Court News: SANCTIONED AND DISBARRED (FY 2018) MARYLAND ATTORNEYS -Video of disbarment hearing of Roger Norman Powell

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Court News: SANCTIONS AND ACTIONS AFFECTING LICENSURE (FY 2018) of MARYLAND ATTORNEYS – Video of disbarment of Roger Norman Powell hearing

ABDULLAH, Raouf Muhammad – Reprimand by Consent on September 22, 2017, for failing to make reasonable efforts to ensure that his firm had in effect measures giving reasonable assurances that all attorneys in the firm conformed with the Maryland Attorneys’ Rules of Professional Conduct and ratifying the conduct and/or failing to take remedial action to mitigate the misconduct.

AITA, Anna G. – Disbarred on March 27, 2018, for failing to provide competent and diligent representation to two immigration clients, failing to communicate about, or ascertain, the status of their cases, failing to safeguard their funds, charging unreasonable fees, failing to refund unused immigration filing fees, and misrepresenting material facts to a tribunal.

BROWN, Alex Jonathan – Reprimand by Consent on September 27, 2017, for engaging in a course of unduly aggressive, uncivil and obstructionist litigation conduct that was both prejudicial to the administration of justice and brought the legal profession into disrepute.

BROWN, Jibril Abdussaboor – Reprimand by Consent on September 11, 2017, for failing to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

BROWN, Martin Bernard – Disbarred by Consent on March 13, 2018, for failing to safekeep client and third-party funds and failing to respond to lawful requests for information from a disciplinary authority.

BURCH Jr., John Thomas – Disbarred by Consent on October 12, 2017, in a reciprocal action from his disbarment in Virginia based upon breach of fiduciary duties to a charitable foundation over a period of several years. In connection with his misuse of foundation funds, the Respondent also pleaded guilty in June 2017 to one count of wire fraud in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Lance Butler III photo from Twitter – disbarred in Maryland and DC.

BUTLER, Lance, III – Disbarred on September 7, 2017, for falsifying and failing to file tax returns for multiple tax years, intentionally misrepresenting to his government employer the existence of, and earnings from, his private law practice and job as a personal trainer, misrepresenting his employment status to obtain a loan deferral, and lying under oath at a deposition and hearing in a prior attorney discipline proceeding.

 

CHUN, Sung Kook – Suspended by Consent for thirty (30) days, effective May 3, 2018, for charging unreasonable fees in connection with his representation of a client in an insurance claim, and failure to respond to lawful demands for information from a disciplinary authority.

COHEN, Maxwell Clifford – Indefinite Suspension by Consent on June 12, 2018, with the right to seek reinstatement no sooner than sixty (60) days, for failing to adequately communicate with clients, collecting unreasonable fees, failing to maintain client funds in trust until earned, sharing legal fees with a non-attorney, and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

DOBBS, Michael David – Interim Suspension by Consent on January 3, 2018, following conviction in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County of Sexual Solicitation of a Minor, pending further Order of the Court.

DONNELLY, Vernon Charles – Suspended for thirty (30) days on February 15, 2018, effective March 15, 2018, for identifying himself as a trustee of a limited liability company for which he was a member and served as counsel, for filing a complaint for partition of property against one of the company’s members and assigning a client’s property rights to trust, for failing to provide the complaint and assignment of contract rights to members who owned majority of company, for failing to communicate changes to a fee agreement, for failing to have the contingent fee agreement signed by members who owned majority of company, and failing to move to dismiss the case and promptly surrender papers upon termination of his representation.

DINOVITZ, Shoshana – Commission Reprimand on July 24, 2017, for charging legal fees against her former client’s credit card after authorization had been revoked, communicating with the former client when she knew that the former client was a represented party and disclosing confidential information.

DYMOWSKI, Leo – Commission Reprimand on August 18, 2017, for making statements concerning the integrity of the sitting judges and judicial appointment process with reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity of the statements.

ESTY, JoAnna M. – Commission Reprimand on July 28, 2017, in her capacity as personal representative of an estate, for failing to recognize that her representation of one or more clients would be materially limited by her responsibilities to another client and failing to obtain the Orphan’s Court’s approval in advance of making periodic distributions of Estate funds that created a conflict of interest.

FISCHER, Elizabeth Margaret – Disbarred on March 22, 2018, by Per Curiam Order. Opinion of the Court of Appeals to follow.

FURRER, David Eugene – Indefinite Suspension by Consent on January 18, 2018, for failure to provide competent representation, failure to consult with his client, failure to act with reasonable diligence, failure to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

 

GIANNETTI Jr., John Alexander – Indefinite Suspension on December 15, 2017, with the right to apply for reinstatement no sooner than one year, for continually failing to file or pay both his federal and state taxes for a period of seven years.

 

GODFREY, Jeff A. – Disbarred on April 19, 2018, in a reciprocal action from the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Respondent was convicted by a military tribunal of crimes including larceny of U.S. Government property, knowingly making a false official statement and signing false records with intent to deceive.

 

GORMAN, Matthew Peter – Interim Suspension on October 31, 2017, following his criminal conviction in the United States District Court of Maryland of Bribery Involving an Agent of a Program Receiving Federal Funds.

 

GRACIE, Kevin Barry – Commission Reprimand on October 2, 2017, for assisting an attorney in the unauthorized practice of law in Maryland.

HECT, Ross D. – Indefinite Suspension on May 10, 2018, with the right to petition for reinstatement after twelve (12) months, for engaging in a deliberate and persistent pattern of dishonest and deceitful conduct and knowingly engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

 

HOPKINS, John Allen – Commission Reprimand on September 26, 2017, for engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice when he delivered an envelope containing contraband to his incarcerated client.

HULTHAGE, Suzanne Nicole – Indefinite Suspension by Consent, effective May 21, 2018, for failing to provide competent representation to her client, revealing confidential client information, failing to properly terminate representation, filing frivolous pleadings, and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

JACOBS, William Michael – Disbarred on May 21, 2018, effective June 20, 2018, for failing to provide competent and diligent representation to his clients, failing to properly terminate representation resulting in an abandonment of client matters, knowingly making misrepresentations of material fact to Bar Counsel and to his client, and knowingly failing to respond to Bar Counsel’s inquiries.

JARRELL, Ann O. – Inactive Status by Consent on March 27, 2018.

JOHNSON, Laurence Fleming – Indefinite Suspension by Consent with the right to apply for reinstatement ninety (90) days, effective August 12, 2017, for failing to represent his client competently and diligently, failing to safe-keep client funds in trust, failing to deposit the client’s fees, paid in advance, into his attorney trust account and failing to ensure that his firm had in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that the conduct of his non-attorney assistant was compatible with his professional obligations.

KARGBO, Mariatu – Inactive Status on November 7, 2017, by Per Curiam Order. Opinion of the Court of Appeals to follow.

KILCHENSTEIN, Grace Badolato – Indefinite Suspension by Consent on March 14, 2018 for failing to safe keep client and third-party funds, failing to make reasonable efforts to ensure effective measures giving reasonable assurance that a non-attorney assistant’s conduct was within the professional obligations of the attorney, and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

KLEINSMITH, Philip M. – Disbarred on May 22, 2018, in a reciprocal action from his disbarment in Colorado for conversion of funds received from a bank client.  Respondent placed the funds in his firm’s operating account and used them to pay his firm’s expenses, instead of remitting them to a third-party title company that was entitled to payment.

LAUMANN, Joseph Robert – Indefinite Suspension by Consent on May 14, 2018, effective June 1, 2018, for failing to provide competent and diligent representation to clients, failing to abide by his client’s decisions concerning the objectives of the representation, failing to adequately communicate with his clients, collecting unreasonable fees, failing to safekeep the property of clients or third persons in an attorney trust account, filing frivolous pleadings, failing to maintain candor to the tribunal, failing to exhibit fairness to opposing party and attorney, seeking influence over the impartiality and decorum of a tribunal, knowingly making false statements to Bar Counsel, and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

 

LEE, Bo – Disbarred by Consent on May 18, 2018, for failing to safekeep the property of clients or third persons in an attorney trust account when providing law-related services to clients, failing to respond to Bar Counsel, engaging in criminal conduct that adversely reflects on his honesty, trustworthiness and/or fitness as an attorney in other respects, and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation and that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

LEVY, Jayme Lynn – Disbarred by Consent on April 26, 2018, effective June 25, 2018, for failing to provide competent and diligent representation to clients, failing to adequately communicate with her clients regarding the status of their matters, and making knowing and intentional misrepresentations or omissions of material facts to clients, Bar Counsel, and third parties.

 

MAX, Harry Stanley – Commission Reprimand on January 24, 2018, for the unauthorized practice of law.

 

McLAIN, William Gordon – Disbarred by Consent on October 25, 2017, for misappropriating trust funds and failing to disburse funds to his client in connection with a settlement. Respondent also made false and misleading statements to his client and to Bar Counsel.

 

McLAUGHLIN, Louisa Content – Disbarred on September 11, 2017, for failing to act in her client’s best interest in her capacity as representative in an estate planning matter. Respondent failed to communicate with her client about essential matters concerning the representation, failed to explain the basis for her fees or provide invoices, failed to obtain appropriate consent before disbursing client funds, failed to fully, timely and honestly respond to Bar Counsel’s lawful demands for information.

MEIER, Mike – Suspended for thirty (30) days on March 23, 2018, effective immediately, following his November 29, 2016 suspension for thirty (30) days by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board for failing to provide competent representation, bringing a frivolous proceeding, knowingly making a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal, knowingly making a false statement of fact or law in the course of representation, failing to engage in fairness to opposing an party and counsel, failing to respect the rights of third persons, knowingly making a

false statement of material fact in connection with a bar admission application or disciplinary matter, engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

MOMODU, Lawal – Indefinite Suspension on August 29, 2017, with the right to apply for reinstatement no sooner than December 14, 2017, in a reciprocal action from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland for failing to disclose prior discipline on his bar application and, following disclosure, providing incomplete and inaccurate information to the Admission Committee. Respondent previously was suspended on an interim basis on July 28, 2017, pending further Order of the Court of Appeals.

MOODY, Maurice Marnea – Disbarred on September 12, 2017, for failure to maintain an accurate accounting of client funds, engaging in a pattern of negligent and deceitful accounting practices, knowingly making a false statement to Bar Counsel in connection with a disciplinary matter, submitting false client ledgers and settlement sheets to Bar Counsel.

MORIN, Michael Gregg – Commission Reprimand on November 15, 2017, for failing to render competent representation, failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing his client, failing to promptly inform his client of decisions, and failing to take steps to protect his client’s interest upon termination of his representation.

 

MOORE Sr., Richard Wells – Disbarred by Consent on May 17, 2018, effective May 31, 2018, for failing to provide competent and diligent representation to clients, failing to adequately communicate with clients, charging unreasonable fees, failing to safekeep property of clients or third persons in an attorney trust account, failing to ensure that the conduct of his non-attorney assistant was compatible with his professional obligations, engaging in criminal conduct that adversely reflects on his honesty, trustworthiness and/or fitness as an attorney in other respects, and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation and that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

 

MORRIS, Marianne Elizabeth – Indefinite Suspension by Consent on September 7, 2017, effective thirty (30) days from the date of the Order, for engaging in criminal conduct that adversely reflects on her honesty, trustworthiness and/or fitness as an attorney in other respects and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

NDI, Benjamin N. – Disbarred on April 10, 2018, by Per Curiam Order, for failing to provide competent and diligent representation to clients, failing to adequately communicate with clients regarding their cases, failing to inform potential clients of the jurisdictional limitations of his law practice, engaging in the unauthorized practice of personal injury law in Maryland and mishandling the proceeds of that action, failing to timely respond to Bar Counsel, and making various dishonest and false statements to Bar Counsel.

 

OGILVIE, Claire L.K.K. – Disbarred on March 6, 2018, following her January 23, 2015, felony criminal convictions in the Circuit Court for the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, for breaking and entering while armed with a deadly weapon, malicious wounding, and abduction.

PAUL, Dana Andrew – Thirty (30) Day Suspension, effective June 22, 2018, for engaging in a “road rage” incident which reflected adversely on his fitness as an attorney.

PEKLO, Gary Stewart – Disbarred by Consent on October 2, 2017, for conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, and for conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, based on his failure to report income on his tax return. Respondent was previously suspended indefinitely by consent on June 9, 2015.

 

POMMETT, Francis A. – Indefinite Suspension by Consent on December 14, 2017, with the right to apply for reinstatement after one year, for failure to abide by his client’s decisions concerning the objectives of the representation, failure to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter, failure to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information and explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation, failure to appropriately safeguard property and maintain complete records, charging unreasonable fees, and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

POWELL, Roger Norman – Disbarred on June 1, 2018, by Per Curium Order. Opinion of the Court of Appeals to follow.

VIDEO OF DISBARRMENT HEARING OF ROGER NORMAN POWELL

Roger Norman Powell at Court of Appeals hearing that resulted in him being disbarred on June 1, 2018
Attorney Grievance Commission Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless at hearing for Roger Norman Powell at Maryland Court of Appeals on June 1, 2018
Michael William Farlow representing Roger Norman Powell in the case argued by Attorney Grievance Commission Counsel Lydia Lawless before Maryland Court of Appeals on June 1, 2018.

POWERS, James Aloysius – Indefinite Suspension on July 10, 2017, for failing to abide by his client’s decisions concerning the objectives of the representation, failing to keep the client reasonably informed of the status of his case, failing to surrender papers and property to which the client was entitled upon termination of the representation, and during litigation against his former client, revealing information subject to the attorney-client privilege to the detriment of the former client.

 

SACKS, Stephen Howard – Disbarred on March 6, 2018, for taking unauthorized actions on behalf of clients, refusing to withdraw his appearances after clients terminated his representation, failing to timely respond to requests for copies of client files, charging and collecting unreasonable fees, failing to provide an account of retained funds, failing to deposit and maintain unearned and disputed funds in trust until earned, misappropriating funds, fabricating documents, failing to timely file documents, failing to appear for scheduled court appearances, asserting frivolous litigation, knowingly disobeying the discovery rules, failing to timely respond to lawful demands for information from a disciplinary authority, committing a criminal act of trespassing, making misrepresentations to courts, clients, and opposing counsel, and engaging in misconduct that would negatively impact the perception of the legal profession of a reasonable member of the public.

 

SCHELTEMA, James Robert Jordan – Disbarred by Consent on July 18, 2017, for engaging in criminal conduct that reflected adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as an attorney in other respects based upon his conviction, in federal court, for filing a false tax return and tax evasion.

SIEGEL, Stacy Enid Lebow – Disbarred by Consent on January 3, 2018 (effective March 4, 2018), for failure to safeguard property of clients or third persons, engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, based on her misappropriation of client funds from an attorney trust account.

 

SIMS, Jason Mark – Interim Suspension on March 23, 2018, pending further Order of the Court of Appeals.

SLATE, Gregory Allen – Disbarred on March 2, 2018, for knowingly failing to disclose to bar admissions authorities that, a trial court had found that he engaged in dishonesty and misconduct in litigation, and for falsely stating to Bar Counsel that he had disclosed all required information during bar application process.

SMIGIEL, Michael Dwayne, Sr. – Commission Reprimand on June 27, 2017, for failing to safekeep property of clients or third persons in an attorney trust account, failing to maintain proper trust account records and failing to ensure that the conduct of his non-attorney assistant was compatible with his professional obligations.

 

SMITH Jr., Edward – Disbarred on January 19, 2018, effective February 20, 2018, for incompetence, lack of diligence in handling client matters, failure to communicate with clients, failure to keep client funds in his trust account before they were earned, failure to create and maintain records of received and disbursed client funds, failure to properly terminate representation, commingling of funds, prohibited use of his trust account, and misrepresentations to Bar Counsel and clients.

 

SMITH, Rachel A. – Indefinite Suspension by Consent on May 15, 2018, effective June 14, 2018, for failing to provide competent and diligent representation to clients, failing to adequately communicate with clients, charging and collecting unreasonable fees, failing to safekeep property of clients or third persons in an attorney trust account, failing to properly terminate representation, failing to respond to Bar Counsel, and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

 

SPERLING, Johnathan Daniel – Indefinite Suspension on May 21, 2018, for failing to comply with his obligations as a suspended lawyer working in a law firm, and for making misrepresentations during his suspension and in his efforts to gain readmission to the Bar.

 

SPERLING, Samuel – Ninety (90) Day Suspension on May 21, 2018, for failing to review statements and reconcile his firm’s attorney trust account, which was subsequently overdrawn.   Respondent also failed to adequately supervise his brother, Johnathan D. Sperling, an attorney that was suspended from the practice of law but was hired by the firm as a paralegal and continued to write checks on the firm’s trust account.

 

STUART, Pamela Bruce – One-year Suspension on August 29, 2017, effective nunc pro tunc to February 6, 2017, in a reciprocal action from Florida for breaching fiduciary obligations by making loans of trust monies to herself. Respondent previously was suspended on an interim basis on March 2, 2017, pending further Order of the Court of Appeals.

 

SUD, Anuj – Disbarred by Consent on February 8, 2018, following conviction in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland of traveling from Washington, D.C. to Maryland with the intent to carry on an unlawful activity.

TOLAR, Jane – Commission Reprimand on June 27, 2017, related to two (2) separate clients for failing to keep the clients reasonably informed about the status of their matters and failing to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.

WERTKIN, Jeffrey Adam – Disbarred by Consent on January 16, 2018, following his criminal conviction in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California of Obstruction of Justice and Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods.

WOOLERY, Benjamin Jeremy – Reprimand on December 15, 2017, for failing to provide competent representation to a client, failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client, and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice. Respondent, as the personal representative of an estate, sold a tractor stored by one of the beneficiaries of the estate on property owned by the estate without first ascertaining the ownership or approximate value of the tractor and, even though promptly informed of the tractor’s ownership and value, failed to rectify his error because of the attorney’s antipathy to the tractor’s owner.

 

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