Mass.gov
   
Mass.Gov home Mass.gov  home get things done agencies Search Mass.Gov


Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Public Reprimand No. 2006-8



DOUGLAS BOYD

Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board June 2, 2006.

SUMMARY1


In November 2003, the president of a medical claims management company retained the respondent to represent the company in challenging the Office of Health Policyís request for an on-site audit by the Department of Industrial Accidents.

In February and March 2004, the respondent and General Counsel for OHP presented arguments on the above issue to a hearing officer at the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). In April 2004, the DIA hearing officer issued a decision in favor of the OHP and revoked the companyís license to conduct utilization review in Massachusetts because of its refusal to allow the on-site audit.

In early May 2004, the respondent, on behalf of the company, appealed the decision to the Suffolk County Superior Court. On May 6, 2004, the respondent sent DIA a Motion to Stay Revocation pending the appeal. The hearing officer denied the motion to stay. The respondent timely informed the company president of this decision.

In June 2004, and in accordance with required procedure for obtaining judicial review of an administrative decision, the respondent was instructed by the Superior Court to file a motion for judgment on the pleadings within 30 days.

In September 2004, the respondent and counsel for OHP filed a joint motion to continue the next hearing from September 28th until after November 15, 2004, on the basis that the parties needed more time to prepare motions. The respondent agreed to serve the motion for judgment on the pleadings on OHP by October 14, 2004. The court rescheduled the hearing to November 23, 2004.

The respondent failed to serve the motion for judgment on OHP by October 14, 2004.

In November 2004, OHP contacted the respondent by fax and mail, requesting the overdue motion for judgment. OHP warned the respondent that it might file a motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute. The respondent did not reply, and he did not file the motion for judgment.

In November 2004, OHP filed a motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute. The respondent faxed OHP an opposition to defendantís motion to dismiss and requested another date for the hearing.

The court granted the respondentís request for an extension and required the respondent to file the motion for judgment by November 30, 2004. The respondent failed to file the motion for judgment. In December 2004, OHP, not having received the motion from the respondent, filed a motion to dismiss. This motion was duly served on the respondent. On December 13, 2004, the court granted OHPís motion to dismiss.

By letter dated January 14, 2005, the company president sent the respondent a letter enclosing a bank check in the amount of $3,000 in payment of fees and as an advance. The respondent received the letter and check, but did not open the letter or deposit the check to a bank account.

Between January and March 2005, the company president attempted on numerous occasions, both by telephone and in writing, to contact the respondent regarding the status of the case. The respondent did not reply and never informed the company president that the appeal had been dismissed.

On March 29, 2005, the company president learned that the court had dismissed the appeal for failure to prosecute. By certified letter to the respondent dated April 10, 2005, the company president requested an immediate response as to whether there was any mechanism to reinstate his appeal. The respondent received the letter, but he did not respond.

On July 12, 2005, the company president filed a request for investigation with the Office of Bar Counsel. The respondent thereafter returned the uncashed bank check for $3,000.

The respondentís conduct in failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness on the clientís appeal, resulting in the dismissal of the action, violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.1 and 1.3. The respondentís failure to maintain reasonable contact with the client, keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the case, promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, or to explain the matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4 (a) and (b). The respondentís failure to promptly return the clientís check which included an advance on future legal fees and a portion of unearned fees violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.16 (d).

In mitigation, during the course of the representation, the respondent was suffering from an anxiety disorder. The respondent is currently receiving professional treatment.

The matter came before the Board on a stipulation of facts and a joint recommendation for discipline by public reprimand. The Board of Bar Overseers voted to adopt the partiesí recommendation and imposed a public reprimand conditioned on attendance at a CLE course designated by bar counsel.

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



BBO/OBC Privacy Policy. Please direct all questions to webmaster@massbbo.org.
© 2006. Board of Bar Overseers. Office of Bar Counsel. All rights reserved.