Bar News - August 14, 2009
NH Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee
White, Stephen A.S. advs. Elaina Roberts # 07-044In August, 2005, Stephen A.S. White, Esquire, of Dover, New Hampshire, was appointed by the Strafford County Superior Court to represent Elaina Roberts in connection with various criminal charges. At the conclusion of the matter, Ms. Roberts requested that Mr. White file an appeal, which Mr. White failed to do.
SUMMARY OF ORDER
SIX MONTH SUSPENSION STAYED FOR TWO YEARS
The Committee found by clear and convincing evidence that Steven A.S. White violated the following Rules of Professional Conduct: 1.1(a-c): Competence, 1.2(a): Scope of Representation, 1.3(a): Diligence, and 8.4(a): Misconduct, because the Committee determined that Mr. White had an ethical responsibility to file an appeal under the circumstances.
Upon consideration of Mr. White’s disciplinary history and finding of both negligent and knowing violations and caused actual or potential harm, on May 29, 2009, the Committee issued a six month suspension stayed for two years provided that certain conditions are met. The matter is public record, and available for inspection at the New Hampshire Supreme Court Attorney Discipline Office, 4 Chenell Drive, Suite 102, Concord, New Hampshire 03301.
- Mr. White breached the duty of competence by failing to have specific knowledge of the law as it applied to his responsibility to file a timely notice of appeal on behalf of his client, pursuant to her request to file such a notice of appeal.
- Mr. White breached his duty of scope of representation by failing to properly consult with his client and failing to abide and act upon her decision to appeal her convictions.
- Mr. White breached his duty of diligence by failing to file a timely notice of appeal of his client’s criminal convictions.
July 10, 2009
Bridge, Allyn C. advs. Janet Howe # 08-007
THREE MONTH SUSPENSION WITH CONDITIONS
In October 2006, Janet Howe retained Allyn C. Bridge, Esquire, to file a breach of contract action for an unpaid loan in the amount of $10,500.00. Mr. Bridge filed a writ of summons against the borrower in Franklin District Court on February 21, 2007. The Court dismissed the case on August 16, 2007, ruling that it was primarily an equity action. Mr. Bridge met with Ms. Howe again on September 7, 2007, at which time she requested Mr. Bridge to refile the lawsuit in Superior Court. Mr. Bridge failed to do so. Ms. Howe made numerous requests to Mr. Bridge inquiring about the status of her lawsuit. After numerous requests went unanswered, Ms. Howe complained to the Attorney Discipline Office in January 2008.
The Committee found by clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Bridge violated the following Rules of Professional Conduct: Rule 1.3: Diligence; Rule 1.4(a-c): Client Communication; Rule 3.2: Expediting Litigation; Rule 8.1(b): Failure to Cooperate, and Rule 8.4(a): General Rule.
The Committee deemed these violations to be knowing violations that caused actual financial harm. The Committee also considered Mr. Bridge’s prior disciplinary history, multiple violations, and lack of any effort to provide restitution. Based on these and other
- Mr. Bridge had a duty to act with reasonable promptness and diligence, and failed to do so when he failed to refile the lawsuit in Superior Court.
- Mr. Bridge had a duty to keep his client reasonably informed and to promptly comply with his client’s reasonable requests for information.
- Mr. Bridge had a duty to expedite the filing of Ms. Howe’s lawsuit in Superior Court, and violated his obligation to expedite litigation consistent with his client’s interests.
- Mr. Bridge has a duty to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority, and failed to respond.
considerations, on May 29, 2009, the Committee issued a three month suspension with conditions and costs. The matter is public record and available for inspection at the New Hampshire Supreme Court Attorney Discipline Office, 4 Chenell Drive, Suite 102, Concord, New Hampshire 03301.
July 16, 2009