Matter of Russell, No. M-46-80.

Docket NºNo. M-46-80.
Citation424 A.2d 1087
Case DateDecember 16, 1980
CourtCourt of Appeals of Columbia District

Page 1087

424 A.2d 1087
In the Matter of Turner RUSSELL, a Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
No. M-46-80.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Submitted June 1, 1980.
Decided December 16, 1980.

No appearance was entered on behalf of respondent Russell.

Fred Grabowsky, Bar Counsel, filed the Report and Recommendations of the Board on Professional Responsibility.

Before MACK, FERREN and PRYOR, Associate Judges.

PER CURIAM:


This disciplinary matter is before the court on a petition of the Board on Professional Responsibility (Board) recommending suspension of respondent from the practice of law for six months. We accept the Board's findings of fact and adopt the recommended disposition.

I.
HEARING COMMITTEE

Bar Counsel filed a petition instituting formal disciplinary proceedings against respondent on August 7, 1979. The Hearing Committee conducted a hearing on October 30, 1979, and filed its Report with the Board on December 28, 1979.

The facts are as follows: Complainant, Mary T. Clark, sprained her ankle in a Hot Shoppe parking lot in October, 1974. She asked respondent, a coworker whom she saw daily, to help her recover damages for the injury. She heard nothing from respondent for over two years. During the course of the next year, complainant repeatedly inquired about the progress of her case. Respondent would answer that negotiations were on-going. Finally, complainant demanded the return of her file, which respondent still has not delivered to her. No fee was ever paid.

After formal proceedings were instituted, Bar Counsel sent respondent three letters and two subpoenas by regular and certified mail, none of which reached him. Either the address or his name, or both, were incorrect. Respondent learned that disciplinary proceedings were pending when he received a telephone call eight months after they began.

Bar Counsel alleged that respondent's conduct violated DR 7-101(A)(1), (2) and (3)1 by failing to take any substantive action on behalf of his client, DR 9-102(B)(4)2

Page 1088

by failing to deliver his client's file after repeated requests, and DR 1-102(A)(5)3 by failing to respond to Bar Counsel's inquiries.

Respondent, appearing pro se, asserted in his defense that no attorney/client relationship was ever established — that he was helping complainant as a friend by making a few phone calls. He further asserted that the file he failed to return consisted solely of a loss of wages statement. To the last charge of failing to cooperate with Bar Counsel, respondent testified that he was unaware of the proceeding.

The Hearing Committee found violations of each of the above-stated Disciplinary Rules. It found that an attorney/client relationship had been established, stating that, "the Committee feels that an attorney/client relationship existed in this matter and that such is not dependent upon the existence of a written agreement or contract." Hearing Committee Report, at 4. The Committee also found that no matter how meager, complainant was entitled to the immediate return of her file upon request. Finally, the Hearing Committee determined there was a "technical" violation of DR 1-102(A)(5) by failing to respond to Bar...

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25 practice notes
  • 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
    ...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 Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C. 1979). Misconduct also may arise from the failure to abide by agreements made with Bar Counse......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...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 Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C. 1979). Misconduct also may arise from the failure to abide by agreements made with Bar Counse......
  • In re Jones, No. 87-252.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • December 2, 1987
    ...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 Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C. 1979). But none of the respondents in those cases offered any challenge, constitutional or ot......
  • Matter of Robertson, No. 91-SP-730.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • July 7, 1992
    ...suspension); In re Knox, 441 A.2d 265, 268 (D.C.1982) (neglect of legal matter warrants three-month suspension); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087, 1088 (D.C.1980) (serious neglect of client's case coupled with failure to cooperate with Bar Counsel warrants six-month III. D.C.Bar R. XI, § 3(b) e......
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23 cases
  • In re Jones, No. 87-252.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • December 2, 1987
    ...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 Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C. 1979). But none of the respondents in those cases offered any challenge, constitutional or ot......
  • Matter of Robertson, No. 91-SP-730.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • July 7, 1992
    ...suspension); In re Knox, 441 A.2d 265, 268 (D.C.1982) (neglect of legal matter warrants three-month suspension); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087, 1088 (D.C.1980) (serious neglect of client's case coupled with failure to cooperate with Bar Counsel warrants six-month III. D.C.Bar R. XI, § 3(b) e......
  • In re Roundtree, No. M-110-82.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • September 19, 1983
    ...1981) (six-month suspension for two counts of neglect and for attempt by attorney to exonerate himself from wrongdoing); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C.1980) (six-month suspension for neglect of a legal matter, plus failure to cooperate with Bar Substantially longer suspensions have been......
  • In re Delate, No. 91-519.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • October 8, 1991
    ...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 instant case, Bar Counsel sent Respondent numerous letters explaining the allegation......
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