CSB-2008-064 Bruce L. Namenson, Quincy, MA (Disbarred)
The facts of this claim formed one the counts of bar counsel’s Statement of Charges that resulted in Mr. Namenson’s disbarment. They also formed the basis for one of the many felony-larceny charges to which Mr. Namenson pleaded guilty. As the closing agent for the sale of claimant’s home in April 2007, Mr. Namenson received $375,000 from buyer’s lender with which he was to have, among other things, paid off claimant’s mortgage of $183,378.74. Instead, Mr. Namenson used the funds for his own purposes and lied to claimant about the misdirection of the wire transfer. He did deliver to claimant $34,364.23, her net proceeds of the sale. Since the closing, claimant’s substandard credit rating prevented her from refinancing her current home because her credit reports show that she defaulted on the mortgage loan the Mr. Namenson failed to pay off. Claimant’s mortgagee sold the property at auction during 2008 and was left with an unpaid principal balance of $29,768.98. The Board found a defalcation of $29,768.98 and made an award in that amount payable to claimant and her mortgagee. Before making any award, counsel for claimant’s mortgagee assured the Board that in exchange for $29,768.98 his client would restore claimant’s good credit rating by promptly notifying all credit reporting agencies that its loan to claimant had been paid in full without any conditions or qualifications. After claimant endorsed the award check, the Board forwarded it to the mortgagee’s counsel for delivery to the mortgagee.
CSB-2009-060 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
In September, 2004 claimant agreed to sell her home to a purchaser for $442,000. The purchaser deposited $36,750 held in escrow by claimant’s real estate broker. The sale never closed because the buyer’s lender discovered that buyer’s IDs were all fake (i.e., social security number, green card, etc.). Claimant consulted with Mr. Udo who told her she had "a very good case" to recover the deposit under the purchase and sale agreement and she signed a 25% contingent fee agreement with him on February 16, 2005. In March, 2005, claimant sold her home to another purchaser for $430,000 and moved to Texas. After Mr. Udo filed the complaint in February 2005, the case languished during 2005-2006 with the sole significant action being the real estate broker’s deposit of the $36,750 with the court. A joint pre-trial memorandum was filed in February 2007 after which Mr. Udo failed to appear at two depositions and a status conference resulting in a September 2007 dismissal of claimant’s suit and a release of the escrowed deposit to the defendant/purchaser. Claimant learned of the dismissal when she called the court. She then immediately reported Mr. Udo to the office of bar counsel and retained substitute counsel who was unable to obtain claimant’s file from Mr. Udo and unable to block the release of the escrowed funds to the defendant/purchaser. The Board recognized Mr. Udo’s malpractice, but it found no defalcation by him as he never had custody of the escrowed deposit. The Board denied the claim.
CSB-2009-089 Bruce L. Namenson, Quincy, MA (Disbarred)
Claimant’s wife died October, 2006 after two cars struck her as she crossed a street in the suburban Boston town where she lived with her family. Claimant engaged Mr. Namenson for a contingent fee to recover damages. By the end of February 2007, Mr. Namenson received checks from the insurers of the two drivers for the $20,000 limit of the respective policies. He used all of the funds for his own purposes and never delivered to claimant any portion of the net settlements ($26,666.67). Claimant also carried an auto insurance policy with an underinsurance limit of $50,000. Because Mr. Namenson never pursued this additional $10,000 in coverage, the Board found that he sold the claim short and, in a modified application of the Michigan Rule, denied him $2,500 "credit" for his contingent fee on the $40,000 recovery. The Board found a defalcation of $29,166.67 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2008-074 Richard W. Hynes, Brookline, MA (Disbarred)
Six months into the disciplinary process and six days before bar counsel filed the petition for discipline, Mr. Hynes accepted the first of seven checks from claimant totaling $5,150 for which he was to have (1) prepared a power of attorney ($150), (2) created an LLC ($2,200), (3) arranged a loan ($300), and (4) obtained a three-family zoning permit ($2,500). The fees for the loan and zoning permit ($2,800) were tendered and accepted by Mr. Hynes after he submitted his affidavit of resignation. The POA was so deficient that Mr. Hynes referred claimant to another lawyer who charged her $250 for a new one. The LLC was never established. Mr. Hynes dishonestly concealed from claimant the fact that he was in the midst of a disciplinary process and in an irreconcilable conflict of interest that prevented him from serving her legal needs. The Board found a defalcation of $5,150 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2007-058 Richard W. Hynes, Brookline, MA (Disbarred)
Claimants were neighbors who in March 2003 retained Mr. Hynes to resolve a land dispute with one of their neighbors who allegedly encroached on their property by his placement of a stockade fence, a shed, and a paved walkway. In September 2003, Mr. Hynes filed a lawsuit on behalf of claimants. The neighbor filed an answer in December 2003. In July 2004, the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice having reached a settlement in June 2004. The settlement required defendant 1) at his cost to remove all encroachments and to make certain repairs to plaintiffs’ properties, and 2) to pay plaintiffs $9,000. Claimants agreed that Mr. Hynes could keep $2,000 of the settlement in addition to the $5,900 they had already paid him. Mr. Hynes never paid the $7,000 due to claimants and never accounted to them for it. The Board found a defalcation of $7,000 and made an award in that amount to be shared equally by claimants.
CSB-2007-042 Dennis Michael O’Driscoll, Quincy MA (Suspended)
Claimant retained Mr. O’Driscoll to recover damages claimant suffered in an auto accident in June 1999. Mr. O’Driscoll settled the matter for $11,200, sent claimant a check for $3,589.73, representing claimant’s share of the settlement and informed claimant that he was retaining $2,952.20 to pay a Medicare lien. Claimant never negotiated the $3,589.73 check. Several years later, under a Power of Attorney from his father, claimant’s son asked Mr. O’Driscoll to replace the now stale check and to reimburse the funds left over after settling the Medicare lien for $508.43. Mr. O’Driscoll never made the requested payment and never accounted for the funds. The Board found a defalcation in the amount of $6,033.50 (($3,589.73 + ($2,952.20 − $508.43)) and made an award in that amount to claimant’s son, his father (age 85) having passed away leaving him as the sole descendant and heir.
CSB-2009-025 Irwin Kwiat, Worcester, MA (Disbarred)
The Worcester district attorney filed a forfeiture action against claimant’s 1993 Honda Civic in September 2005 because claimant's boyfriend allegedly used her car in his drug distribution activities. Claimant and her boyfriend paid Mr. Kwiat $10,000 to represent him from which $500 was reserved for the forfeiture case. After the boyfriend pleaded guilty in June 2006 and went off to serve a six to seven year sentence, the forfeiture case languished. Mr. Kwiat's sole action in the matter was to answer ready for trial on February 28, 2007. The case was continued for six months during which Mr. Kwiat did nothing before his suspension from practice on October 1, 2007. Claimant appeared pro se in October 2008 and stipulated to a dismissal after agreeing to pay all towing and related costs and to remove the car from State Police custody. The Board found a defalcation of $500.00 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2009-021 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
Claimants, a husband and wife, retained Mr. Udo in September 2007 to obtain a green card for the wife by reason of marriage. They paid Mr. Udo a total of $3,525 between September-October, 2007. Mr. Udo concealed from claimants that he was more than one year into the disciplinary process and might not be able to complete his representation. Claimants completed and delivered to Mr. Udo all of the forms and the wife completed all medical tests and received all immunization shots. When they called for a status report in November 2007 they were told they would hear from Mr. Udo after the holidays. When they called after the New Year, they discovered Mr. Udo's office and mobile phones were no longer in service and his office was abandoned. The Board found a defalcation of $3,525 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2009-022 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
Claimant retained Mr. Udo for naturalization services in April and May 2008 and paid him a total of $1,575. Mr. Udo was suspended for non-cooperation in May 2008 and never informed claimant that he was ineligible to practice law. The Board found a defalcation of $1,575 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2009-023 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
Claimant met with Mr. Udo in December 2006 and paid him $75 for a consultation about adjusting her status to legal permanent resident (green card) because of her recent marriage to a U.S citizen. In January 2007, claimant signed a fee agreement with Mr. Udo and paid him $1,000. Between January-April, 2007 claimant paid Mr. Udo an additional $2,000. When Mr. Udo failed to respond to claimant's requests for status reports, she retained substitute counsel who prepared a dismissal letter that claimant sent to Mr. Udo. Substitute counsel wrote to Mr. Udo seeking claimant’s file without success. The USCIS confirmed to bar counsel that Mr. Udo filed nothing on behalf of claimant. Mr. Udo never disclosed to claimant his involvement in disciplinary proceedings and its implications. The Board found a defalcation of $3,000 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2009-028 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
Sometime before mid-2006, Mr. Udo filed an application for permanent resident status for claimant. During April 2007, Mr. Udo called claimant and asked him for money to re-file because the long processing delay on the original application meant something was wrong. Claimant paid Mr. Udo $450 in cash and checks and a further $765 money order for filing fees. In August 2007, the USCIS called claimant for an interview on his original application and approved his green card on the same day. Mr. Udo made himself the payee of the second $765 filing fee money order and used it for his own purposes. Mr. Udo never explained his involvement in the disciplinary process to claimant. The Board found a defalcation in the amount of $1,215 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2009-035 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
Claimant paid Mr. Udo $3,490 in October–November 2005 to file USCIS applications to bring her five children from Nigeria to join her in the U.S. Mr. Udo did not file the applications until August 2007 and then for only four of claimant's five children and with application fee checks backed by insufficient funds. In March 2008, the USCIS gave Mr. Udo 14 days to cure the defective checks which he failed to do. As a result, all four applications were rejected as improperly filed with the loss of filing date priority. New applications were required together with new filing fees. Mr. Udo stole the $3,490 in 2005 and knowingly furnished filing fees with NSF checks. The Board found a defalcation of $3,490 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2009-045 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
Between March 2007 and January 2008, claimant paid Mr. Udo $3,625 in four installments for immigration services for herself and her husband. She last met with Mr. Udo In January 2008. She became aware of the problems in July 2008 when she visited Mr. Udo's office to pick up photocopies of some of her original documents. Instead of finding Mr. Udo in there, she found a team of investigators. Mr. Udo never disclosed to claimant his involvement in disciplinary proceedings and its implications.&n The Board found a defalcation in the amount of $3,625 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2009-047 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
Claimant paid Mr. Udo $1,000 in legal fees in July 2005 to file a citizenship application for his mother. At the same time, claimant delivered a cashier's check (with payee line blank) for the $390.00 filing fee. In October 2007, claimant paid Mr. Udo an additional $100.00 in legal fees. In May 2008, the USCIS rejected claimant's mother's application because Mr. Udo sent an insufficient-funds check to pay the filing fee. Mr. Udo wrote his name on a cashier’s check as payee, stole his client’s funds, intentionally sent an NSF check for the filing fee and then intentionally failed to cure the problem. Because claimant’s son was seriously ill during this time, he had not yet re-started his mother's naturalization application. Claimant’s son passed away in October 2009. The Board found a defalcation of $1,490 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2009-066 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
In October 2006, claimant paid Mr. Udo a total of $4,300 for legal fees, filing fee and postage for adjustment of status and work authorization filings. Mr. Udo assured claimant in April 2007 that everything had been filed. When claimant heard nothing by July 2007, she went to Mr. Udo's office where he refused to show her a USCIS receipt for the filing and refused to show claimant her own file. Claimant immediately dismissed Mr. Udo verbally (confirmed by an August 22, 2007 letter), and demanded the return of her fee. In September 2007, claimant received a USCIS rejection of her application for an insufficient filing fee that showed her application had been filed August 1, 2007. Claimant's new counsel sent a demand letter to Mr. Udo for $4,300 in October 2007 that was ignored. USCIS Office of the Chief Counsel could find no filing by Mr. Udo on behalf of claimant. The Board found a defalcation of $4,300 and made an award in that amount.
CSB-2009-070 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
Between August-November 2005, claimants (an engaged couple) paid Mr. Udo a total of $4,000 in installments to file an application for the fiancée to become a permanent resident ("green card"). The checks were drawn on the account of the fiancé. Mr. Udo told the fiancée that he had filed the necessary papers and that she should receive her labor certification within six months of filing. Claimant received nothing from the INS (USCIS). Mr Udo never returned any of the fiancée’s telephone calls and was never in his office when she visited to question him. Bar counsel returned the fiancée’s file to her consisting of nothing but a two-page signed Flat Fee Agreement dated Aug 17, 2005 and a two-page signed addendum entitled "What To Expect During the Period of Representation." Mr. Udo performed no work at all for claimants. The Board found a defalcation of $4,000 and made an award to the fiancé in that amount.
CSB-2009-071 John Udo, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
As of November 2007, Mr. Udo acknowledged receiving $2,650 from claimant as a partial payment toward his total fee of $4,500 for representation in USCIS removal proceedings. Claimant's defense was that he was seeking asylum. Between January-February 2008, Mr. Udo gave claimant three receipts for further amounts totaling $830.00 for a total of $3,480.00. Claimant’s file was never recovered from Mr. Udo’s office. Mr. Udo did no work for the fee claimant paid to him. The Board found a defalcation of $3,480 and made an award in that amount.