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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Public Reprimand No. 2002-27



IN RE: JAY M. LIPIS

Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board November 6, 2002.

SUMMARY1


The respondent received a public reprimand for his conduct in two matters.

In the first matter, the respondent represented a client in a tort suit arising out of an automobile accident. At a court-ordered mediation in March of 2000, the respondent became very angry and agitated because he believed that defense counsel had reneged on a prior agreement to recommend a settlement of the case. His facial expressions showed his anger, and he interrupted the defense counsel’s presentation by calling him a “liar” and “a piece of shit”. The respondent also referred to the defense counsel and his firm as “Satan”, and the defense experts as “whores”.

The respondent terminated the mediation session. As he was leaving the room, the respondent said to defense counsel, “I’ll wait for you downstairs.” Defense counsel reasonably interpreted the respondent's remark as a threat. When the defense counsel did not appear, the respondent returned to the building to talk to him. In the hallway outside of the mediation room, the respondent asked the defense counsel, “Why are you f---ing lying?” The parties, counsel, and the mediator left the building at the same time, and the respondent continued to yell at them.

The day after the mediation session, the respondent telephoned the defendant’s insurance company and left a message for the claims representative to “go F herself.”

The defendant filed a motion for sanctions against the respondent arising out of the respondent’s conduct at the mediation. The Court took no action on the motion but referred the matter to Bar Counsel.

In the second matter, the respondent represented two clients with respect to injuries they sustained in an automobile accident. During a telephone conversation with the insurance claims representative in December of 1999, the respondent became infuriated after the claims representative discussed her reasons for denying the claim. During the telephone conversation, the respondent called the claims representative “stupid” and a “moron”, and told her that she could “go F herself”. The respondent also told her that he would be forwarding her a G.L. c. 93A demand letter, and that she could "shove the 93A letter up her ass.” Shortly thereafter, the respondent left the claims representative a voice mail message in which he again insulted her.

The respondent’s intemperate remarks during the mediation and his use of vulgar and insulting language was intended to disrupt a tribunal and was prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 3.5(c), 8.4(d), and 8.4(h). The respondent’s use of profanity and his verbal abuse of opposing counsel and insurance claims representatives, in connection with his handling of client matters, violated Rules 4.4 and 8.4(h) of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct.

The respondent was admitted to practice in 1985, and has received no prior discipline. In mitigation, after these incidents the respondent sought and obtained assistance from a professional counselor for stress he was experiencing in his practice.

The matter came before the Board of Bar Overseers on a stipulation of facts and a joint recommendation for discipline. The Board of Bar Overseers accepted the parties’ recommendation and imposed a public reprimand on October 21, 2002.

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



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