Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Chancey, 062520 PASCDC, 2647-3

Docket Nº:2647 Disciplinary Docket 3, 153 DB 2019
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:OFFICE OF DISCIPLINARY COUNSEL, Petitioner v. ASHER BROOKS CHANCEY, Respondent
Case Date:June 25, 2020
Court:Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
 
FREE EXCERPT

OFFICE OF DISCIPLINARY COUNSEL, Petitioner

v.

ASHER BROOKS CHANCEY, Respondent

No. 2647 Disciplinary Docket No. 3

No. 153 DB 2019

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

June 25, 2020

Attorney Registration No. 205029 (Philadelphia)

ORDER

PER CURIAM

AND NOW, this 25th day of June, 2020, upon consideration of the Recommendation of the Three-Member Panel of the Disciplinary Board, the Joint Petition in Support of Discipline on Consent is granted, and Asher Brooks Chancey is suspended on consent from the Bar of this Commonwealth for a period of three years, retroactive to September 9, 2019. Respondent shall comply with all the provisions of Pa.R.D.E. 217 and pay costs to the Disciplinary Board. See Pa.R.D.E. 208(g).

JOINT PETITION IN SUPPORT OF DISCIPLINE ON CONSENT UNDER RULE 215(d), Pa.R.D.E.

Petitioner, Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC"), by Thomas J. Farrell, Esquire, Chief Disciplinary Counsel, and by Richard Hernandez, Esquire, Disciplinary Counsel, and Respondent, Asher Brooks Chancey, who is represented by Robert S. Tintner, Esquire, file this Joint Petition In Support of Discipline On Consent Under Rule 215(d) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement ("the Joint Petition") and respectfully represent that: 1. Petitioner, whose principal office is located at Pennsylvania Judicial Center, Suite 2700, 601 Commonwealth Avenue, P.O. Box 62485, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is invested, pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Disciplinary Enforcement ("Pa.R.D.E.") 207, with the power and duty to investigate all matters involving alleged misconduct of an attorney admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to prosecute all disciplinary proceedings brought in accordance with the various provisions of said Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement.

2. Respondent, Asher Brooks Chancey, was born in 1977, was admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth on June 1, 2007, and resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

3. Pursuant to Pa.R.D.E. 201(a)(1) and (3), Respondent is subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court.

4. By Order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania dated September 9, 2019, effective October 9, 2019, Respondent was placed on temporary suspension pursuant to Pa.R.D.E. 214(f)("the temporary suspension Order") based on the filing of a Joint Petition to Temporarily Suspend an Attorney.

5. Petitioner commenced an investigation of Respondent after Respondent, through his counsel, Robert S. Tintner, Esquire, self-reported to Petitioner professional misconduct engaged in by Respondent while Respondent was a partner at Goldberg Segalla, LLP; this complaint was docketed at No. Cl-18-454.

6. In connection with ODC File No. Cl-18-454, Respondent received a Request for Statement of Respondent's Position (Form DB-7) dated November 19, 2019.

7. In the DB-7 letter, Petitioner alleged that Respondent engaged in misconduct in thirteen client matters by having: neglected ten matters; settled seven civil cases without obtaining the consent of his clients; failed to communicate with his clients concerning developments in the clients' civil cases in thirteen matters; and made misrepresentations in five matters.

8. By letter dated January 8, 2020, Respondent submitted a counseled response to the DB-7 letter.

9. Respondent has agreed to enter into a joint recommendation for consent discipline that encompasses the allegations of misconduct raised in the open complaint file.

SPECIFIC FACTUAL ADMISSIONS AMD RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT VIOLATED

10. Respondent stipulates that the factual allegations set forth below are true and correct and that he violated the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct as set forth herein.

CHARGES

11. At all times relevant hereto, Respondent was a partner at Goldberg Segalla, LLP ("the firm"), with a registered office at 1700 Market Street, Suite 1418, Philadelphia, PA 19103. a. On May 23, 2018, the firm terminated Respondent's employment.

12. At all times relevant hereto, one of the clients of the firm was Knight Insurance Group ("Knight").

I-

Zabeer Hussain Shah Matter

13. On February 5, 2014, Zabeer Hussain Shah, an employee of Hubb Group, Inc. ("Hubb"), was involved in an automobile accident.

14. Mr. Steven Callaghan was also involved in the automobile accident and retained counsel to represent him for any claims he had arising from the automobile accident.

15. In 2014, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mr. Callaghan in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, said lawsuit captioned Steven Callaghan v. Zabeer Hussain Shah et al., docket number MID-L-3527-14 ("the Shah lawsuit").

16. Mr. Shah and Hubb were insured by Knight.

17. The firm assigned Respondent to represent Mr. Shah and Hubb Group, Inc., in the Shah lawsuit on behalf of Knight.

18. Sometime prior to March 28, 2018, Respondent entered into an agreement with Nicholas J. Leonardis, Esquire, counsel for Mr. Callaghan, to settle the Shah lawsuit for $1, 500, 000.00.

19. Respondent failed to obtain authorization from Knight to settle the Shah lawsuit for $1, 500, 000.00.

20. Respondent failed to advise Knight that he had agreed to settle the Shah lawsuit for $1, 500, 000.00.

21. Respondent misrepresented to Mr. Leonardis that he was authorized to settle the Shah lawsuit for $1, 500, 000.00.

22. Under cover of a letter dated March 28, 2018, Mr. Leonardis forwarded to Respondent, inter alia, an executed Release.

23. On May 17, 2018, a member of Mr. Leonardis' staff contacted Respondent regarding the status of the settlement monies and Respondent stated that the settlement check was delayed and the check would be forwarded to Mr. Leonardis' office during the week of May 21, 2018.

24. Respondent misrepresented to Mr. Leonardis' employee that the settlement check was delayed and the check would be forwarded to Mr. Leonardis' office during the week of May 21, 2018.

25. On May 22, 2018, Mr. Leonardis filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement.

26. By Order dated June 22, 2018, Judge Patrick J. Bradshaw granted the Motion to Enforce Settlement, and directed that the defendants were to forward to Mr. Callaghan's counsel a $1, 500, 000.00 settlement check, with applicable interest.

27. Knight paid the settlement funds to Mr. Callaghan.

28. Knight has filed a claim with the firm's professional liability insurer for Respondent's mishandling of the Shah lawsuit.

II.

Carcol Enterprises, LLC Matter

29. On May 16, 2015, Carlos Salazar, who was driving a vehicle owned by Carcol Enterprises, LLC {"Carcol"), was involved in an automobile accident.

30. Ms. Kettlewell Vargas and Ms. Tamir Mashhood were involved in the accident and retained counsel to represent them for any claims they had arising from the accident.

31. In 2015, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ms. Vargas in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, said case captioned Kettlewell Vargas and Cristhian Catano v. Carcol et al. v. GEICO Insurance Company, docket number ESX-L-4021-15 ("the first Carcol lawsuit").

32. In 2016, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ms. Mashhood in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, said case captioned Tamir Mashhood v. Carcol Enterprises et al., docket number ESX-L-2045-16 ("the second Carcol lawsuit").

33. Mr. Salazar and Carcol were insured by Knight.

34. The firm assigned Respondent to represent Mr. Salazar and Carcol in the first and second Carcol lawsuits on behalf of Knight .

35. The first and second Carcol lawsuits were consolidated.

36. On January 31, 2018, an arbitration hearing was held in the first and second Carcol lawsuits, which resulted in an award being entered for Ms. Vargas in the amount of $2, 250, 000.00.

37. Respondent failed to advise Knight of the date, time and location of the arbitration hearing.

38. Respondent failed to advise Knight that Ms. Vargas was awarded $2, 250, 000.00 at the arbitration hearing.

39. On February 22, 2018, Ms. Mashhood and Ms. Keytora Love, who were co-Defendants in the first Carcol lawsuit, filed a Request for a Trial De Novo.

40. Respondent failed to inform Knight that a Request for a Trial De Novo had been filed.

41. On May 15, 2018, Respondent had a telephone conversation with Leeor Jerushalmy, Esquire, counsel for Ms. Vargas, during which conversation Mr. Jerushalmy told Respondent that if Knight did not tender its policy limit of $1, 500, 000.00 by 1:00 p.m. on May 17, 2018, Ms. Vargas would cease to engage in settlement discussions, would seek to hold Knight responsible for any excess verdict at trial, and would seek an Offer To Take Judgment penalties.

42. By email dated May 16, 2018, sent by Mr. Jerushalmy to Respondent, Mr. Jerushalmy, inter alia, memorialized what was conveyed to Respondent during the telephone conversation of the previous day.

43. Respondent failed to advise Knight about the May 15, 2018 telephone conversation or the May 16, 2018 email.

44. On May 17, 2018, Respondent: a. called Mr. Jerushalmy;

b. advised Mr. Jerushalmy that Respondent had authority to settle the first and second Carcol lawsuits for $1, 500, 000.00;

c. offered to settle the first and second Carcol lawsuits for $1, 500, 000.00, on the condition that the settlement was for both Ms. Vargas and Ms. Mashhood; and

d. sent an email to Mr. Jerushalmy in which Respondent, inter alia, confirmed the settlement of the first and second Carcol lawsuits for $1, 500, 000.00.

45. Respondent failed to obtain authorization from Knight to settle the first and second Carcol lawsuits for $1, 500, 000.00.

46. Respondent failed to advise Knight that he had agreed to settle the first and second Carcol...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP