It feels like only yesterday that I was posting the names of attorneys sanctioned by the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission. But another year has passed! For Naughty Business of the Week, here's the fresh list of those suspended or reprimanded statewide during the fiscal year that ended June 30.
BUCKEL, Jason Cord - Reprimand by Consent on September 28, 2010 by the Court of Appeals for defending a proceeding for which there was no basis, failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client, and failure to respond to a lawful demand for information from Bar Counsel.
CROSSLAND, Edward C. - Disbarred by Consent on December 29, 2010 by the Court of Appeals for his conviction of mail fraud.
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
COPPOCK, John E., Jr. - Commission Reprimand for Respondent’s negligent failure to maintain client trust funds in trust to pay a medical provider and for his improper disbursement of those funds to himself and another client. His escrow account checks were not in compliance with Maryland Rule 16-606. Upon learning of his improper use of funds, Respondent paid the Complainant’s outstanding medical bills. Respondent’s conduct violated Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(d) and Maryland Rules 16-606 and 16-609.
FOX, David E. - Disbarred on December 20, 2010 by the Court of Appeals for abandoning 3 clients, for lack of competence, lack of communications and lack of diligence in representing the clients.
GIANNETTI, John A., Jr. - Commission Reprimand for depositing earned fees from client credit card payments in his attorney trust account and depositing unearned fees in criminal cases in his operating account without appropriate notice to his clients. Client ledgers were not maintained in that they contained no running balances. Respondent wrote several trust account checks to the order of “cash.” No client funds were lost as a result of the Respondent’s conduct. Respondent has rectified the shortcomings of his client ledgers and ceased the practices which violate Maryland Rule 16-606.
HAISLIP, John E., Jr. - Commission Reprimand for signing a grantor’s name to an Affidavit of Residence or Principal Residence in connection with a deed he prepared for filing in the Land Records of Anne Arundel County without the knowledge or consent of the grantor. The recitals of the Affidavit were accurate.
STACK, Richard L. - Commission Reprimand for failure to pursue discovery, failed to pursue mitigating factors, failed to pursue his client’s defenses, failure to competently represent his client, and failure to submit monthly bills to his client throughout the representation. Pursuant to the terms of this Reprimand, Respondent is waiving any and all outstanding fees owed by client.
VENUTI, John - Suspension of six (6) months by Consent on April 20, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for his criminal conviction for failure to file federal income tax returns for 3 years.
BROWN, Martin B. - 90-day Suspension by the Court of Appeals on July 27, 2010 for drawing an instrument on an attorney trust account “payable to cash or bearer...” which Respondent violated by drawing on his trust account a check payable to cash, which he then gave to his client; on 3 occasions Respondent knowingly made false statements of material fact about having prepared a release of mortgage by lying to Complainant and Bar Counsel in connection with its disciplinary investigation. Respondent’s conduct violated Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct 4.1(a), 8.1(a), 8.4(c) and (d) and Maryland Rule 16-609(b).
BUTLER, Anthony Ignatius, Jr. - Reprimand by Consent on May 18, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for failure to notify his client in writing that he should seek independent counsel and failure to maintain unearned fees in trust. In another matter, he failed to timely notify the State of Maryland in a wrongful death action and failed to communicate with his client.
GOLDSTEIN, David Bart - Disbarred by Consent on May 3, 2011 by the Court of Appeals because he violated 18 U.S.C. §2252, in violation of Maryland Rule 8.4(b) and (d).
LEWIS, Neil J. - Commission Reprimand for Respondent’s failure to provide competent and diligent representation of clients and for failing to keep clients reasonably informed. He also failed to create and maintain an appropriate client matter record reflecting a deposit and disbursement of settlement funds received by him in trust.
O’HARE, James P. - Commission Reprimand for his conduct by requesting an employee prepare documents to create a bonding company to issue a Supersedeas Bond in connection with litigation involving a business entity in which he held a minor ownership interest. Respondent was not a party to or counsel for the matter, the employee worked for a title company, not his law firm, and the bonding company was not licensed to issue bonds. He took no steps to confirm that the bond was valid and was aware that the bond was filed in court purporting to secure payment of the judgment. While the appellee/judgment creditor could not locate the bonding company once it prevailed on appeal, the bonding company paid the judgment in full. Respondent’s conduct violated Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct 3.3(a)(1) and 8.4(c)
SEIDEN, Richard - Placed on inactive status by Consent on October 18, 2010 by the Court of Appeals due to a health condition.
STANCIL, James E. - Commission Reprimand for Respondent’s and his law firm’s failure to pursue a client’s adoption case. At the time of his partner’s death, the Complainant’s adoption matter had been pending for 6 years. Respondent agreed to refund $1,500 of the $2,500 flat fee he received from Complainant for her case within ten (10) days of 4/30/10. Respondent’s failure to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the adoption matter was being pursued in a competent and timely manner violated Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3 and 5.1.
STERN, Gary Francis - Disbarred on May 3, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for misappropriated client funds, settled a client’s case without permission, then failed to pay the settlement proceeds to the client. He deposited another client’s settlement funds in his operating account.
BORNHORST, Thomas H. - Disbarred by Consent on May 19, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for failure to maintain an attorney escrow account and failure to perform services for which he was retained.
DE LA PAZ, ANDREW GREGORY - Disbarred on March 24, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for failure to provide legal services and for abandoning his clients.
ELLIOTT, Walter Carroll, Jr. - Disbarred on January 24, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for misappropriation of funds.
GITOMER, Mark L. - Commission Reprimand for conduct implicating Md. Code Ann., Criminal Law, §11-306.
NUSBAUM, Harvey Malcolm - Suspended on an Interim basis, effective immediately by the Court of Appeals on August 17, 2010 because he was convicted of a crime involving a bid-rigging scheme at tax sales.
REDD, PATRICK JOSEPH - Disbarred by Consent on March 9, 2011 by the Court of Appeals because he committed a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.
SIEJACK, Richard T. - Indefinite Suspension by Consent on September 28, 2010 by the Court of Appeals, effective November 1, 2010 (with a right to apply for reinstatement no sooner than 6 months from the effective date) for failure to comply with the course of remedial action set forth in a Conditional Diversion Agreement, which the Commission revoked due to such noncompliance.
WARNKEN, Byron L. - Commission Reprimand for Respondent’s failure to respond to a lawful demands for information from Bar Counsel, which violated Rule 8.1(b) of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct.
COCCO-ADAMS, Darlene M. - Commission Reprimand for making inaccurate accusations of misconduct by an opposing counsel. Respondent did not follow appropriate procedures in pursuing her client’s interests during the course of the case.
ROY, Kevin M. - Reprimand by Consent on April 8, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for failure to complete the administration of a small estate, for failure to communicate with his client about the status of the estate matter and upon termination of his representation, failure to allow sufficient time for his client to retain new counsel.
COLLINS, Reuben B., II - Commission Reprimand for Respondent’s failure to maintain appropriate records and failure to reconcile his attorney trust account. Due to these failures he was “out of trust” in the amount of $163.00 in violation of Maryland Rule 16-609(c).
FISHER, Crystal Anita Gist - Disbarred by Consent by the Court of Appeals on July 15, 2010 for her failure to file suit on behalf of a client, lying to the client about not have done so, failure to account to client for retainer, and made tardy refund of part of retainer, in violation of Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.2(a), 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.5(a), 1.15, 1.16(d), 8.1(b) and 8.4 (c) and (d), and Maryland Rule 16-609, and MD CODE ANN., Bus. Occ. & Prof., §10-306.
GRASON, John-Allen Eckel - Suspended effective immediately by the Court of Appeals on July 21, 2010 due to his conviction of second degree assault, fourth degree sexual offense and false imprisonment arising from a late-night confrontation with a woman in his law office, in violation of Maryland Lawyers’ Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(b).
SLATER, Stephen G. - Commission Reprimand for his failure to competently represent his client, which resulted in an adverse judgment, including attorneys fees.
USIAK, Norman Christopher - Suspension of sixty (60) days on April 25, 2011 (beginning 30 days from the date of the Opinion) by the Court of Appeals for engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
ORDYNSKY, Eugenia K. - Commission Reprimand for failure to competently represent her client in an immigration case.
ARNOLD, Anthony D. - Commission Reprimand for his failure to act with reasonable diligence, promptness and thoroughness in his representation of a client and for his failure to adequately communicate with his client. He also failed to turn over the client file at the termination of the representation, which caused a delay in the disposition of a matter pending before a Court.
BANJEVIC, Denise J. - Reprimand for using her escrow account as an operating account, issuing checks drawn on her escrow account payable to cash and for payment of personal and/or business expenses from that account.
BOYKINS, James Rudolph - 2-year Suspension on April 25, 2011 by the Court of Appeals (with the right to reapply after such time he is reinstated by the District of Columbia), effective as of April 25, 2011. He failed to properly maintain trust funds and misrepresented facts to Bar Counsel.
CHANG, Sandy Yeh - Reprimand on September 9, 2010 by the Court of Appeals for filing a bankruptcy petition electronically without first having her client execute the petition pursuant to the bankruptcy rules.
CHARLES, James George - Disbarred by Consent on December 2, 2010 by the Court of Appeals for misappropriation of client funds, hiding trust funds in his trust account and failure to file tax returns.
CHRISTMAS, Patrick J. - Commission Reprimand for failure to maintain funds in his escrow account in connection with his representation of a client in a personal injury claim. Said failure was due to the actions of an employee of the firm.
EDIB, Timur Z. - Reprimand on September 20, 2010 by the Court of Appeals for failure to communicate with his client and for failure to withdraw and protect his client upon termination of representation.
ELMENDORF, John Arthur - Disbarred by Consent on December 16, 2010 by the Court of Appeals for misappropriation of funds belonging to his wife and from a business owned by his wife and others. Respondent also made misrepresentations to obtain a marriage license while he was already married, then entered into a second marriage.
FREIDMAN, GREG S. - Commission Reprimand for failure to enter into a definitive written agreement with his client regarding the disposition of escrowed funds and for delay in creating records regarding such funds.
GREEN, John M. - Commission Reprimand for failure to provide competent representation to his client in the initial filing in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy matter which contained several errors that Respondent failed to correct. He also failed to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter and failed to explain actions taken to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation. Respondent failed to communicate to the client either before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation, the basis or rate of his fee for providing representation and also failed to disclose to her that he received a payment toward his fee from the client’s friend (Respondent’s office suite mate) using funds the client had given the other attorney to hold in escrow.
LARA, JOEL D. - Disbarred on March 4, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for depositing unearned advance fee payments from two bankruptcy clients in a personal account rather than a trust account and then abandoning his law office and clients, without issuing any refund despite performing no legal work. Respondent knowingly failed to respond to Bar Counsel’s lawful demands for information.
MAYNARD, Charles M. - Commission Reprimand for failure to maintain the unearned portion of his client’s prepaid fees in his trust account until earned and for using the unearned fees for his personal use. Respondent failed to keep Complainant advised concerning the accrual of fees, failed to respond to her requests for information and failed to promptly refund the unearned portion of the prepaid fees upon termination of the representation of the Complainant.
NWADIKE, Ozoemena, Maryrose - Disbarred on August 25, 2010 by the Court of Appeals for repeatedly and improperly advancing client monies from the escrow account, providing inaccurate and incomplete accounting of trust account activity; and for offering vague and evasive answers to inquiries at an investigative hearing, in violation of Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(a) and 8.4(a), (c) & (d).
OLER, Carren Susan- Reprimand by Consent on February 23, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for failure to comply with her client’s request for billing information and failure to respond to lawful demands for information from Bar Counsel.
ROSEN, CORINNE G. - Commission Reprimand for her communication with a witness who was represented by counsel in her client’s case. The Respondent’s conduct caused delay and expense to her clients, which Respondent ultimately settled and paid from her own funds.
SOLOMON, Richard Glenn - Disbarred by Consent on September 9, 2010 for failure to maintain funds pursuant to his fiduciary duties.
SUCKLAL, Sirina A. - Disbarred on January 25, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and the unauthorized practice of law.
TUMA, Malik James - Commission Reprimand for failure to provide diligent representation in connection with a trust, failure to adequately communicate with the client, failure upon termination of the representation, to return the client’s property in a timely manner, and failure to respond to one or more lawful demands for information from Bar Counsel.
WATSON, Joe D., Jr. - Commission Reprimand for failure to deposit and hold an unearned advance fee payment in a trust account. In his representation of a client, Respondent failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness and failed to keep the client reasonably informed and to respond to her reasonable requests for information. After the client complained to the Attorney Grievance Commission, Respondent offered to refund the unearned portion of her retainer if she would (a) sign a release settling a District Court lawsuit she filed against him, and (b) also agree to withdraw her grievance against him. He obtained her agreement to the proposed settlement without advising her in writing of the desirability of seeking, and without giving her a reasonable opportunity to seek, the advice of independent legal counsel in connection therewith.
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY
BLAIR, Walter Lloyd - Suspended on an Interim basis, effective immediately by the Court of Appeals on July 21, 2010 due to his conviction of a crime, in violation of Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b), (c) and (d).
GREENE, JAMES E. - Commission Reprimand for failure to pay Complainant the sums ordered by a Virginia court as a result of his divorce, allowing a warrant for his arrest to be issued, and for failure to fully and timely respond to Bar Counsel’s lawful requests for information.
THAXTON, Ronnie - Indefinite Suspension (with the right to reapply for re-admission after reinstatement to the Bar of the District of Columbia) by the Court of Appeals on July 28, 2010 as reciprocal disciplinary action arising from Respondent’s Indefinite Suspension, with conditions, in the District of Columbia, as a result of his negligent misappropriation of settlement funds and his interference with the administration of justice, in violation of Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(a), 1.4(a)(2) and (3), 1.4(b), 1.5(c), 1.15(a), (d) and (e) and 8.4(d).
ST. MARY'S COUNTY
MATTINGLY, JOHN A., JR. - 90-day Suspension by Consent on March 15, 2011 (effective April 1, 2011) by the Court of Appeals because he drafted and approved deeds knowing that the notarizations were improper.
PERICONI, Steven David - Disbarred by Consent on May 19, 2011 by the Court of Appeals for neglecting an estate and for misuse of funds. In another matter, he made misrepresentations to his clients, fabricated documents and removed unearned fees from his client trust account.
HONICK, David Nathaniel - Placed on inactive status by Consent on October 5, 2010 by the Court of Appeals due to a health condition.
PALMER, Christopher Allen - Disbarred on November 30, 2010 by the Court of Appeals for transferring client funds held in his firm’s escrow account to the firm’s operating account, applying those funds to fees owed by other clients. Respondent also misrepresented to his supervising attorneys that he had initiated several suits on behalf of clients when he had not done so.
OUT OF STATE
BOOKER, Tony L. - Commission Reprimand for failure to adequately advise his client, as a Personal Representative of an Estate, as to the Personal Representative’s commission, obtaining Court’s prior approval for payment of commission, attorney fees and other matters relating to administration of the Estate. Respondent also charged unreasonable and/or excessive fees and received at least one check written on the Estate account as payment for some fees he knew or should have known the Orphan’s Court had not approved. An action was brought against Respondent and a judgment was entered against him.
COPPOLA, John Michael - Disbarred on April 29, 2011 for his assistance in his clients’ fraudulent actions in an estate matter.
HOLT, Carolyn Marie - Indefinite Suspension by Consent on October 5, 2010 by the Court of Appeals as a result of making a false statement to the Court concerning a witness’s availability and for continuing to mislead the Court about the witness. This is a reciprocal disciplinary matter corresponding to Respondent’s 91-day Suspension in the State of Florida and a 1-year probation period upon reinstatement in Florida.
KAUFMAN, ROBERT P. - Commission Reprimand for his failure to appear in court, resulting in the court dismissing the complaint. Respondent failed to move to reinstate the matter and failed to communicate to his client that her case had been dismissed and that he failed to pursue the matter. Respondent failed to turn over the file to the client despite repeated requests.
LEWIS, John Davis - Disbarred by Consent on February 8, 2011 by the Court of Appeals due to his conviction of a criminal act.
MANCE, Robert W., III - Commission Reprimand as reciprocal discipline corresponding to a public censure issued to him by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for improperly commingling funds in his escrow account in violation of Rule 1.15(a) and for failing to promptly return funds to a client upon termination of representation, in violation of Rule 1.16(d) of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct.
PLESHAW, Robert J. - Disbarred on March 22, 2011 by the Court of Appeals, until such time as Respondent is reinstated to the practice of law in the District of Columbia. (This is a reciprocal disciplinary matter corresponding to Respondent’s disbarment from the practice of law in the District of Columbia on August 12, 2010 for taking fees from an estate without prior Court approval.)
THOMAS, Donovan E. - Disbarred by Consent on October 26, 2010 by the Court of Appeals for misappropriation of client trust funds.
ZODROW, John Joseph - Disbarred on April 27, 2011 because he perjured himself.