In the Matter of Haupt, No. M-72('81).

Docket NºNo. M-72('81).
Citation444 A.2d 317
Case DateMarch 31, 1982
CourtCourt of Appeals of Columbia District

Page 317

444 A.2d 317
In the Matter of Bruce W. HAUPT, a Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
No. M-72('81).
District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
March 31, 1982.

Bruce W. Haupt, pro se.

Joseph L. Mayer, Executive Atty., Washington, D. C., filed the Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility.

Before NEWMAN, Chief Judge, and KELLY, KERN, NEBEKER, MACK, FERREN, PRYOR and BELSON, Associate Judges.

PER CURIAM:


This matter is before the court on the Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility. The Board found, after consideration of the report of a hearing committee involving 13 separate matters, that respondent, Bruce W. Haupt, has demonstrated a pattern of neglect and willful disregard of ethical and legal duties in violation of DR [Disciplinary Rule] 6-101(a)(3), DR 7-101(A)(1), DR 7-101(A)(2), DR 5-101(A), DR 2-106(A), DR 7-106(C)(6), DR 2-110(A)(2), DR 9-102(B)(4), DR 1-101(A)(4), and DR 1-102(A)(5). The Board recommends that respondent be disbarred and that restitution be made to each of the complainants demonstrating financial injury which was caused by his misconduct. The Board also recommends that the disbarment run consecutively with respondent's current three-year period of suspension, which was imposed by this court on October 17, 1980. In re Haupt, D.C.App., 422 A.2d 768 (1980).*

D.C.App. R. XI, § 7(3), provides in pertinent part:

[T]he Court shall accept the findings of fact made by the Board unless they are unsupported by substantial evidence of record, and shall adopt the recommended disposition of the Board unless to do so would foster a tendency toward inconsistent dispositions for comparable conduct or otherwise would be unwarranted.

We conclude that the findings of fact made by the Board are supported by substantial evidence of record. We also conclude that the recommendation of disbarment should be adopted. We reject, however, the Board's recommendation that the disbarment run consecutively to the present three-year suspension. We are obliged to follow Rule XI, § 19(3), of the Rules of the Court Governing the Bar of the District of Columbia, which provides that "orders imposing disbarment . . . shall be effective 30 days after entry." We also conclude, considering the totality of the circumstances, that the question of ordering restitution is better left to a separate civil proceeding, rather than resolving it in a disbarment case such as this. Accordingly, it is

ORDERED that Bruce W. Haupt be, and he hereby is, disbarred effective 30 days from the date of this opinion.

 BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL
                 RESPONSIBILITY
                 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
                 COURT OF APPEALS
                 152-79 265-79
                 160-79 270-79
                 165-79 271-79
                 226-78 288-79
                

Page 318

 227-79 289-79
                 234-79 329-79
                 264-79 366-79
                 377-79
                 IN THE MATTER OF:
                 BRUCE W. HAUPT, ESQUIRE
                 RESPONDENT
                
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Respondent was charged with a pattern of neglect and willful disregard of ethical and legal duties to numerous clients in violation of D.R. 6-101(A)(3), D.R. 7-101(A)(1) and D.R. 7-101(A)(2) and other disciplinary rules, and with repeatedly failing to respond to requests of Bar Counsel for information in violation of D.R. 1-102(A)(5). Hearing Committee Number Three conducted four hearings on March 20, April 12, April 30, and May 7, 1980. Twelve counts based on complaints of individual clients and one count stemming from respondent's conviction for criminal contempt in United States District Court were heard. The Hearing Committee, considering only the evidence presented at the four hearings, found that the evidence presented was sufficient and convincing beyond a reasonable doubt by itself to support a recommendation that respondent be disbarred from the practice of law. The Hearing Committee found no mitigating circumstances, and did not consider the prior discipline of the Respondent. The Respondent has received prior discipline in the District of Columbia of a suspension for 30 days based on reciprocal discipline, an informal admonition, and a suspension for three years based on similar conduct as charged in these thirteen counts.1

The Respondent did not appeal the Hearing Committee's findings. The Board on Professional Responsibility reviewed the Hearing Committee's findings and the record in this consolidated case.

The Board recommends that Respondent be disbarred, and that the Court order Respondent to make restitution to each of the complainants who has demonstrated financial injury caused by the Respondent. Moreover, the Board further recommends that the disbarment sanction not run concurrently with the present three year suspension, but that the sanctions run consecutively.

A. The Evidence2

Count I. On December 4 and 5, 1978, Mrs. Henrietta Supko paid respondent $525 to file an amendment, custody and support action. She later paid respondent $110 for costs. Respondent filed the action and obtained summonses, but the summonses were not served.

On October 22, 1979, and November 5, 1979, approximately eleven months later, Bar Counsel sent written communications to respondent directing him to provide information in writing concerning the Supko case. Respondent failed to supply information pursuant to those requests.

Almost fourteen months after being retained by Mrs. Supko, respondent obtained execution of service in February, 1980, after being telephoned on the matter by Deputy Bar Counsel.

Several weeks later, respondent failed to appear at the hearing attended by the parties. He called, indicated that he had car trouble, and that he would be late. Respondent failed to arrive and has provided no explanation for his absence. The Master, without request by respondent, continued the case. As of the date of the hearings by the Hearing Committee, however, respondent had made no effort to reschedule Mrs. Supko's case.

Respondent was admitted to practice law in Maryland and in the District of Columbia, but not in Virginia, where the Supko family has long resided. Respondent filed

Page 319

the Supko action in Maryland. There is a substantial legal question whether Maryland could have provided the desired order for relief.

Mrs. Supko encountered great difficulty in contacting respondent throughout the seventeen month history of her case. During this period respondent even moved his office without informing Mrs. Supko.

Count II. On December 14, 1979, Judge Harold H. Greene of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia found respondent guilty of four counts of criminal contempt arising from respondent's failure to appear on behalf of a client in Bankruptcy Court in July and August, 1979. Respondent failed without good cause to provide specific answers to a questionnaire issued by the Bankruptcy Judge and failed to repay a $450 fee as ordered.

On January 7 and 24, 1980, Bar Counsel sent written communications to respondent directing him to furnish information in writing on this matter. Respondent has failed to submit information in response to those communications.

Count III. On August 6, 1979, Mr. and Mrs. Milton Gaines retained respondent to secure permanent resident status for Mrs. Gaines, an alien. The Gaineses later paid respondent $500. Mrs. Gaines filled out necessary Immigration and Naturalization Service forms on September 4, 1979, but did not execute them because respondent indicated he wished to review them. After several weeks, Mrs. Gaines began telephoning respondent's office several times each day. If the phone was answered, she was told that respondent would call back, but he failed to call.

On November 1 and 15, 1979, Bar Counsel sent written communications to respondent directing him to provide information about the matter. Respondent failed to provide information in response to those requests.

On November 2, respondent answered Mrs. Gaines' call and made an appointment for November 5 or 7, at 3 p. m. Respondent instructed Mrs. Gaines to inform Bar Counsel that her complaint had been resolved. Respondent failed to keep the appointment because of an emergency court matter in Maryland. The Gaineses left a note terminating respondent's employment and requesting a return of their fee. Respondent testified that "unfortunately they were a bit late that day." When the Gaineses testified that, in fact they were 10 minutes early, respondent testified that his office had mixed up the time for the appointment. Respondent has not contacted the Gaineses during the over six months that passed after the appointment to this Committee's last hearing. He has taken no action on behalf of Mrs. Gaines. He has not returned any portion of the $500 fee.

Count IV. On October 16, 1978, Mr. Walter Howie retained respondent to represent him in a child support matter and bring a divorce action. Respondent was paid fees totalling $425. Respondent failed to appear at the first two dates for court consideration of the support case. Respondent filed the divorce action in June, 1979, but took no steps to serve the defendant. The divorce action was dismissed for failure to join issue within six (6) months. Respondent has not moved to reinstate the action or to commence another one, nor has he returned the $225 divorce action fee. Mr. Howie visited respondent's office, sent respondent a letter, and repeatedly phoned respondent, but received no response.

By undated letter and by letter dated 7 January 1980, Bar Counsel directed respondent to provide information in writing on the matter. Respondent failed to provide information in response to those reports.

Count V. On February 28, 1979, Ms. Leona Shaw retained respondent to bring a support action. She ultimately paid respondent $310 as a fee. She told respondent that prompt action was important because the father, an Air Force employee, might arrange an assignment to another geographic area. Ms. Shaw had to borrow money at 31% to pay...

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24 practice notes
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/foia/oed/disc/D02.pdf (Comm'r Pat 1997); In re Cope, 455 A.2d 1357 (D.C. 1983); In re Haupt, 444 A.2d 317 (D.C. 1982); In re Lieber, 442 A.2d 153 (D.C. 1982); In re Whitlock, 441 A.2d 989 (D.C. 1982); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C. 1980); In re W......
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/foia/oed/disc/D02.pdf (Comm'r Pat 1997); In re Cope, 455 A.2d 1357 (D.C. 1983); In re Haupt, 444 A.2d 317 (D.C. 1982); In re Lieber, 442 A.2d 153 (D.C. 1982); In re Whitlock, 441 A.2d 989 (D.C. 1982); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C. 1980); In re W......
  • In re Artis, Bar Registration No. 181396
    • United States
    • September 8, 2005
    ...to constitutional limitations." See In re Lenoir, 585 A.2d 771, 780 (D.C.1991); In re Jones, 521 A.2d 1119 (D.C.1986); Haupt, supra, 444 A.2d at 317. The Board has not concluded otherwise; it has simply held that some of Bar Counsel's broad questions exceeded the scope of written inquiries ......
  • In re Jones, No. 87-252.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • December 2, 1987
    ...sanctions under DR 1-102(A)(5) for failure to respond to Bar Counsel's inquiries. In re Jones, 521 A.2d 1119 (D.C. 1986); In re Haupt, 444 A.2d 317 (D.C. 1982); In re Lieber, 442 A.2d 153 (D.C. 1982); In re Whitlock, 441 A.2d 989 (D.C. 1982); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C. 1980); In re ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
22 cases
  • In re Artis, Bar Registration No. 181396
    • United States
    • September 8, 2005
    ...to constitutional limitations." See In re Lenoir, 585 A.2d 771, 780 (D.C.1991); In re Jones, 521 A.2d 1119 (D.C.1986); Haupt, supra, 444 A.2d at 317. The Board has not concluded otherwise; it has simply held that some of Bar Counsel's broad questions exceeded the scope of written inquiries ......
  • In re Jones, No. 87-252.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • December 2, 1987
    ...sanctions under DR 1-102(A)(5) for failure to respond to Bar Counsel's inquiries. In re Jones, 521 A.2d 1119 (D.C. 1986); In re Haupt, 444 A.2d 317 (D.C. 1982); In re Lieber, 442 A.2d 153 (D.C. 1982); In re Whitlock, 441 A.2d 989 (D.C. 1982); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C. 1980); In re ......
  • Matter of Robertson, No. 91-SP-730.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • July 7, 1992
    ...is an inappropriate forum for determining issues relevant to a client's damages resulting from attorney malpractice. See In re Haupt, 444 A.2d 317, 317 (D.C.1982); In re Anderson, supra (Board report attached as appendix) ("Bar disciplinary system is not well suited to assessing damages for......
  • In re Delate, No. 91-519.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • October 8, 1991
    ...of Disciplinary Rule 1-102(A)(5)." In re Jones, 521 A.2d 1119, 1121 (D.C.1986); In re Whitlock, 441 A.2d 989 (D.C.1982); In re Haupt, 444 A.2d 317 (D.C.1982); In re Lieber, 442 A.2d 153 (D.C.1982); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C.1980); In re Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C.1979). In the inst......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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