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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2009-029

IN RE: JOHN F. GALLANT

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension/Stayed entered by Justice Botsford on June 26, 2009.1

SUMMARY2

On January 27, 2009, the New Hampshire Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee suspended the respondent, John F. Gallant, for six months, but stayed the suspension for two years, with the condition that if the respondent does not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct during the two-year period, the suspension will not be imposed.

The New Hampshire discipline resulted from the respondentís representation of a real estate developer defending a claim by a contractor for work performed. At a hearing on the contractorís request for a real estate attachment, the respondent and opposing counsel agreed to the courtís suggestion to designate that whatever security the court ordered would apply to a particular lot in the development, and not the whole subdivision. The court then issued an attachment against the developer.

Subsequently, after the hearing and issuance of the attachment, the respondent learned for the first time that the land was not held in the name of the developer but in the name of another entity, which was in the process of selling the lots. Having agreed at the hearing to designate a lot for an attachment against the developer, the respondent had an obligation to correct the record concerning title to the development but failed to do so until after all lots had been sold. The respondentís failure to promptly correct the court record and disclose the title information to opposing counsel violated Rules 3.3(a) and 4.1(a) of the New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct. The Professional Conduct Committee considered in mitigation that the respondent expressed remorse for his misconduct, presented evidence of his good character and reputation for competence, and has had no other disciplinary violations.

The respondent did not report the New Hampshire discipline to Massachusetts bar counsel, as required by S.J.C. Rule 4:01, ß 16(6).

On May 8, 2009, bar counsel filed a petition for reciprocal discipline with the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County. The parties waived hearing and assented to an order of reciprocal discipline. On June 26, 2009, the Court (Botsford, J.) issued an order of term suspension/stayed, suspending the respondent for six months, with the execution of the suspension stayed for two years from January 27, 2009, with the condition that if the respondent does not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct during the two-year period, the suspension will not be imposed.


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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