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Bar News - April 15, 2011


NH Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee

McGrath, Peter G. advs. Wayne C. McCutcheon #08-058
SIX MONTH SUSPENSION STAYED FOR ONE YEAR SUMMARY

On October 19, 2010, and February 15, 2011, the Professional Conduct Committee deliberated the above captioned matter and issued a Six Month Suspension Stayed for One Year to Peter G. McGrath, Esquire, for the violation of N.H. Rule Prof. Conduct Rule 3.3(a)(1): Candor Toward the Tribunal and Rule 8.4(a): Misconduct. The parties stipulated to the Facts and Rule violations. The Committee accepted those facts and rules by clear and convincing evidence.

Mr. McGrath has been a member of the New Hampshire Bar since 1988.This matter concerned a collection case against a limited liability company of which he was a member and manager. The complainant was owed $7,000 for services performed on behalf of the liability company. The complainant filed suit against the limited liability company. Mr. McGrath filed his appearance on June 17, 2008, and an objection to the Petition to Attach. A closing was held on the property at issue on August 28, 2008. Mr. McGrath forwarded to complainant’s counsel a HUD settlement statement that included a disbursement to complainant in the amount of $1,800. Complainant’s counsel wrote Mr. McGrath and stated that complainant would not agree to the payoff of $1,800. On September 23, 2008, the parties entered into a Stipulation regarding payment of the outstanding invoice. Under the terms of the Stipulation, $4,460 was to be paid to the complainant by December 20, 2008. The payment schedule was $1,460 by September 30, 2008, and the balance at a rate of $1,000 per month. Mr. McGrath did not make the payments.

The Court scheduled a Show Cause Hearing for December 9, 2008. On November 11, 2008, Mr. McGrath filed an appearance. On December 4, 2008, Mr. McGrath forwarded a payment of $1,400. This payment was in addition to the $1,800 paid at closing. On December 9, 2008, Mr. McGrath was not present when the case was called. The Court entered a default and issued a bench warrant. On or about December 16, 2008, Mr. McGrath filed a Motion to Lift Default and Void Arrest Warrant. In that motion, Mr. McGrath asserted that he had been making payments regularly. On December 31, 2008, the Court granted the motion. On February 3, 2009, Mr. McGrath made full payment due under the terms of the Stipulation and the case was closed.

Mr. McGrath made statements of fact to the Claremont District Court in his Motion to Void Arrest Warrant which he knew or should have known were false. As of December 18, 2008, the date of his Motion to Void, Mr. McGrath had not been "making payments regularly" under the terms of the Stipulation. Mr. McGrath knew or should have known that the Stipulation contemplated complete payment by December 20, 2008. Mr. McGrath’s conduct constitutes clear and convincing evidence of a violation of N.H. R. Prof. Conduct 3.3(a)(1).

Pursuant to the parties’ Stipulation, Mr. McGrath is assessed all costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of this matter. The file is available for inspection at the Attorney Discipline Office at the above address. The Six Month Suspension Stayed for One Year is posted at www.nhattyreg.org.

April 1, 2011

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