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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 31005
Attorney Name Dougherty , Edward Raymond
DBP Docket No. 56 DB 2009
Supreme Court Docket No. No. 1495 DD No. 3
County Delaware
Disciplinary Counsel Harold E. Ciampoli, Jr.
Counsel for Respondent Samuel C. Stretton
Decision Date 2009-08-05
Effective Date 2009-12-02
Case Digest Respondent represented Dennis Massimo in a civil action against two defendants. Respondent was present when Massimo testified at a deposition. Unbeknownst to Respondent at the time, Massimo had fraudulently manufactured evidence and perjured himself at the deposition. Another witness' deposition made Massimo's perjury clear to Respondent and opposing counsel. At that point, Respondent was on notice that pleadings that Respondent had previously filed on Massimo's behalf contained material false statements and were being supported by falsely manufactured evidence and perjured testimony. Respondent failed to take reasonable remedial measures and failed to take any action to correct the record before the court. On numerous occasions, opposing counsel for both defendants requested Respondent to withdraw his case and a Lis Pendens that he had filed. However, Respondent continued to represent Massimo. Three months later, Respondent filed pleadings to remove the Lis Pendens and discontinue the claims against the two defendants. Respondent continued to represent Massimo on defendants' counterclaims. A defendant filed a Petition to Have Counsel Fees Awarded, alleging that Respondent and his client had engaged in conduct that was arbitrary, vexatious and/or in bad faith, which was granted after hearing, and Respondent was found personally liable. Respondent finally filed a Petition to Withdraw as Counsel for Mr. Massimo. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted the Joint Petition in Support of Discipline and ordered Respondent be subject to public censure.
Rule Violation(s) RPC 1.6(b) ; RPC 1.16 (a) (1); RPC 3.3 (a) (1); RPC 3.3 (a) (3); RPC 3.3(b); RPC 8.4(d)
Discipline Imposed Public censure
Points of Law This case is distinguishable from many other cases involving candor towards the tribunal in that Respondent made no affirmative knowing representations to the court; in no way attempted to conceal his client's fraudulent activity; and had no complicity in his client's decision to create false documents and testify untruthfully. However, Respondent's sanction was warranted because of his failure to take remedial measures to correct the fraud his client had perpetuated upon the court, once he came to know of his client's wrongdoing.
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