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Bar News - March 23, 2007


NH Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee

Morgan, Robert I. advs. Virginia Lee Yarus # 05-102

 

Summary of Six Month Suspension, with Three Months Stayed for Two Years

 

The New Hampshire Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee deliberated the matter of Morgan, Robert I. advs. Virginia Lee Yarus # 05-102. On March 5, 2007, the Committee issued a six month suspension, with three months stayed for two years, contingent on compliance with the terms and conditions of a stipulated agreement.

 

The parties stipulated, and the Committee found, that Ms. Virginia Yarus hired Robert I. Morgan, Esquire, in 2003 to represent her in a divorce case. Mr. Morgan was in practice in Claremont, New Hampshire during his representation of Ms. Yarus. Opposing counsel repeatedly attempted to schedule a discovery deposition of Ms. Yarusí expert, and obtain a copy of her file, to which Mr. Morgan did not respond. Ms. Yarus was not informed of the requests. The Court granted opposing counselís Motion to Exclude (the expert witnessís testimony), and denied Mr. Morganís Motion for Late Entry of Objection. As a result, Ms. Yarus was precluded from using the testimony of her expert.

 

The Committee determined that the record supports factual findings by clear and convincing evidence that:

 

  • Mr. Morganís failures to communicate to Ms. Yarus regarding requests for a deposition of her expert, the Motion to Exclude, and the Courtís decision to grant the Motion to Exclude constitute a failure to keep a client reasonably informed regarding the status of a matter. It also represents a failure to explain the legal and practical aspects of the discovery issues and alternative courses of action, to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions.
  • Mr. Morgan failed to respond to the November 9, 2005, letter from General Counsel until after the Complaint Screening Committee had forwarded to Disciplinary Counsel a ďfailure to cooperateĒ charge.

The Committee found by clear and convincing evidence that Robert I. Morgan violated the following Rules of Professional Conduct: 1.4(a)-(c); 8.1(b) and 8.4(a).

 

Mr. Morgan was issued a six month suspension, with three months stayed for two years contingent on compliance with the terms and conditions of a stipulated agreement. The Committee also accepts Mr. Morganís stipulated assent to pay costs incurred by the Committee in the investigation and prosecution of this matter. The matter is public record, and available for inspection at the New Hampshire Supreme Court Attorney Discipline Office, 4 Park Street, Suite 304, Concord, New Hampshire.

 

 

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