About the Author

Lynne A. Battaglia

Lynne A. Battaglia

Retired Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMM'N v. PLANTA

Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who severely neglected clients’ cases by failing to timely appear or failing to appear at all, and caused clients to be harmed by missing discovery and filing deadlines, resulting in the imposition of sanctions; misappropriated and mishandled client funds by failing to place fees in client-trust accounts and failing to return unearned fees upon the end of the representation; and demonstrated dishonest conduct by lying to the court about his tardiness at a hearing.

Holding: When an attorney accepts fees from multiple clients, fails to provide them with legal services and ultimately misappropriates the fees they gave him, fails to respond to the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him and offers no evidence of remorse or mitigation, disbarment is the only remedy adequate to protect the public.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct Rules ("MARPC") 1.1 (Competence), 1.2 (Scope of Representation), 1.4 (Communication), 1.5 (Fees), 1.15 (Safekeeping Property), 1.16 (Declining or Terminating Representation), 3.2 (Expediting Litigation), 3.3(a)(1) (Candor Toward the Tribunal), 3.4 (Fairness to Opposing Party and Attorney), 8.1 (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters, 8.4(a) (Violating MARPC), 8.4(c) (Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit or Misrepresentation) and 8.4(d) (Conduct that is Prejudicial to the Administration of Justice).

Citation: Misc. Docket AG No. 62

  • Decided on .
Attorney Grievance defense attorney specializes in defending lawyers in disciplinary proceedings before the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and the D.C. Bar's Board on Professional Responsibility involving professional misconduct, legal ethics, disbarment, suspensions of law licenses, petitions for disciplinary action, reprimands and sanctions for unethical conduct. If you receive a letter from Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless, Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox, or from any attorney disciplinary board in Maryland or the District of Columbia, retain experienced attorneys with expertise in lawyer discipline and breach of ethics cases to avoid sanctions for professional misconduct. We help lawyers avoid disbarment, suspension, reprimands, censure and informal admonitions by drafting responses to client grievances and ethical complaints; representing lawyers in peer reviews, evidentiary hearings, and oral arguments before the BPR and the Court of Appeals; filing petitions to reinstate an attorney's license to practice law; conducting law firm ethical compliance audits; and drafting legal ethics opinions to protect lawyers from ethics charges. In many cases, disciplinary proceedings may be dismissed, dismissed with a warning, or result in a conditional diversion agreement with Bar Counsel to rectify misconduct. Lawyers may need help in managing their law firm attorney escrow IOLTA trust account and complying with attorney trust accounting rules to avoid charges of ethical misconduct. Do not represent yourself in responding to an attorney grievance, law firm client complaint, or other allegation of ethical impropriety. Attorney grievance defense counsel may help you comply with legal ethics rules, avoid sanctions like suspension or disbarment, and avoid future attorney grievances.

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By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and Irwin R. Kramer who are responsible for the content of this informational website.   This website is designed for lawyers faced with attorney grievances. As cases do differ, past performance does not guarantee future results.
 

NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND
OR THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE D.C. BAR