These unauthorized expenditures amounted to approximately $229,000 over two and a half years. Respondent stated he expected and intended to repay his mother and/or her estate for the monies he “borrowed” from an anticipated contingency fee in a large personal injury case, which did not happen. Following his mother’s death, Respondent failed to provide an accounting of the estate to his three sisters, each of whom was a beneficiary. Respondent explained to the other beneficiaries, his sisters, that he was going through hard times and severe financial crisis and to please bear with him and he would attempt to repay the money. Dr. Richard F. Limoges, M.D., a board certified psychiatrist testified at Respondent’s hearing that Respondent suffered from an adjustment disorder and a personality disorder referred to as the “rescuer” or “hero child.” The adjustment disorder was a significant chronic depressive illness brought about by multiple, severe life stressors. The stressors caused decreased or aberrant performance, changes in professional and social relationships, uncharacteristic conduct and an alteration of mood. Dr. Limoges made a causal connection between Respondent’s adjustment disorder and his misconduct. The Disciplinary Board found that Respondent was wrong to make misrepresentations to his sisters regarding their mother’s estate and credited Respondent with writing letters to all of the sisters apologizing for misleading them and explaining that he borrowed the money from his mother as a result of his severe financial crisis. Respondent has no prior history of misconduct. The Hearing Committee and the Disciplinary Board recommended a Public Censure. The Supreme Court ordered a one-year stayed suspension with two years probation with a practice monitor.
Rule Violation(s) 1.15(a), RPC 1.15(b) and RPC 8.4(c).
Discipline Imposed One-year suspension stayed in its entirety – probation for two years w/practice monitor.
Points of Law
Report/Opinion not available