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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 37554
Attorney Name Houlihan, Daniel E.
DBP Docket No. 208 DB 2003 and 110 DB 2004
Supreme Court Docket No. 1117 DD No. 3
County Butler
Disciplinary Counsel Cory John Cirelli
Counsel for Respondent
Decision Date 2006-03-28
Effective Date 2006-04-29
Case Digest The consideration of the matter was based upon two consolidated petitions for discipline, one consisting of a single charge and the other consisting of three charges. Respondent chose not to file answers to the petitions and, therefore, the factual averments were deemed admitted pursuant to PaRDE 208(b)(3). In the matter filed at 208 DB 2003, Respondent failed to pursue his clients’ adoption matter with reasonable promptness, necessitating retention of successor counsel to complete the matter three years after Respondent had been retained for that purpose. The petition filed at 110 DB 2004 involved three client matters: [1] failure to adequately communicate with his client about the status of a personal injury claim; [2] failure to perfect an appeal on behalf of another personal injury claimant, his failure to inform the client of the dismissal of the appeal and his false statements to the client in that regard; and, [3] Respondent’s offer of a falsified acceptance of service, which he offered to the court with the knowledge that the person upon whom he had purportedly effected service of notice for a termination of parental rights hearing had not been served. The hearing committee recommended a four year suspension. The Board recommended a four year suspension. Respondent filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court. The issue he raised was the Board’s denials of his requests for a deferment, which Respondent had sought because he was being investigated by the Attorney General’s office in regard to the possibility that he had forged the acceptance of service. Respondent argued that he should not be penalized by Rule 208(b)(3) for exercising his 5th amendment right not to incriminate himself by filing an answer to the petition for discipline filed at 110 DB 2004. The Supreme Court imposed a four year suspension.
Rule Violation(s) 1.3, 1.4(a), 3.3(a)(1), 3.3(a)(4), 4.4, 8.4(b), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d)
Discipline Imposed Suspension of four years.
Points of Law The Board concluded, “Respondent’s conduct is similar to that found in other cases involving the presentation of false documents or evidence ….” (see ODC v. Levine, ODC v. Holston, In re Anonymous No. 56 DB 82 [citations omitted]) and “The instant misconduct is not as egregious as that of Mr. Holston as the evidence does not establish that Respondent forged [the] signature, just that he knew it was not [the actual] signature.”
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