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Bar News - February 22, 2013


Supreme Court Orders

LD-2012-0012
In the Matter of Peter A. Lagorio

On November 1, 2012, the Attorney Discipline Office filed a certified copy of the October 16, 2012 judgment of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County (Massachusetts), disbarring Attorney Peter Anthony Lagorio. A summary filed with the judgment states that Attorney Lagorio represented plaintiffs in class action lawsuits and collected settlement funds on their behalf. Attorney Lagorio intentionally misappropriated funds from the settlements and used the funds to pay obligations from earlier cases. His IOLTA account was determined to be short by approximately $450,000. The judgment of disbarment issued by the Supreme Judicial Court indicates that the matter came before the court on an affidavit of resignation submitted by Attorney Lagorio, and the recommendation of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers that the resignation be accepted.

Rule 37(12)(d) provides for the imposition of reciprocal discipline by the court unless the respondent attorney or the PCC demonstrates, or the court finds, based on the face of the record from which the discipline is predicated, that: (1) the procedure followed by the jurisdiction imposing discipline was so lacking in notice or opportunity to be heard as to constitute a deprivation of due process; (2) the imposition of the same or substantially similar discipline by the court would result in grave injustice; or (3) the misconduct established warrants substantially different discipline in New Hampshire. In accordance with this provision, the court issued an order providing Attorney Lagorio with the opportunity to show why the imposition of discipline identical or substantially similar to that imposed by the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County (Massachusetts) would be unwarranted. Attorney Lagorio filed no response to the order.

Having reviewed the order of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, the court does not find that any of the conditions set forth in Rule 37(12)(d) have been met. It appears from the order that Attorney Lagorio had an opportunity to be heard in the Massachusetts disciplinary proceedings and that he chose to submit his resignation rather than contest the charges against him. In light of the seriousness of Attorney Lagorio’s misconduct, the court does not find that disbarment would result in grave injustice or that his misconduct would warrant substantially different discipline in New Hampshire.

Therefore, the court orders that Attorney Peter Anthony Lagorio be disbarred from the practice of law in New Hampshire. Attorney Lagorio is hereby assessed all expenses incurred by the Professional Conduct Committee in the investigation and prosecution of this matter. See Rule 37(19).

Dalianis, C.J., and Hicks, Conboy, Lynn, and Bassett, JJ., concurred.
DATE: January 30, 2013
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


LD-2013-0003
In the Matter of Jason A. Czekalski

The Attorney Discipline Office has filed a petition for immediate interim suspension from the practice of law of Attorney Jason A. Czekalski. The petition includes certified copies of two complaints against Attorney Czekalski for felonious sexual assault, and one complaint for aggravated felonious sexual assault. The ADO alleges that Attorney Czekalski was arrested on these charges on January 25, 2013, and is currently being held at the Cheshire County House of Corrections. The ADO further states that it has been informed that Attorney Czekalski waived his right to a probable cause hearing on January 29, 2013, and was bound over to the superior court. The ADO alleges that Attorney Czekalski has client matters pending in superior court and that it is unaware of any attorney who has been engaged to assist Attorney Czekalski with these matters while he is in custody.

Supreme Court Rule 37(9)(i) provides:

Whenever an attorney is indicted or bound over for any felony, the court shall take such actions as it deems necessary, including but not limited to the suspension of the attorney.

In light of Attorney Czekalski’s arrest and detention on felony charges, and of the fact that Attorney Czekalski has pending court cases, the court finds that Attorney Czekalski’s immediate suspension is necessary to protect the public and to preserve the integrity of the legal profession. See Rule 37(16)(f); Reiner’s Case, 152 N.H. 163 (2005). Accordingly, it is hereby ordered:

(1) In accordance with Rule 37(9)(i) and (16)(f), Attorney Jason A. Czekalski is immediately suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire pending resolution of the criminal charges against him and further order of this court.

(2) Copies of the petition for immediate interim suspension and of this order shall be served on Attorney Czekalski by first class mail.

(3) Within 15 days from the date of service, Attorney Czekalski may request a hearing on the issue of whether the interim suspension should be lifted, which will be promptly scheduled. See Reiner’s Case, 152 N.H. 163 (2005).

(4) Attorney Czekalski is enjoined from transferring, assigning, hypothecating, or in any manner disposing of or conveying any assets of clients, whether real, personal, beneficial or mixed.

Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 37(17), Attorney Stephen A. Cherry is appointed to take immediate possession of the client files and trust and other fiduciary accounts of Attorney Czekalski, to make an inventory of such files and accounts, and to take such action as he deems necessary to protect the interests of Attorney Czekalski’s clients. Attorney Cherry is directed to take the following actions:

a. Attorney Cherry shall notify all employees of Attorney Czekalski of Attorney Czekalski’s suspension from the practice of law and of Attorney Cherry’s appointment by the court.

b. Attorney Cherry shall notify all banks and other entities where any trust or fiduciary accounts and operating accounts of Attorney Czekalski are held of Attorney Czekalski’s suspension and of Attorney Cherry’s appointment by the court;

c. Attorney Cherry shall review any client files that Attorney Czekalski maintained, and take such actions as he deems necessary to protect the interests of the clients.

d. Attorney Cherry shall notify Attorney Czekalski’s clients by certified mail, return receipt requested, of his suspension, informing them of any action which appears to be required in the immediate future in order to preserve their legal rights and advising them that they should obtain the services of other lawyers of their choice.

e. Attorney Cherry shall make an inventory of Attorney Czekalski’s client files and trust and other fiduciary accounts, and file a copy of the inventory with the court on or before April 1, 2013, together with a report of his actions taken under this order and a recommendation as to what further actions should be taken to protect the interests of Attorney Czekalski’s clients.

Attorney Czekalski is ordered to cooperate with Attorney Cherry in performing these tasks.

The Committee on Professional Conduct shall pay the fees of Attorney Cherry, in the first instance, to be reimbursed by Attorney Czekalski, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

Dalianis, C.J., and Hicks, Conboy, Lynn, and Bassett, JJ., concurred.
DATE: January 31, 2013
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


ADM-2012-0119
In the Matter of Timothy J.A. Barrett

On December 19, 2012, this court issued an order for Attorney Timothy J.A. Barrett to file his 2012 trust accounting certificate and pay $300 in fines assessed for late filing. The order notified Attorney Barrett that if he failed to file his trust accounting certificate and pay the fines assessed he would be suspended from the practice of law.

The December 19, 2012 order was sent to the address that Attorney Barrett provided to the New Hampshire Bar Association in accordance with Rule 42, XIII. The order was returned to the court as undeliverable. A further attempt to contact Attorney Barrett by email was also unsuccessful. The court holds that the notice sent to Attorney Barrett at the address he provided to the New Hampshire Bar Association constitute sufficient notice of this action.

Attorney Barrett is not in compliance with the requirements of Supreme Court Rule 50-A. He has not filed his 2012 trust accounting certificate, or paid the fines assessed for late filing of the certificates. Accordingly, Attorney Timothy J.A. Barrett is hereby suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire. The court hereby requires that Attorney Barrett’s trust accounts and other financial records be audited at his expense.

Attorney Barrett is ordered to notify his clients in writing that he has been suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire and to notify the Attorney Discipline Office by Thursday, March 14, 2013, that he has completed this task. Friday, March 29, 2013, the Attorney Discipline Office shall advise the court if it believes that an attorney should be appointed to make an inventory of Attorney Barrett’s files and to take action to protect the interests of his clients.

Dalianis, C.J., and Hicks, Conboy, Lynn, and Bassett, JJ., concurred.
DATE: February 11, 2013
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk

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