||Graves, Lougenia s.
|DBP Docket No.
||71 DB 2009
|Supreme Court Docket No.
||1609 DD No. 3
||Robert P. Fulton
|Counsel for Respondent
||Respondent was originally scheduled to receive a Private Reprimand with conditions but failed to comply. Consequently, Respondent was ordered to receive a Public Censure. Respondent failed to appear for the Public Censure and as a result was ordered suspended for a period of one year and one day by the Supreme Court. The date of the order of suspension was September 26, 1996. Prior to the date of the order, Respondent had applied for appointment as an arbitrator in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Compulsory Arbitration Program, to which she was appointed on July 18, 1996. The application for appointment as an arbitrator specifically requires that an arbitrator must be a member of good standing and that the arbitrator immediately notify the Arbitration Center if the arbitrator’s status changed. Following her suspension, Respondent sat as an arbitrator on at least 50 occasions, of which she was chair at least 8 times. Respondent never attempted to be reinstated and remained on the list of arbitrators until October 20, 2008. At no time following her suspension did Respondent notify the Arbitration Center, the courts, or the parties whose cases she arbitrated of her suspension.
Respondent was not involved in the disciplinary proceeding as she failed to: 1) respond to the petition for discipline; 2) attend the prehearing conference and disciplinary hearing; and 3) file briefs with either the Hearing Committee or Disciplinary Board.
||RPC 5.5(b), RPC 8.4(c), RPC 8.4(d), Pa.R.D.E. 203(b)(3) via Pa.R.D.E. 217(c)(2), 217(e), 217(j)(1), 217(j)(2)(i-iii), and 217(j)(4)(iv)
|Points of Law
||Respondent’s failure to notify the court, the arbitration center, the court administrators, fellow arbitrators, or the parties to the litigation on which she sat as an arbitrator, and her “engaging in law-related activities and representing herself as a lawyer in good standing” resulted in violations of the foregoing Rules of Professional Conduct and Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement. By actively sitting as an arbitrator on at least 50 occasions, Respondent “was flouting the suspension order and committing misconduct.
Respondent’s contact with the disciplinary system beginning with an Informal Admonition in 1992 and the fact that she “has mainly absented herself from participation in the proceedings against her, show[s] a marked disdain for the disciplinary system and a lack of interest in her law license.” As a result, “Respondent’s failure to participate at any level seriously aggravates the underlying misconduct and calls into question her fitness to practice law.”
Respondent’s misconduct coupled with the aggravating factors requires her disbarment “to ensure the protection of the public and the integrity of the profession.”