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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2010-048

IN RE: DENNIS M. POWERS

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Gants on May 26, 2010, with an effective date of June 25, 2010.1

SUMMARY2

From 2001 through 2008, the respondent accepted assignments from the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS). As a condition of those assignments, the respondent was required to maintain professional liability coverage and to provide annually the declaration page of the policy and affirm that he had coverage in place. The respondent did not secure coverage for those years.

To continue to receive assignments from the CPCS, the respondent submitted each year between 2001 to 2008 an application in which he falsely affirmed that he was covered by professional liability insurance. He altered declaration pages from a policy he had in place prior to 2001 and provided the altered declaration pages in connection with his applications.

On April 24, 2009, bar counsel filed a petition for discipline alleging that the respondentís submission of false, misleading, and deceptive information and altered declaration pages to CPCS to satisfy his obligation of showing that he had in effect professional liability insurance when the respondent knew that he did not have such coverage violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c) (prohibiting conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation), (d) (prohibiting conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice), and (h) (prohibiting conduct that adversely reflects on the fitness to practice law). The respondent filed an answer requesting a hearing on mitigation.

On December 3, 2009, a hearing on mitigation was held before a hearing committee of the Board of Bar Overseers. On February 17, 2010, the hearing committee filed a report finding that the respondentís conduct violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4 (c) and (h), and declining to reach the question whether Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(d) was also violated. The committee found, in aggravation, that respondentís actions were motivated by his personal financial benefit and showed a disregard for his professional obligation of honesty, and that the respondent had expressed no remorse or understanding of the nature or consequences of his misconduct. The committee recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for eighteen months.

On April 15, 2010, the parties entered into a stipulation jointly recommending that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year and one day. On May 10, 2010, the matter came before the Board of Bar Overseers on the partiesí stipulation and joint recommendation. The Board accepted the partiesí stipulation and recommendation and voted to file an Information with the Supreme Judicial Court recommending that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year and one day.

On May 26, 2010 an order was entered in the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County (Gants, J.), ordering that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year and one day effective thirty days from the entry of the order.


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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