STATEWIDE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE

Angel Calle, Complainant vs. Haiman Long Clein, Respondent

Grievance Complaint #95-0519

PROPOSED DECISION

Pursuant to Practice Book '27J, the undersigned, duly-appointed reviewing committee of the Statewide Grievance Committee, conducted a hearing at the Superior Court, 95 Washington Street, Hartford, Connecticut on January 8, 1997. The hearing addressed the record of the complaint filed on December 26, 1995 and the probable cause determination filed by the Middlesex Judicial District Grievance Panel on February 7, 1996, finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent violated Rules 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.15, 1.16 and 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Notice of the hearing was mailed to the Complainant and to the Respondent on November 27, 1996. The Complainant appeared and gave testimony. The Respondent did not appear. This reviewing committee also heard the testimony of Lisa Melo.

This reviewing committee finds the following facts by clear and convincing evidence:

On October 27, 1995, the Complainant paid the Respondent an initial retainer of $1,000.00 for representation regarding a dissolution of marriage action. The Respondent did not provide the Complainant with a written fee agreement. Subsequently, the Respondent informed the Complainant that he filed the matter in New London and would contact the Complainant upon receipt of a court date for the divorce. Thereafter, the Complainant learned from the New London Court's clerk's office that no divorce action was filed.

The reviewing committee also considered the following evidence:

Lisa Melo testified that the Respondent indicated that the matter was filed in court.

This reviewing committee finds the following violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct by clear and convincing evidence:

The Respondent failed to exercise reasonable diligence and abide by the Complainant's decision regarding the objective of the representation in violation of Rules 1.3 and 1.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct by failing to file the divorce action. The Respondent failed to keep the Complainant reasonably informed about the status of the case and misrepresented the status of the matter in violation of Rules 1.4 and 8.4(c) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent accepted a $1,000.00 retainer and did not provide the Complainant with a written fee agreement in violation of Rule 1.5(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent effectively terminated his representation of the Complainant without providing reasonable notice to the Complainant or refunding any unearned portion of the fee in violation of Rules 1.15 and 1.16 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Since we conclude that the Respondent violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and in consideration of the seriousness of the misconduct, we recommend that the Statewide Grievance Committee file a presentment against the Respondent with the Superior Court for the imposition of whatever discipline the court deems appropriate.

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Attorney David A. Curry

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Attorney Robert J. Kor

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Ms. Mary Ellen Smith