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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2003-061

IN RE: JAMES WAGER

S.J.C. Judgment of Disbarment entered by Justice Cordy on January 16, 2004.1

SUMMARY2

This matter came before the Court on the respondent's affidavit of resignation pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 15. The respondent had previously been temporarily suspended from the practice of law pending further disciplinary proceedings on October 21, 2003. The respondent admitted in the affidavit of resignation that the material facts upon which the petition for temporary suspension was predicated would be established by a preponderance of the evidence at hearing and that a hearing committee, the Board of Bar Overseers and the Court would conclude that he had committed the acts set forth in the petition.

In six separate matters in 2001 and 2002, the respondent misappropriated a total of $117,500 in personal injury settlements. In each case, the client either never agreed to settle the matter or did not sign the release. The clients also did not endorse the settlement checks or authorize the respondent to endorse the checks on their behalf. The respondent used the settlement funds for his own personal or business purposes and did not remit to the clients the funds that the clients were entitled to receive.

The respondent's intentional misuse of client funds, with actual and continuing deprivation resulting, was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(a)-(d) and 8.4(c) and (h).

The affidavit of resignation was filed with the Board of Bar Overseers on November 24, 2003. On December 15, 2003, the Board voted to recommend that the affidavit of resignation be accepted and that an order of disbarment be entered retroactive to the date of the respondent's temporary suspension. On January 16, 2004, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County so ordered.

1 The complete Order of the Court is available by contacting the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.

2 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record before the Court.



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