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IN RE: DANIEL J. BARTLETT

NO. BD-99-011

SUMMARY

 

On December 29, 1995, the respondent received an admonition as reported at 11 Mass. Att’y Disc. R 495 (AD No. 95-94). As a condition of receipt of the admonition, the respondent agreed to attend a continuing legal education program designated by Bar Counsel. The respondent received notice of the program and did not attend the program or notify Bar Counsel why he could not attend. The respondent failed to respond to subsequent correspondence from Bar Counsel asking for an explanation.

On February 2, 1996, Bar Counsel received a complaint against the respondent from a former client. The client complained that he had not received an original of the mortgagee’s title insurance policy that the respondent had obtained on behalf of the client. The respondent did not cooperate with the investigation of Bar Counsel until October 17, 1997, after he was subpoenaed by Bar Counsel. After a subpoena meeting, the respondent forwarded the title policy to his client for the first time.

On October 7, 1996 Bar Counsel received a second complaint against the respondent from another former client. The client complained that he had not received a copy of his file upon request. The respondent did not cooperate with the investigation of Bar Counsel until after he was subpoenaed. On June 2, 1997, the respondent admitted for the first time that he had lost his client's file, had taken no steps to reconstruct it and had not explained the loss to his client.

The respondent’s failure to cooperate with Bar Counsel as described above, including his failure to attend the CLE program that was a condition of an earlier sanction, was in violation of Canon One, Disciplinary Rule 1-102(A)(5), and S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 3(b).

The respondent’s failure to return his client’s file because he had lost it combined with his failure to attempt to rectify the loss either by reconstructing the file or by notifying the client of the loss of the file, until after intervention by Bar Counsel, was in violation of Canon Two, Disciplinary Rule 2-110(A)(4).

On June 1, 1998 Bar Counsel filed a Petition for Discipline against the respondent alleging the above-described violations. The respondent did not either answer the Petition, attend a pre-hearing conference or attend the hearing. Because the respondent did not file an answer to the Petition, the allegations were deemed admitted. See Board of Bar Overseers Rule 3.15(e).

On December 15, 1998 the hearing committee issued its report and found that the respondent’s failure to cooperate with the disciplinary process demonstrated indifference to his professional obligations and the administration of justice and recommended that the respondent be suspended for six months and one day. The ‘one day" addition clarified that the respondent would not be automatically reinstated at the end of his term of suspension.

The respondent did not appeal the findings or conclusions of the Hearing Committee report and on February 8, 1998, the Board voted to adopt the Hearing Committee’s recommendations and to file an Information with the Supreme Judicial Court recommending a term suspension of six months and one day.

The matter came before the court, Greaney, J., on an Information and Record of Proceedings filed on March 10, 1999. On March 25, 1999, the Court entered an order suspending the respondent for six months and one day effective thirty days after the entry of the order.

 



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