• Statewide Grievance Committee
  • Statewide Grievance Committee
  • 11-1013
  • Oct 12 2012 (Date Decided)
  • Fraser, Esq., Cousineau, Esq., and Castillo

A lawyer who allegedly fails to promptly distribute the proceeds of a verdict or settlement to a medical provider, after the lawyer provides a letter of protection, can violate Rules 1.3 and 1.15(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The respondent attorney, Thomas Mitchell-Hoffler, represented a client in a personal-injury case. Allegedly, Attorney Mitchell-Hoffler provided a company that furnished medical care to the client with a letter of protection that indicated that the respondent attorney would pay the company from the proceeds of any verdict or settlement. The company filed a grievance and alleged that the respondent attorney did not pay the company, after the client's matter settled in March 2009. In response, the respondent attorney paid the company in February 2012. The Statewide Grievance Committee found, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent attorney was not diligent, in violation of Rule 1.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and failed to protect the property of clients or third persons, in violation of Rule 1.15(b). "The Respondent," wrote the Statewide Grievance Committee, "should have remitted the funds owed to the Complainant within a reasonable time." The Statewide Grievance Committee reprimanded the respondent attorney.