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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2009-096

IN RE: MICHAEL MONTEMBEAU

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Ireland on January 20, 2010.1

SUMMARY2

On October 6, 2009, the respondent, Michael Montembeau, was suspended by the Supreme Judicial Court of the State of Maine for fifteen months, retroactive to April 1, 2008. The discipline was based upon the following misconduct.

The respondent represented a couple in a boundary dispute, the legal fees for which were to be paid by a title insurer. The boundary dispute prevented the clients from building a home on their property. The respondent unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the insurer to cover the clients’ costs for alternative housing. In June of 2007, the respondent submitted a bill to the insurer in which he misrepresented his total time on the matter, thereby inflating the bill by approximately $7,000. When the bill was paid, the respondent gave the clients $7,000. In October of 2007, the respondent sent the insurer a second bill, on which he inflated his total time by another $6,000. The insurer did not pay this bill, and in March of 2008, the respondent offered to discount the bill to an amount that was still $2,000 more than his actual charges.

The Maine Court concluded that the respondent engaged in misrepresentations to the insurer and collected an excessive fee. The Court acknowledged that the respondent had self-reported his misconduct, was remorseful and agreed to the sanction. The suspension was made retroactive to April 1, 2008, because the respondent had not engaged in the practice of law since that date. The Court ordered that the respondent must make restitution before petitioning for reinstatement.

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

On October 28, 2009, bar counsel filed a petition for reciprocal discipline with the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County. The Court issued an order of notice giving the respondent thirty days to show cause why reciprocal discipline should not be ordered in Massachusetts. The respondent did not reply to the order of notice. The Court, after notice, held a hearing on January 19, 2010, at which bar counsel appeared but the respondent did not. On January 20, 2010, the Court (Ireland, J.) entered an order suspending the respondent for a period of fifteen months retroactive to April 1, 2008, with the respondent’s reinstatement in Massachusetts conditioned upon his reinstatement in Maine.


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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