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Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board January 24, 2001.


In 1994, the respondent represented a woman injured in an automobile accident. After consultation with his client, he settled both the bodily injury and PIP claims.

Although the respondent agreed to accept a portion of the recovery as his fee, he failed to execute a written fee agreement.

Beginning in 1994 or earlier, the respondent commingled personal funds with client funds in his IOLTA account by failing to withdraw his fees as they became payable and by leaving his funds in the account until he had need of them. When he received the proceeds of the bodily injury and PIP settlements, he deposited the funds in the commingled IOLTA account.

At his client's direction, the respondent remitted the funds to her in installments between October, 1994, and July, 1995. He failed, however, to maintain adequate records of the payments made to her. He did not provide her with any accounting or keep her informed of the amount still available. Although funds remained due to the client after July, 1995, she was not aware of it.

During the period in which the client's funds were in the respondent's IOLTA account, he continued to withdraw funds for his personal use without adequate attention to whether any funds were due to him. As a result of his withdrawals, the balance in the account fell below the amount necessary to defray the respondent's obligation to his client.

There was no evidence that the respondent was aware that he was using client funds or that he did so intentionally. The respondent failed to maintain any record of transactions in the IOLTA account that was adequate to determine the amount due to clients or the amount of personal funds in the account.

Following a complaint by an unpaid medical provider and the intervention of Bar Counsel, the respondent paid his client more than the amount due to her.

The respondent's failure to execute a written contingent fee agreement violated DR 2-106(C). His commingling, failure to maintain adequate records, failure to account, and negligent misuse of client funds violated DR 1-102(A)(6), DR 9-102(A), and DR 9-102(B).

The Board imposed a public reprimand and placed the respondent on probation for two years with a requirement that he retain an accountant to examine and certify his client accounts.

1 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record of proceedings before the Board.

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