Brief Fact Summary. Respondent is an attorney who reached a settlement agreement with his client’s prior attorney for his misappropriation of his client’s funds rather than reporting him to the state bar association. Respondent is now being considered for disciplinary action for failing to inform the bar of this misconduct.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. An attorney’s duty to report the misconduct of another member of the bar.
The important factors in determining whether a particular transaction is fair include a showing by the fiduciary (1) that he has made a free and frank disclosure of all the relevant information which he had, (2) that the consideration was adequate, and (3) that the principal had competent and independent advice before completing the transaction.View Full Point of Law
Issue. May a lawyer be disclipined solely for failing to report the misconduct of another lawyer?
Held. Yes. Respondent’s choice to settle rather than report Casey’s misconduct was “ill-advised” and he should be held responsible for it. One-year suspension.
Discussion. This is the first case in which a lawyer was disciplined solely for failing to report the misconduct of another attorney. While this may seem unusual enough on its face, it is further complicated by the fact that the settlement was actually the best thing for his client-and was actually instigated by her request-and that reporting might have actually interfered with her ability to recover from Casey.