About the Author

Shirley M. Watts

Shirley M. Watts

Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland


Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who failed to appear for oral argument in the Court of Special Appeals, called the Clerk's office to state that she felt too ill to travel that morning and to request that arguments be rescheduled, failed to file a written explanation for her absence or take other appropriate action, and failed to inform her client that he lost the appeal?

Holding: For failing to appear for oral argument, to file papers explaining her absence and requesting a new hearing, or to inform her client that he lost the appeal, the Court suspended this lawyer for thirty days, and will not reinstate her without a health care professional's report or other acceptable evidence that she is mentally and physically competent to resume the practice of law.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (Communication), 8.4(d) (Conduct that is Prejudicial to the Administration of Justice), and 8.4(a) (Violating the MLRPC).

Citation: 443 Md. 494  (2015)