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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 62691
Attorney Name Greenberg, Stephen R.
DBP Docket No. 146 DB 2007
Supreme Court Docket No. 1448 DD No.3
County Allegheny
Disciplinary Counsel William R. Friedman
Counsel for Respondent None
Decision Date 2009-02-25
Effective Date 2009-02-25
Case Digest Respondent repeatedly misrepresented the status of the clients’ case, “[creating] the illusion that the case was going forward, with court hearings and settlement conferences being held” when “there simply was no case.” Moreover, Respondent “was well aware that the applicable statute of limitations had expired” but on two separate occasions over the 11 year period in which he represented the Masleys, had them drive 95 miles one way from their home to Pittsburgh for settlement conferences that never existed. During that time, Respondent knew that the husband client was suffering from an illness that would eventually prove to be fatal. The Board found Respondent’s conduct “was inexplicably callous and insensitive, besides being downright dishonest.” In a separate legal malpractice action file by the clients, by way of a settlement agreement, Respondent agreed to pay the surviving client $5,000 per month for 48 months. The Board stated that the agreement “gives the Board pause, as [client]is entitled to this money and needs it to maintain her living expenses.” The Board stated that if Respondent were to be suspended the client would suffer additional harm by “Respondent’s inability to earn sufficient income.” Thus, the Disciplinary Board recommended that Respondent be suspended for a period of two years with the suspension to be stayed in its entirety, that Respondent be placed on probation for a period of four years, with the condition that Respondent continue to make monthly restitution payments of $5,000 to the client.
Rule Violation(s) 1.3; 1.4(a)(3); 1.4(a)(4); 1.4(b); 1.5(b); 1.16(d); 8.4(c); and 8.4(d)
Discipline Imposed Suspension for 2 years, stayed in full with probation conditional upon payment of restitution
Points of Law Although Respondent engaged in “less egregious” conduct such as failing to have a written fee agreement, failing to keep his clients informed of the status of their matter and failing to communicate with his clients, the “most troubling” aspect of this matter is Respondent’s dishonesty, his repeated misrepresentations of the status of the client’s matter and his attempt to create the illusion that the client’s case was moving forward when he knew full well that it was not.
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