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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2007-013

IN RE: RONALD GARY PINSON, JR.

S.J.C. Judgment of Disbarment entered by Justice Cordy on May 11, 2009.1

SUMMARY2

On May 11, 2009, the respondent was disbarred based on the misconduct described below.

The respondent maintained an IOLTA account at Citizens Bank from at least January 2005 until mid-April 2006. On April 13, 2006, the respondent closed his IOLTA account and used the remaining balance in the account to open a new IOLTA account at Citizens Bank. The respondent did not keep a complete or accurate check register for the accounts. He failed to keep individual client ledgers for the funds he deposited in the accounts, and he failed to keep a ledger for bank charges. The respondent also failed to prepare reconciliation reports for the accounts at least every sixty days. This conduct violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(f)(B)-(E). The respondent made withdrawals from the IOLTA account payable to “cash” and he paid some of his own personal and business expenses directly from the account. This conduct violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(e)(3) and (4). In March 2006, the respondent sold his personal residence and deposited the sale proceeds into his IOLTA account. This conduct violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(b). The respondent used some of these funds to pay his personal creditors directly from the IOLTA account. This conduct violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(e)(4).

Between April 2006 and February 2007, the respondent converted to his own business or personal use the settlement proceeds of at least thirty-one personal injury clients. The respondent intentionally used these funds for his own business and/or personal expenses unrelated to the clients with the intent to deprive his clients of their funds, and the respondent’s clients suffered actual deprivation of their funds. As of October 15, 2008, at least six of the clients remained deprived of their net shares of the settlement funds. The respondent did not promptly notify these clients of his receipt of settlement funds on their behalf. He failed to provide the clients with a written statement showing the outcome of their cases, the recovery he obtained for them, and the method of determining the amount to which the clients were due. The respondent also failed to provide the clients with a full written accounting of the funds he received on their behalf.

By converting the clients’ funds to his own personal use, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(c) and 8.4(c) and (h). By failing promptly to notify the clients of his receipt of funds on their behalf, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4(a) and 1.15(c). By failing to deposit client funds into a trust account, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(b). By failing to provide the clients with an accounting of the funds he received on their behalf, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(d). By failing to provide the clients with written statements showing the outcome of their cases and the method of determining the remittance to the clients, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.5(c).

In another matter, two of the respondent’s clients who had been involved in the same auto accident were treated for their injuries by a physical therapist. In November 2005, the physical therapist filed in court notices of liens for services provided to the clients and sent copies of the liens to the respondent. In July 2006, the insurer for the driver issued two checks payable to the clients, the respondent, and the physical therapist. The respondent received the checks, but failed to notify the physical therapist of his receipt of the checks. The respondent deposited the two checks without the endorsement of or permission from the physical therapist. The respondent paid the client’s their net shares of the recovery without withholding any amounts for the physical therapist and without attempting to negotiate with the physical therapist concerning a compromise of his liens on the clients’ settlement proceeds.

In August 2006, the physical therapist sent a request for investigation to bar counsel. In response to bar counsel’s inquiry, the respondent falsely represented that PIP claims for the physical therapy received by both clients were still pending and that the PIP carrier was “currently processing the PIP payments.” In fact, the respondent knew when he made this statement that the PIP carrier had denied coverage for the clients’ physical therapy in November 2005.

By failing to notify the physical therapist that he had received funds in which the therapist had an interest, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(c). By failing to attempt to negotiate with the physical therapist concerning a compromise of his liens on the clients’ recovery, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3. By intentionally misrepresenting to bar counsel that the PIP claims for the clients were still pending, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.1(a) and (b), and 8.4(c) and (d).

On March 14, 2007, the respondent was temporarily suspended from the practice of law by order of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County. The order of temporary suspension required the respondent to file notices of withdrawal with every court, agency, or tribunal before which he had any matters pending; provide notice to all of his clients and counsel for all parties in any pending matters that he was disqualified from acting as a lawyer; return all client property to his clients; and file affidavits with the Office of Bar Counsel and the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County certifying that he fully complied with the order of temporary suspension. The respondent received copies of this order, but intentionally failed without good cause to comply with the order. That conduct violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 3.4(c) and 8.4(d) and (h).

The respondent was admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth on December 15, 1999. Bar counsel filed a petition for discipline against the respondent on October 15, 2008. The respondent failed to answer the petition and the charges against the respondent were deemed admitted pursuant to Section 3.15(e) of the Rules of the Board of Bar Overseers. On March 9, 2009, the Board voted to recommend that the respondent be disbarred. The county court (Cordy, J.) entered a judgment of disbarment on May 11, 2009.


FOOTNOTES:

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 filed with the Supreme Judicial Court.



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