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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Public Reprimand No. 2008-1


Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board January 22, 2008.


The respondent, Frank Campbell, Esq., was admitted to the Bar of the Commonwealth on June 5, 1978. He received a public reprimand as a result of his conduct in concluding the guardianship of an elderly incapacitated ward.

The respondent served as guardian for the ward from February of 1998 until the ward’s death in October of 2001. In April of 2002, the named executor of the ward’s estate, through counsel, filed a petition with the probate court requesting that the respondent be ordered to render an account of the ward’s estate in the guardianship matter. The court ordered the respondent to file an account by June 11, 2002. The respondent failed to render an account of the ward’s estate by that date.

The executor filed a complaint for contempt against the respondent, which was heard on July 1, 2002. The respondent filed an inventory and initial account. The court then ordered the respondent to file a second account covering the remaining time period by July 23, 2002. The respondent failed to fully comply with this and a subsequent order of the court, and did not file complete accountings until August 27, 2002. After a hearing on that date, the court issued a final judgment finding the respondent guilty of contempt for failure to render accounts in a timely manner. The court ordered the respondent to pay the executor’s attorney’s fees and costs.

The respondent failed to pay the attorney’s fees and costs, and the executor filed a petition for contempt in March of 2003. After a hearing on May 5, 2003, the court adjudged the respondent in contempt and fixed the amount of the attorney’s fees due at $3,700. The respondent made no payments. After a further hearing on July 11, 2003, the court adjudged the respondent guilty of contempt, sentenced the respondent to ten days in the house of correction, suspended the sentence until July 18, 2003, and ordered the respondent to pay $3,700. in attorney’s fees by that date. On July 15, 2003, the respondent paid the $3,700. in attorney’s fees as ordered by the court.

In the fall of 2002, the executor filed objections to the respondent’s guardianship accounts. After a hearing in June of 2004, the court disallowed $3841.27 in payments on behalf of the ward and ordered the respondent to pay that amount to the ward’s estate within thirty days. The respondent did not pay the judgment until December 6, 2007.

By knowingly violating the orders of the probate court and engaging in contempt of court, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 3.4 (c) and 8.4 (d) and (h).

In mitigation, at the time of the events at issue, the respondent suffered from serious undiagnosed depression and stress that contributed to his misconduct. He is now receiving counseling.

The matter came before the Board of Bar Overseers on a stipulation of facts and a joint recommendation that the respondent receive a public reprimand, conditioned upon the respondent’s participation in treatment for one year for his depression and stress. The Board of Bar Overseers accepted the parties’ recommendation and imposed a public reprimand on January 14, 2008.

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

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