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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Public Reprimand No. 2003-2



IN RE: STANLEY E. GREENIDGE

Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board March 18, 2003.

SUMMARY1


The client hired the respondent in March 1996 to retrieve a motor vehicle that she said was wrongfully repossessed. The clientís business, a towing service, was the title owner of the vehicle. The client paid the respondent $200.00 on March 22, 1996 as a filing fee for a court action that she expected the respondent to commence.

The respondent filed an action on or about June 21, 1996, in Norfolk Superior Court. The Norfolk Superior Court action was dismissed on October 9, 1996, because the respondent failed to make service of process on the defendants. The respondent received notice of the dismissal in due course, but he did not notify the client that he had filed an action and that it had been dismissed.

Sometime after October 9, 1996, but prior to March 20, 1998, the respondent intentionally misrepresented to the client that he had filed an action in federal court. In fact, the respondent did not file an action in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts until March 20, 1998. The federal court action was dismissed on September 2, 1998, because the respondent had failed to make service of process on the defendants, but the respondent did not notify the client of this. After September 2, 1998, the respondent intentionally misrepresented to the client that there were court dates.

The respondentís failure to make service of process in the state court action was in violation of Canon Six, DR 6-101(A)(2) and (3), and Canon Seven, DR 7-101(A)(1), (2), and (3). The respondentís failure to effect service in the federal court action violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.2(a) and 1.3. The respondentís intentional misrepresentations to the client that he had filed the action in the federal court and that there were court dates violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4, 8.4(c) and (h). The respondentís failure to advise the client that state court proceedings had been dismissed violated Canon Six, DR 6-101(A)(3), and Canon Seven, 7-101(A)(1), (2), and (3). The respondentís failure to advise the client that the federal court action had been dismissed violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4(a) and (b).

The client also retained the respondent in February 1998, to pursue a medical malpractice claim. On February 26, 1998, the respondent forwarded a proposed complaint to her. The client paid the respondent $250.00 on March 6, 1998, as the filing fee for the malpractice action that she expected the respondent to commence. The respondent did not file the medical malpractice complaint and did not tell the client that no case had been filed. After the client complained to bar counsel, the respondent returned the filing fee to her.

The respondentís failure to commence an action violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.2(a) and 1.3. The respondentís failure to advise the client that he had not brought an action constituted a failure to keep the client reasonably informed in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4(a) and (b).

In mitigation, the clientís claims had little merit, and there was no serious financial injury.

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 partiesí recommendation and imposed a public reprimand on March 10, 2003.

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



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