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Michele D. Hotten

Michele D. Hotten

Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMM'N v. KENT

Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who acted in the fiduciary role of trustee, but knowingly misappropriated funds belonging to the trust, loaned the trust's funds to other clients and family members, and knowingly made a false statement during the investigation by Bar Counsel?

Holding: The Court disbarred this attorney for violating his fiduciary duties by knowingly misappropriating funds belonging to a trust, loaned the trust’s funds to other clients and family members, and knowingly made a false statement during Bar Counsel's investigation.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct ("MLRPC") 1.1 (Competence), MLRPC 1.7 (Conflict of Interest: General Rule), MLRPC 1.8 (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules), MLRPC 1.15 (Safekeeping of Property), MLRPC 8.1 (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), MLRPC 8.4 (Misconduct), Md. Rule 16-606.1 (Attorney Trust Account Record-Keeping), Md. Rule 16-609 (Prohibited Transactions), and Md. Code (1989 Repl. Vol. 2010), § 10-306 of the Business Occupations and Professions Article ("Bus. Occ. & Prof.") (Trust Money Restrictions).

Citation: 447 Md. 555 (2016)