Bar News - March 16, 2016
Professional Conduct Committee
Rozzi, Anthony V. advs. Attorney
Discipline Office - #14-011
SUMMARY OF PUBLIC CENSURE
Anthony V. Rozzi is an attorney licensed to practice law in New Hampshire. Mr. Rozzi was admitted to practice in 2005. This disciplinary matter arises from a complaint filed by his client dated March 13, 2014 and referred for formal proceedings on March 13, 2015. Mr. Rozzi violated Rule 1.1 when he failed to properly attend to the details and schedules of the litigation and failed to undertake action on his client’s behalf in a timely and effective matter by failing to calendar the deadline for the objection to the motion for summary judgment filed by Target, which resulted in his client’s claim being dismissed. Mr. Rozzi violated Rule 1.3 when he failed to properly attend to the details and schedules of the litigation and failed to undertake action on his client’s behalf in a timely and effective matter by failing to calendar the deadline for the objection to the motion for summary judgment filed by Target. Mr. Rozzi violated Rule 1.4 when he failed to inform his client that the motion for summary judgment had been filed by Target, and that an objection was due by a date certain and when he failed to inform his client that he did not timely object to the motion for summary judgment and that the motion by Target had been granted.
The Professional Conduct Committee concluded that there was clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Rozzi has violated Rule 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, and 8.4(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct by clear and convincing evidence.
The Committee issued a Public Censure, and reimbursement of all costs associated with the investigation and prosecution. An Order is available on our website at www.nhattyreg.org and at the Attorney Discipline Office at 4 Chenell Drive, Suite 102, Concord, NH 03301.
February 10, 2016
Santuccio, Danielle Richey advs.
Attorney Discipline Office - #12-042
SUMMARY OF PUBLIC CENSURE WITH MANDATORY CONDITIONS
The Attorney Discipline Office’s investigation was initiated upon receipt of a grievance filed by Ms. Santuccio’s client, Ann M. Haralambi (client). Ms. Haralambie is a licensed attorney in Arizona. She lives most of the year in Arizona but spends her summers in New Hampshire. In September 2003, Ms. Haralambie hired D&M Builders to construct a second story on her summer house. In 2004, the partnership dissolved and Mr. Cameron continued to work on the client’s summer house under the business name, and sole proprietorship, Cameron Builders. The work on the summer house continued through 2007. James Karmozyn, of H.E. Bergeron Builders, completed a structural inspection of the house on August 10, 2006 with the client and Mr. Cameron present. Mr. Karmozyn issued a report on July 20, 2007 wherein he identified problems with the general framing of the second story, the first floor porch roof, the roof rafters and the foundation. In April 2008, a portion of the roof blew off of the house. After that incident, numerous other problems with the construction work began to emerge. The client retained the Dewhurst firm and signed an hourly fee agreement on August 21, 2008, to investigate the possibility of filing various construction defect claims against entities known as D&M Builders and Cameron Builders arising out of allegedly poor construction. She agreed to pay an initial retainer of $1,500.00 and to pay legal fees on an hourly basis after the retainer was exhausted. Ms. Santuccio was an associate in the Dewhurst firm from June 2009 to July 2011.
Rule 1.1: Competence: Ms. Santuccio owed a duty to her client to provide competent representation. Ms. Santuccio erroneously believed that there was an eight-year statute of limitations applicable to Ms. Santuccio’s construction claims relying on RSA 508:4-b which, rather than a statute of limitations, sets forth a statute of repose. A three-year limitation period, as set forth in RSA 508:4, I, applied to her client’s cause of action. Ms. Santuccio failed to aquire specific knowledge about construction law to practice in that area; to competently advise her client with respect to the applicable statute of limitations; and to provide advice on the best course of action to pursue her client’s claims. Ms. Santuccio failed to undertake an appropriate analysis to determine the date or date range for when the statute of limitations would run. She failed to seek out the advice of another lawyer or associate with another lawyer outside of the office who possessed the skill and knowledge required to assure competent representation. Ms. Santuccio failed to pay attention to details and schedules necessary to assure that the matter undertaken was completed with no avoidable harm to her client’s interest. Ms. Santuccio did not file a lawsuit against the builders during the more than three years that she represented her client, in part, because she believed, without verifying, that an eight-year statute of limitations applied to the claims. Ms. Santuccio failed to file a lawsuit on her client’s behalf within the required limitations period. Ms. Santuccio failed to undertake actions on her client’s behalf in a timely and effective manner.
Rule 1.3: Diligence: Ms. Santuccio had a duty to act with reasonable promptness and diligence on behalf of her client. Ms. Santuccio failed to move her client’s case forward despite repeated requests from her client to obtain the builders’ insurance policies, to place the insurance companies on notice of a possible claim and specific requests to file the lawsuit between November 2010 and October 2012. Despite a request in November 2010 to file the lawsuit, in June 2011 the lawsuit was still not filed. On July 11, 2011, Ms. Santuccio e-mailed her client advising that the best way to move the case forward would be to file suit against the builders. Her client agreed with the suggestion to file suit that afternoon. Despite her client’s inquiries regarding the status of the matter and inquiries as to whether the suit was filed after that date, Ms. Santuccio failed to file the lawsuit on her client’s behalf during the remainder of the representation. Ms. Santuccio’s failure to act with reasonable promptness and diligence on her client’s behalf caused harm to her client, because her potential claims against the builders became time-barred, and she was required to retain other counsel to pursue her legal malpractice claims.
Rule 1.4: Communication: Ms. Santuccio owed her client a duty to keep her reasonably informed about the status of her matter and to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Ms. Santuccio breached that duty by: (1) failing to update her client with respect to her efforts to obtain the insurance policies from the builders; (2) failing to keep her client apprised of the status of the matter and failing to respond in a prompt manner to reasonable requests for information regarding whether the builders’ insurance policies were or could be obtained, and whether her client’s claims were time-barred; (3) failing to keep her client apprised of the status of litigation and failing to respond in a prompt manner to inquiries as to whether the lawsuit had, in fact, been filed. After her cient’s request in November 2010 for Ms. Santuccio to file suit, Ms. Santuccio knew she had not filed the complaint and she failed to keep her client informed of that status.
The Professional Conduct Committee concluded that there was clear and convincing evidence that Ms. Santuccio has violated Rules 1.1; 1.3; 1.4; and 8.4(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Committee issued a Public Censure with Mandatory Conditions, and reimbursement of all costs associated with the investigation and prosecution. An Order is available on our website at www.nhattyreg.org and at the Attorney Discipline Office at 4 Chenell Drive, Suite 102, Concord, NH 03301.
March 1, 2016