Haven v. Clark
An attorney who allegedly suffers from loss of office support staff, ignores a court subpoena, and is brought to court as a result of a capias, engages in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(4) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. In November 2009, the Shelton Probate Court appointed the respondent attorney, Peter Clark, to work as the fiduciary of the estate of the complainants' father. Allegedly, the respondent attorney did not immediately pay the estate's bills, make disbursements or appear at hearings scheduled on Dec. 1, 2010, Jan. 11, March 16 and March 23, 2011, in part because he experienced scheduling difficulties or problems with his motor vehicle. On March 23, the Probate Court judge issued a capias, and the marshal brought the respondent to court. The Probate Court ordered the respondent to immediately disburse $241,130 to one of the complainants. The respondent made the final disbursements on March 31, 2011, and the estate was closed. Previously, the respondent has been reprimanded and presented to the Superior Court for discipline. The respondent testified that he suffered from the loss of office staff support and that he apologized to the complainants and charged them reduced fees. The Statewide Grievance Committee found, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent attorney failed to attend court hearings and to make timely disbursements, and was not competent and diligent, in violation of Rules 1.1 and 1.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. "The Respondent clearly demonstrated a lack of competence and a lack of diligence in his handling of the estate, most notably in his frequent failure to appear for court hearings and his failure to make timely disbursements," wrote the Statewide Grievance Committee. The respondent engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(4), when he ignored a Probate Court subpoena and was brought to court as a result of a capias. The Statewide Grievance Committee ordered the respondent's presentment to Superior Court for discipline.