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Bar News - June 17, 2015


Supreme Court Orders

ADM-2014-0143
In the Matter of Steven C. Kennedy, Esquire

On February 4, 2015, Attorney Steven C. Kennedy was suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire for failing to pay late fees assessed for late filing of his annual trust accounting certificate. Attorney Kennedy has now paid the late fees assessed and has requested that he be reinstated to the practice of law in New Hampshire.

Attorney Kennedy’s request for reinstatement is granted. Attorney Kennedy is reinstated to the practice of law in New Hampshire effective immediately.

Hicks, Conboy, and Lynn, JJ., concurred.

DATE: May 15, 2015
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


Pursuant to its constitutional authority and powers of general superintendence over the New Hampshire Bar Association and its members, and pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 53.6, the court approves the assessment of a $10.00 annual fee to support the operations of the NHMCLE Board.

Issued: May 20, 2015
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


Pursuant to its constitutional authority and powers of general superintendence over the New Hampshire Bar Association and its members, the Supreme Court assesses each member of the association, as of June 1, 2015, as follows, for the purpose of funding the operations of the New Hampshire Supreme Court Attorney Discipline System, including the Professional Conduct Committee.

Membership category Assessment
Active (over three years) $205
Active (through third year of admission) $205
Inactive $10
Active Military and Active Honorary $0
Inactive Retired, Inactive Military and Inactive Honorary $0
Full-time Judicial $0
Part-time Judicial $0
Pro bono Active $0

These assessments are due and payable on or before July 1, 2015. The New Hampshire Bar Association shall collect the assessment for the account of the Professional Conduct Committee and shall report to the court on or before September 1, 2015, the names of members who have not fully paid. If the Board of Governors of the New Hampshire Bar Association grants a member’s request for abatement of bar dues, it may grant a waiver of this fee.

Issued: May 20, 2015
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


Pursuant to its constitutional authority and powers of general superintendence over the New Hampshire Bar Association and its members, and pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 55, the New Hampshire Supreme Court suspends the assessment to fund the Public Protection Fund (PPF) for the fund year beginning on June 1, 2015, and ending on May 31, 2016.

Pursuant to its constitutional authority and powers of general superintendence over the New Hampshire Bar Association and its members, and pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 58, the court assesses each dues-paying member of the association as of June 1, 2015, as follows, for the purpose of funding the Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP).

Membership category LAP Assessment
Active over three years $20
Judicial $20
Part-time judicial $20
Active three years and under $20
Inactive $20
Inactive retired $5
Pro bono active $0

The members of the association exempted from the PPF assessment by order dated July 22, 1998, are exempted from the assessment for the LAP. The LAP assessment is due and payable on or before July 1, 2015. If the Board of Governors of the New Hampshire Bar Association grants a member’s request for abatement of bar dues, it may grant a waiver of the assessment.

The New Hampshire Bar Association shall collect the assessment for the account of the LAP and shall report to the court on or before September 1, 2015, the names of those members responsible for the assessment who have not fully paid.

Issued: May 20, 2015
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


In accordance with Rule 58.2(A) and (C), the Supreme Court reappoints retired Marital Master Deborah Rein, Nancy Kane, RN, and Attorney Shelley Randall to the Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) Commission, to serve three year terms commencing March 1, 2015, and expiring March 1, 2018.

The court appoints Superior Court Judge Jacalyn A. Colburn to the LAP Commission, replacing Judge Robert E.K. Morrill, whose term has expired and who is not eligible for reappointment. The court appoints Attorney Andrea Daly to the LAP Commission, replacing Attorney David Wolowitz, whose term has expired and who is not eligible for reappointment. The court appoints Dr. Molly Rossignol to the LAP Commission, replacing Dr. Sandeep Sobti. Dr. Rossignol is appointed to fill a position designated for a health care provider. The terms of Judge Colburn, Attorney Daly, and Dr. Rossignol shall commence immediately and shall expire on March 1, 2018.

The court designates Attorney Russell Hilliard to serve as vice-chair of the LAP commission.

Issued: May 21, 2015
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


LD-2015-0002
In the Matter of Michael M. Burke, Esquire

On March 11, 2015, the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) filed a petition for an eighteen month suspension of Attorney Michael M. Burke from the practice of law. In accordance with Supreme Court Rule 37(16), a copy of the petition was served upon Attorney Burke, along with an order requiring him to file an answer to the petition. Attorney Burke filed an answer to the petition, conceding that the PCC’s findings of fact and rulings of law were supported by the evidence, and stating that he did not contest the PCC’s recommendation for an eighteen month suspension. He asked the court to impose the suspension retroactive to the date that he closed his practice in anticipation of a resolution of this matter.

The misconduct complaint against Attorney Burke was submitted to the PCC on a stipulation of facts, violations and sanctions that had been agreed to by Disciplinary Counsel and Attorney Burke. Based on the stipulation, the PCC found that Attorney Burke violated the following rules:

(1) Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1 and 1.3, which require a lawyer to provide competent representation to a client and to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client;

(2) Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 1.4, which requires a lawyer to keep clients reasonably informed about the status of matters and to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information;

(3) Rule of Professional Conduct 1.7, which prohibits a lawyer from representing a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest;

(4) Rule of Professional Conduct 5.3, which requires a lawyer with direct supervisory authority over non-lawyer assistants to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the conduct of the non-lawyers assistants is compatible with professional obligations of the lawyer.

(5) Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(c), which makes it professional misconduct to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; and

(6) Rule 8.4(a), which makes it professional misconduct to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The PCC also approved the parties’ stipulation as to the recommended sanction of an eighteen month suspension.

After reviewing the petition, the PCC’s recommendation, and Attorney Burke’s response, the court accepts the PCC’s recommendation that Attorney Burke be suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire for a period of eighteen months. Accordingly, the court orders as follows:

(1) Attorney Michael M. Burke is suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire for a period of eighteen months, with the suspension effective retroactively from March 5, 2015, the date of the PCC’s recommendation.

(2) Attorney Burke is ordered to reimburse the Attorney Discipline Office for all costs and expenses incurred by the attorney discipline system in the investigation and prosecution of this matter, as outlined in the PCC’s recommendation of March 5, 2015.

(3) Attorney Burke is ordered to comply with the provisions of Supreme Court Rule 37(13).

(4) Within 30 days after the effective date of the suspension, Attorney Burke shall file with the court an affidavit showing that he has fully complied with the provisions of this order and with the requirements of Rule 37(13). A copy of the affidavit shall be sent to the Attorney Discipline Office.

Dalianis, C.J., and Hicks, Conboy, Lynn, and Bassett, JJ., concurred.

DATE: May 21, 2015
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


Pursuant to Part II, Article 73-A of the New Hampshire Constitution and Supreme Court Rule 51, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire adopts the following amendments to court rules:

I. Attorney Discipline Rules

(These amendments to Supreme Court Rules 37, 37A and 50 make a number of changes to the rules governing attorney discipline that were recommended by the Advisory Committee on Rules.)

1. Amend Supreme Court Rule 37, as set forth in Appendix A.

2. Amend Supreme Court Rule 37A, as set forth in Appendix B.

3. Amend Supreme Court Rule 50, as set forth in Appendix C.

II. Committee on Judicial Conduct

(This technical amendment replaces references to district and probate court judges with references to circuit court judges in the rule establishing the composition of the Committee on Judicial Conduct.)

1. Amend Supreme Court Rule 39(2)(a), as set forth in Appendix D.

Effective Date

These amendments shall take effect on July 1, 2015.

Date: May 21, 2015
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


In accordance with RSA 541-B:3 and :4, Chief Justice Linda Stewart Dalianis appoints retired Probate Court Judge Raymond A. Cloutier to serve as a member and chairman of the Board of Claims, effective June 15, 2015. Judge Cloutier is appointed to replace Attorney Mark Howard, who is resigning effective June 14, 2015, due to other commitments. Judge Cloutier shall serve the remainder of a six-year term that expires on October 27, 2019.

Issued: May 27, 2015
ATTEST Eileen Fox, Clerk
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


LD-2012-0013
In the Matter of Lisa A. Biron

In June 2013, the Attorney Discipline Office (ADO) filed certified copies of the judgment of the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire showing that the respondent, Attorney Lisa A. Biron, had been convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. §2423(a) and §2427, Transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, 18 U.S.C. §2251(a) and §2256, Sexual Exploitation of Children, and 18 U.S.C. §2252A(a)(5)(B), Possession of child pornography. The respondent appealed her convictions to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In August 2013, the court stayed the present disciplinary matter pending a decision by the United States Court of Appeals on the respondent’s appeal. In April 2015, the court was notified that the United States Court of Appeals had affirmed the respondent’s convictions, and that the Supreme Court of the United States had denied the respondent’s petition for writ of certiorari.

Rule 37(9)(d) provides in part:

Upon the receipt of a certificate of conviction of an attorney for a “serious crime,” the court may, and shall if suspension has been ordered pursuant to subsection (a) above, institute a formal disciplinary proceeding by issuing an order to the attorney to show cause why the attorney should not be disbarred as result of the conviction. If the court determines that no such good cause has been shown, the court shall issue an order of disbarment, or such other discipline as the court shall deem appropriate . . . . Provided, however, that final discipline will not be imposed until all appeals from the conviction are concluded.

After receiving notification that the respondent’s convictions had been affirmed, the court issued an order, in accordance with Rule 37(9)(d), requiring the respondent to show cause why she should not be disbarred. The respondent filed a response in which she asked that this matter remain stayed until after she filed a motion in accordance with 28 U.S.C.§2255 to collaterally attack her convictions. The respondent’s request for a continued stay of this proceeding is denied.

In her response, the respondent does not contend that the crimes of which she was convicted were not “serious crimes” as defined in Rule 37(9). Although the respondent claims that her trial was “unconstitutional” and that the government used perjured testimony against her, the court does not consider these conclusory allegations to constitute “good cause” for purposes of Rule 37(9)(d). In light of the seriousness of the respondent’s conduct, the court concludes that the appropriate sanction is disbarment.

THEREFORE, the court orders that Lisa A. Biron be disbarred from the practice of law in New Hampshire. Attorney Biron is hereby assessed all expenses incurred by the Professional Conduct Committee in the investigation and prosecution of this matter.

Dalianis, C.J., and Hicks, Conboy, Lynn, and Bassett, JJ., concurred.

DATE: May 28, 2015
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


LD-2015-0004
In the Matter of Paul F. Coddington, Jr., Esquire

On March 24, 2015, the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) filed a petition for disbarment of Attorney Paul F. Coddington, Jr., hereinafter referred to as the respondent. In accordance with Rule 37(16), the petition was sent to the respondent by first-class and certified mail at the address he provided to the Attorney Discipline Office (ADO) during the disciplinary proceedings. The petition was accompanied by an order requiring the respondent to file an answer to the petition within 30 days of service. The copies of the petition and order sent by certified mail were returned to the court unclaimed. The copies sent by first-class mail were not returned. The respondent has not filed a response to the petition. Therefore, in accordance with Rule 37(16)(c), the allegations of the PCC’s petition are deemed admitted.

The matter was submitted initially to a hearing panel and thereafter to the PCC based on a stipulation of facts and violations agreed to by Disciplinary Counsel and the respondent. According to the stipulation, the conduct that is the basis for the petition for disbarment occurred in 2011 and 2012. At that time, the respondent was a suspended attorney; he had been suspended from the practice of law by the court in March 2007 and had not been reinstated. In 2011, the respondent was hired by a law firm as a paralegal. He stipulated that while employed by the law firm he violated the following Rules of Professional Conduct:

1) Rule 4.1, which prohibits a lawyer from knowingly making a false statement of material fact or law to a third person. The respondent stipulated that he violated this rule by falsely representing to the attorney employing him that he had applied for reinstatement to the bar. He further stipulated that the employer relied on this misrepresentation as the basis for allowing him to accompany a client to court and to begin to handle client matters.

2) Rule 8.4(c), which makes it professional misconduct to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. The respondent stipulated that he violated this rule by falsely representing to his employer that he had applied for reinstatement, by failing to correct the employer’s representation to a client regarding his status and his ability to participate in a court hearing, and by failing to affirmatively advise the client that he had been suspended for misconduct.

3) Rule 8.4(a), which make it professional misconduct to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The PCC found by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent violated these rules. It recommended that the court disbar the respondent, and that it impose several conditions on his readmission.

Having reviewed the petition and the PCC’s record, the court accepts the PCC’s findings and its recommendation that Attorney Coddington be disbarred. Accordingly, the court orders as follows:

(1) The respondent, Paul F. Coddington, Jr., is disbarred from the practice of law in New Hampshire.

(2) The respondent shall reimburse the Attorney Discipline Office for all costs and expenses incurred in the investigation and prosecution of this matter.

(3) The respondent may not seek readmission to the New Hampshire bar for a period of five years from the date of this order. If the respondent seeks readmission to the bar in the future, he shall be required to take the New Hampshire Bar Examination and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination and meet the other requirements of Rule 37(14).

(4) As a condition of readmission, the respondent shall be required to reimburse the Attorney Discipline Office for all costs incurred in the investigation and prosecution of his prior disciplinary matter (PCC-04-095/LD-2005-0009).

(5) As a condition of readmission, the respondent shall be required to submit an affidavit with his application for readmission certifying that he has not engaged in any work in the legal field in any capacity since the date of this order.

(6) In accordance with Rule 37(13)(a) and (b), the respondent is ordered to notify any clients in pending matters, including litigated matters and administrative proceedings, of his disbarment and consequent inability to act as an attorney, and shall advise the clients to seek new legal counsel.

Dalianis, C.J., and Hicks, Conboy, Lynn, and Bassett, JJ., concurred.

DATE: June 2, 2015
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 51B(1)(g), the Supreme Court hereby appoints Abigail Albee, clerk of Belknap County Superior Court and Carroll County Superior Court, to the Advisory Committee on Rules, effective June 5, 2015. Clerk Albee is appointed to replace Rockingham County Superior Court Clerk Raymond W. Taylor.

Issued: June 3, 2015
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


The Attorney Discipline Office’s Assistant General Counsel has requested that the Supreme Court appoint a temporary member of the Complaint Screening Committee due to the disqualification of a number of current members of the committee from two related matters.

In accordance with this request, the Supreme Court appoints Attorney Melissa C. Guldbrandsen to serve as a temporary member of the Complaint Screening Committee for the purpose of considering matters.

Issued: June 5, 2015
ATTEST:Eileen Fox, Clerk
Supreme Court of New Hampshire

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