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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. PR 99-14



In August of 1993, the respondent agreed to represent an individual in the purchase of all three units of a residential condominium. Prior to the closing, the respondent arranged for another attorney, who was a title examiner and title insurance agent, to perform a title search and provide a title insurance policy. Prior to the closing, the title examiner provided the respondent with a title insurance commitment which listed a number of conditions on the issuance of a title policy.

At the closing in October of 1993, the respondent, who acted as settlement agent because there was no mortgage financing, deposited the closing proceeds to a client escrow account that was not an IOLTA account. The respondent promptly paid all required disbursements except the title insurance premium and the title examiner’s fee, which were not paid until August of 1994. There was no misuse of these funds before payment to the title examiner. The respondent did not withdraw his fee from the account. Although the respondent took all action necessary to comply with the conditions on the title insurance commitment, he did not inform the title examiner that the conditions were met or request the issuance of a title policy. As a result, his client did not receive a title insurance policy.

The respondent failed to cooperate with Bar Counsel’s investigation of the real estate matter, necessitating the issuance of two subpoenas. The respondent also failed to cooperate with Bar Counsel’s investigation of another grievance (which did not result in substantive charges), necessitating the issuance of another subpoena. On December 7, 1998, Bar Counsel filed a Petition For Discipline to which the respondent did not respond in a timely manner.

On June 23, 1999, the respondent entered into a stipulation with Bar Counsel acknowledging that his conduct in the real estate matter violated Canon Six, Disciplinary Rule 6-101(A)(3), Canon Seven, Disciplinary Rules 7-101(A)(1), (2) and (3), and Canon Nine, Disciplinary Rules 9-102(A), (B)(4) and (C), and that his failures to cooperate with the bar disciplinary proceedings violated Canon One, Disciplinary Rules 1-102(A)(5) and (6), Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(d), (g) and (h), Section 3.15(c) of the Rules of the Board of Bar Overseers, and S.J.C. Rule 4:01, §§ 3 and 8(3). The respondent obtained a title insurance policy for his client and agreed to maintain and use a post office box for business mail. The respondent also agreed to enter into a peer review agreement for two years. On October 18, 1999, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to accept the stipulation of the parties and to administer a public reprimand to the respondent.

1 Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board on January 10, 2000.

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