Bar News - June 18, 2010
NH Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee
Hogan, Dennis C. advs. Attorney Discipline Office # 09-016
SUMMARY OF PUBLIC CENSURE
On April 20, 2010, the Professional Conduct Committee deliberated the above-captioned matter, and issued a Public Censure to Dennis C. Hogan, Esquire, of Nashua, N.H. on April 28, 2010, for violations of N.H. Rule Prof. Conduct 1.7(a) and (b): Conflict of Interest; Rule 1.8(h): Prohibited Transactions, and 8.4(a): Misconduct. The parties stipulated to the facts, violations, sanction, and that Mr. Hogan would pay all costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of this matter.
In or about January, 2009, Mr. Hogan agreed to prepare and file pleadings and paperwork required for his clients to obtain a divorce, for a fixed fee of $750. At Mr. Hoganís request, an initial payment of $375 and a subsequent payment of $175 were made. Mr. Hogan met with the couple and obtained from them information that was required in order to prepare and file a Joint Petition, Permanent Stipulation, Parenting Plan, data sheets and other documents. On March 10, 2009, Mr. Hogan filed an appearance as counsel for the couple. Mr. Hogan did not at any time confer with the parties about the actual or potential conflict of interest associated with representing both of then.
At a May 19, 2009, hearing, Mr. Hogan represented himself as counsel for both parties. The court issued an Interim Order noting that Mr. Hoganís appearance was prohibited under N.H. R. Prof. Conduct 1.7 and disqualified him from representing either party.
The wife retained new counsel and obtained a final divorce. She requested that Mr. Hogan refund fees paid in the matter. Mr. Hogan complied, in consideration of an agreement signed by the parties releasing him from any claims arising out of his conduct. Neither party was represented by independent counsel in connection with the release agreement.
The Committee found by clear and convincing evidence that the record supports factual findings by clear and convincing evidence that:
a. The interests of the couple were directly adverse;
b. There was a significant risk that Mr. Hoganís representation of either party would be materially limited by his representation of the other;
c. Mr. Hogan could not reasonably have believed that he could provide competent and diligent representation to both parties; and
d. Neither party provided informed consent to Mr. Hoganís concurrent representation, although such consent could not reasonably have been obtained under the circumstances.
The matter is public record, and is available for inspection at the New Hampshire Supreme Court Attorney Discipline Office, 4 Chenell Drive, Suite 102, Concord, New Hampshire 03301.
June 2, 2010