CSB-2009-073 William J. Mahoney, Boston, MA (Disbarred)
In 2009, claimant, having spent most of his adult life in prison, alleged that in 1984 Mr. Mahoney represented his severely injured mother after an auto accident and then kept a $25,000 settlement for his own use. Mr. Mahoney was disbarred in 1993 and claimant’s mother died in 1999. While in prison, claimant became a serious and experienced litigator filing more than 25 cases, including an SJC matter from 1987, just three years after his mother’s injury. Despite those legal skills, claimant presented no documentary evidence to support his claim and no plausible explanation for his unreasonable delay in filing a claim. The Board dismissed the claim for lack of evidence.
CSB-2008-061 Andrea C. Goode-James, Roxbury, MA (Disbarred)
Between May and September 2007 claimant paid Ms. Goode-James $1,500 to assist her with an immigration matter. Ms. Goode-James, however, was preoccupied with her work as a closing attorney for several refinancing transactions between September 2006 and May 2007 from which she misappropriated more than $1 million. Claimant received no meaningful legal services from Ms. Goode-James in exchange for the payment of the retainer. The Board found a defalcation and awarded claimant $1,500.
CSB-2009-092 Ronald Ian Segal, Peabody, MA (Deceased)
Claimant paid Mr. Segal a $9,000 fee on September 9, 2005 to defend him on multiple criminal charges. Mr. Segal appeared on claimant’s behalf in district court and, in superior court, filed ten motions including a motion to suppress and a legal memorandum in support of that motion. Nine months later, on June 22, 2006, Mr. Segal died of cancer at age 59. The Board found no evidence that when he accepted claimant’s fee, Mr. Segal had received a medical opinion that he was going to die in the immediate future. The Board found that Mr. Segal’s death was not "dishonest conduct" and therefore there was no reimbursable loss.
CSB-2009-063 Berton D. Reed, Melrose, MA (Disbarred)
Claimant is the owner of a private, for-profit check cashing service. In late 2008 and early 2009, a client of Mr. Reed’s went to claimant’s business and cashed two checks ($4,000 each) drawn on Mr. Reed’s IOLTA. Both checks were returned to claimant’s business marked "account closed". After claimant unsuccessfully tried to get Mr. Reed and his client to make good on the dishonored checks, she filed this claim. The Board found that claimant never had a client–lawyer relationship with Mr. Reed and that Mr. Reed did not stand in a fiduciary relationship with claimant. For those reasons the Board found the loss to be non-reimbursable and made no award.
CSB-2009-088 Ennio Cataldo, Medford, MA (Disbarred)
In December 2006 claimant, who then resided in Arizona, telephoned Mr. Cataldo and asked him to attempt to modify a child support order. Mr. Cataldo accepted the engagement and claimant’s $1,500 check. After a brief interval, Mr. Cataldo assured claimant that the matter had been handled. When claimant later discovered that nothing had been done and the old order was still in effect, he hired substitute counsel who resolved the entire matter and charged claimant $550. The Board found a defalcation and awarded claimant $1,500.
CSB-2009-087 Yiping Du, Cambridge, MA (Suspended)
Between July and October 2007, claimant paid Mr. Du $890 to perform status-adjustment immigration services in the wake of his recent divorce. After that, claimant heard nothing from Mr. Du who went on disability-inactive status in March 2008, having provided no legal services for claimant. The Board found a defalcation and awarded claimant $890.
CSB-2009-094 John Udo, Randolph, MA (Disbarred)
Between March 31 and August, 2007, approximately one year into bar counsel's disciplinary investigation, Mr. Udo accepted $1,575 in legal fees and a $320 filing fee from claimant, a non-US national with a student visa for graduate theological studies, to file Form I-129 to work as a youth pastor for a Boston-area church. After Mr. Udo incorrectly filed the form in Vermont, the USCIS returned it and directed him in September 2007 to file it in California. He never did. When claimant learned in June 2008 of Mr. Udo's suspension, she was forced to retain substitute counsel to begin the process anew. Mr. Udo concealed from claimant that he was defending disciplinary proceedings and would probably be unable to complete the services for which he had been retained. The Board found a defalcation of $1,575 and awarded that amount to claimant.
CSB-2010-013 John Udo, Randolph, MA (Disbarred)
On March 3, 2007 claimant paid Mr. Udo $420 to file a new naturalization application after her 2004 filing had lapsed for lack of prosecution because claimant could not document the disposition of a 1980 Maryland shoplifting case. When claimant did not hear from Mr. Udo for a considerable time, she went to USCIS offices where she learned in October 2009 that the only filing in her name was the lapsed 2004 application. Nothing was filed after that. Claimant then recovered her file from the Commissioner appointed to take charge of Mr. Udo's practice where she found his handwritten note confirming receipt of the $420. The Board found a defalcation of $420 and awarded that amount to claimant.
CSB-2009-082 Walter E. Steele, South Boston, MA (Disbarred)
Between 2000 and 2002, claimants paid Mr. Steele $6,000 to convert their properties to condominiums. A serious illness in the family prevented claimants from monitoring Mr. Steele aside from occasional phone calls that were rarely returned. In 2007, wife-claimant visited Mr. Steele's office. He was not there but a clerk took her number and Mr. Steele called the following day promising to send all of the condo conversion documents in a few days. That promise was never fulfilled and all later calls went unanswered. The Board found a defalcation and awarded claimants $6,000.
CSB-2010-011 Lawrence P. Novak, Brockton, MA (Disbarred)
In late January and early February 2008, Mr. Novak accepted $5,500 from claimants to fund the vacating of their imprisoned son's earlier convictions. Mr. Novak concealed his personal conflict of interest that he had been defending federal criminal charges (obstruction of justice and money laundering) since September 2005. Mr. Novak provided no meaningful legal services, no meaningful accounting for the retainer and never refunded any of it. The Board found a defalcation and awarded claimants $5,500.
CSB 2010-002 Ronald G. Pinson, Dorchester, MA (Disbarred)
On August 5, 2006, claimant (age 77) was injured when another car, whose driver was cited for failing to yield the right of way, struck the car her son was driving. The son arranged for Mr. Pinson to represent him and his mother to recover damages. The Board awarded $4,200 to the son for Mr. Pinson’s misappropriation in February, 2009 after which the son assisted his mother to file her claim. In late January 2007, just two months before his suspension, Mr. Pinson, endorsed (under a POA) a $7,200 check payable to him and to claimant. Then, he "intentionally failed without good cause to comply" with the March 14, 2007 suspension order, made no distribution to claimant, and failed to account to her for the funds. The Board found a defalcation and awarded claimant $4,800.