Monday, December 11, 2006

Attorney Grievance Commission v. Baker (Ct. of Appeals)

Filed December 11, 2006--Opinion by Chief Judge Robert M. Bell

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland entered a monetary sanction against Respondent for his failure to comply with orders of discovery in a a civil case, said failures resulting in the entry of summary judgment against Respondent's client. Respondent failed to pay the monetary sanction or to explain that failure, was ordered to show cause for such failure and, upon his failure to appear, was held in contempt and subsequently arrested. A disciplinary action was instituted in the Disciplinary Committee of the U.S. District Court and Respondent was disbarred by the U.S. District Court.

Upon receiving notice of the federal disbarment, the Attorney Grievance Commission filed reciprocal disciplinary charges against Respondent for violating the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct, and those charges were consolidated with two unrelated disciplinary cases against Respondent in this State relating, respectively, to Respondent's failure to file or preserve a timely claim for professional negligence against a nursing home and Respondent's failure to proceed with the filing of an expungement petition, in both such cases failing to communicate with his clients as well. Respondent failed to cooperate with Bar Counsel regarding its investigation of these complaints.

The Court of Appeals upheld the findings and rulings of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County regarding Maryland's rules on reciprocal discipline and regarding the facts as proven, and found violations of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (Communication), 1.16 (Declining or terminating representation) and 8.1 (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters). For these violations and for the aggravating factor of the federal disbarment, the Court of Appeals disbarred Respondent.

The full opinion is available in WordPerfect and PDF.

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