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Case Abstracts for matters heard in April of 2008

CSB 2007-032 Ronald Ian Segal, Peabody, MA (Deceased)
Claimants retained Mr. Segal with $10,000 in December 2004 to represent their college student son on four charges of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.  There was no written fee agreement and apparently no understanding of the hourly rate at which Mr. Segal would bill against that retainer.  During the fourteen months from December 2004 through February 2006 (when Mr. Segal requested and received an additional $10,000 from claimants), Mr. Segal made several court appearances, including a day-long hearing on a motion to suppress evidence obtained from claimants' son.  Following the trial court's denial of the motion to suppress, Mr. Segal filed a motion for reconsideration (with trial transcripts attached) on June 16, 2006.  After Mr. Segal's death on June 22, 2006, a former law partner of his undertook the representation of claimants' son without charge. He pursued the motion for reconsideration which was denied on December 1, 2006 after which the court found sufficient facts and continued the matter without a finding for one year without supervision. Claimants filed a notice of claim with Mr. Segal's estate but the estate disregarded it because no lawsuit was filed within one year of the decedent's death. The estate was properly closed in December 2007. The Board found no evidence of dishonest conduct or defalcation by Mr. Segal and made no award to claimants.

CSB 2008-019 Ronald Ian Segal, Peabody, MA (Deceased)
Mr. Segal (duly admitted in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire) represented claimant on a criminal charge in New Hampshire beginning from an unspecified date in 2004 through approximately April 2006. After claimant's conviction, the court clerk, based on a written assignment signed by claimant's companion transferring her right to the cash bail, sent a $30,000 check to Mr. Segal who endorsed and negotiated it.  Claimant asserted that Mr. Segal was to have given $20,000 to claimant's companion and retained only $10,000 as his fee. Responding to this claim, counsel for Mr. Segal's estate presented the two-page Assignment that reads in part:  "The said assigned sum [$30,000.00] to be applied in partial payment of legal fees for services rendered on behalf of the said [claimant]." Claimant responded saying that Mr. Segal made an oral promise to claimant's companion "to return twenty thousand dollars at the end of the case" and submitted the companion's "Revocation of Assignment of Bail" dated May 11, 2006, some two to three weeks after Mr. Segal received and negotiated the $30,000 check. Claimant introduced no evidence of when Mr. Segal made the alleged oral promise, the names of witnesses who may have been present or a description of the circumstances giving rise to the promise.  The Board found no evidence of dishonest conduct or defalcation by Mr. Segal and made no award to claimant.

CSB 2007-035 Edward David Friedman, Springfield, MA (Disbarred)
During 2000 and 2001, claimant, a disabled, Spanish-speaking, single mother of four, resided in a Holyoke housing project. In September 2000 Mr. Friedman attended a tenants' association meeting during which he explained that he could help with the problems of "unsafe and unsanitary conditions" and "gang and drug activities" in the project.  Claimant engaged Mr. Friedman who counseled her to withhold rent payments from the housing authority and deliver those payments to him together with funds for legal fees.  Claimant estimated having paid Mr. Friedman $6,000 in rent payments and legal fees. She presented seven money order receipts and one typed receipt from Mr. Friedman.  The cash payments were unsupported by receipts. In late summer 2001, the housing authority filed suit to evict claimant for $2,485 in unpaid rent. Mr. Friedman's defense assistance consisted solely of a "To Whom It May Concern" letter arguing that claimant had never been in a state of "non-payment" because she "has reliably and consistently made her rental payments here in lieu of delivering same to her landlord until such time as the underlying violations were corrected."  The letter bore the confirmatory signature of an attorney for the housing authority that turned out to be a forgery.  Mr. Friedman provided claimant with no services; no accounting for or refund of her rent escrow account and no accounting for or refund of her legal fees.  The Board found a defalcation, estimated claimant's loss at $4,000 and made an award to her in that amount.

CSB 2007-023 Vincent G. Campanella, Jr., Woburn, MA (Disbarred)
Mr. Campanella settled claimant's personal injury claim (auto accident) for $3,500.  Claimant believes he did not sign a release but did agree to the settlement figure through Mr. Campanella's secretary. Mr. Campanella sent claimant a $2,350 IOLTA check that was returned for insufficient funds.  The Board found a defalcation and awarded claimant $2,350.

CSB 2007-031 Mark S. Williams, Belmont, MA (Disbarred)
On May 9, 2005, claimant, a supervisor for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, gave Mr. Williams a $5,000 retainer for legal assistance related to claimant's suspension for allegedly misappropriating nine gallons of gas from a prison gas pump for his own car. For nine months, Mr. Williams misrepresented to claimant that he had drafted and sent responses to his employer, as well as the EEOC and the Department of Labor. Mr. Williams actually did nothing for claimant.  The Board found a defalcation and awarded claimant $5,000.

CSB 2008-008 Edmund L. Patrican, Lynn, MA (Suspended)
Mr. Patrican was indefinitely suspended September 26, 2006 (effective October 26, 2006). On October 17 and November 29, Mr. Patrican accepted $2,500 payments from claimant to defend her son on a criminal charge.  He was ineligible to appear in court and never did appear on behalf of claimant's son. Mr. Patrican never accounted for or returned the fee to claimant.  The Board found a defalcation and awarded claimant $5,000.

CSB 2008-003 Ronald Gary Pinson, Quincy, MA (Suspended)
Claimant signed a contingent fee agreement and a power of attorney giving Mr. Pinson authority to sign any and all documents to complete settlement of her personal injury claim from a June 2006 car accident. The insurer issued a $1,200 settlement check payable to both claimant and Mr. Pinson in January 2007.  Mr. Pinson negotiated the check and used the funds for his own purposes.  The Board found a defalcation and awarded claimant $800 (2/3 of $1,200).


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