||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.