Celio Warren Young Breaks Maryland's Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.8, 1.15, 1.16, 5.5, 7.3, 8.1 and 8.4. These violations have arisen primarily from the defendant's unauthorized law in Maryland without a license; intentional misrepresentations to his client about his case; failure to maintain client funds in an attorney trust account; failure to advise his client to seek independent advice before settling a claim for damages against him; failure to use funds to negotiate lower medical costs for his client as agreed in a settlement agreement; and failure to respond to numerous requests for information from Bar Counsel. In Attorney Grievance Commission Of Maryland v. Celio Warren Young, Other. Docket AG No. 23, Court of Appeals Of Maryland (March 31, 2021) a Maryland Court explained why it had no choice but to dismiss Young.
Celio Warren Young a lawyer working in the District but not licensed in Maryland was subject to discipline by the Maryland Court of Appeals. Although he was not then, nor even now, licensed to practice law in this state, Mr. Young represented Joseph E. O & # 39; Pharrow, III, in a personal injury case and related issues arising from a car accident in Prince George & # 39 ;s County, Maryland, in which O & # 39; Pharrow was seriously injured. The representation extended over several years. Eventually, O & # 39; Pharrow filed a complaint with the Attorney Grievance Commission.
Based on the minutes, the Court of Appeal concluded that Young had committed several breaches of the rules of professional conduct.
Young was admitted to the Columbia Bar District on December 6, 1989. He is not and has never been a member of the Maryland Bar. The respondent always maintained a law firm in the District of Columbia.
The violations of the rules of professional conduct charged by the defendant stem from his representation of Joseph E. O & # 39; Pharrow, III, a resident of Maryland. On April 29, 2014, O & # 39; Pharrow was seriously injured in a car accident in Prince George & # 39 ;s County, Maryland. Mr. O & # 39; Pharrow was determined not to make a mistake in the accident.
Mr. O & # 39; Pharrow suffered extensive injuries as a result of the accident and required several surgeries. His medical expenses exceeded $ 100,000. Mr O & # 39; Pharrow spent some time recovering at the hospital. During that time, his parents, Joseph and Earnestine O & # 39; Pharrow ("O & # 39; Pharrows"), stayed with him in the hospital as needed.
Mr. O & # 39; Pharrow & # 39 ;s mother retained the respondent on behalf of her son to represent him on a contingency fee basis. The interrogation judge found that the respondent intentionally misled O & # 39; Pharrow into believing that the respondent was licensed to practice law in Maryland when he was not.
In the summer of 2014, the respondent responded, apparently with at least O & # 39; consent. Pharrows, if not their son, filed a claim with the state-owned insurance company ("GEICO"), the insurance company for the driver who was determined to be at fault in the car accident. In or around August 2014, O & # 39; Pharrows accepted the $ 30,000 GEICO policy limit as a settlement on behalf of Mr. O & # 39; Pharrow. The respondent received the $ 30,000 settlement check from GEICO in August 2014 but did not deposit and maintain the settlement funds in a lawyer trust account. Of the $ 30,000, the respondent retained $ 6,400 for his legal fees and handed over $ 23,600 to O & # 39; Pharrow.
Also in the summer of 2014, the respondent filed an insured car insurance claim with O & # 39; Pharrows Insurance Company Erie Insurance Company ("Erie"). In that application, the defendant did not provide Erie with the written notice and a copy of GEICO's earlier settlement offer. As a result, Erie denied O & # 39; Pharrows underinsured motoring language. The trial judge found that Eries' denial of the allegation was "the result of [Respondent’s] legal malpractice."
In May 2016, the respondent offered to settle a malpractice allegation by O & # 39; Pharrow at the time of the offer. either considered filing or had filed. As part of the settlement agreement, the defendant agreed to execute a recognized promissory note for the entire settlement amount, which would be reduced by one of his payments.
On 8 September 2020, the interrogated judge concluded that the defendant had violated Rules 1.1, 1.2 (a), 1.3, 1.4 (a) and (b), 1.5 (a), 1.8 (a) and (h), 1.15 (a), 1.16 (a), 5.5 (a) and (b), 7.3 (a), 8.1 (b), and 8.4 (a), (b), (c) and (d).
Among other violations found by the interrogation judge, the defendant failed to present Mr. Pharrow's thing about doing almost nothing about the injuries is more than getting a $ 30,000 settlement with GEICO, the wrong driver's insurer. The respondent did not examine the assets of the faulty driver and did not determine the extent of Mr. O & # 39; Pharrows Underinsured Car Insurance. When Erie denied O & # 39; Pharrow's claim – the result of the respondent's failure to meet the requirements of Ins. Art. § 19-511 – The respondent failed to notify Mr. O & # 39; Pharrow in a timely manner that the Erie claim had been denied. He further misled O & # 39; Pharrow into believing that Erie's negative determination was not final.
The respondent, not a member of the Maryland Bar, requested O & # 39; Pharrows to represent his son in his personal injury in Maryland. Before and during his representation of Mr. O & # 39; Pharrow, the defendant deliberately and intentionally wanted Mr. O & # 39; Pharrow to believe that the respondent was entitled to practice law in Maryland.
The respondent knew of Eries' denial of the underinsured motoring language but hid that material fact from Mr. O & # 39; Pharrow for about nine months. When he finally told O & # 39; Pharrow about the denial of the claim, the respondent deliberately replied to his client that the decision was not final.
In imposing a sanction, the Supreme Court recognized that the purpose of legal discipline is to protect the public and not to punish the lawyer. When we determine the appropriate sanction, we also weigh the lawyer's misconduct against existing mitigating and aggravating factors.
The respondent showed a dishonest and selfish motive; he engaged in a pattern of misconduct; he committed several offenses; he showed that infidelity hindered disciplinary proceedings; he had extensive experience in team practice; and he showed indifference to repay. Based on the established facts set out in the minutes, the Supreme Court concluded that all of Bar Barunsel's proposed aggravating factors are supported by clear and convincing evidence.
The respondent intentionally distorted to O & # 39; Pharrow that he had a license to train. team in Maryland. Furthermore, he showed a lack of basic legal skills in competence, care and communication while representing his client: he did not have conciliation funds in a lawyer trust account; he hid the denial of the Erie claim from O & # 39; Pharrow for about nine months and lied about its status; and he did not recommend Mr. O & # 39; Pharrow to secure independent legal advice before entering into a settlement agreement on legal malpractice, all while practicing law in Maryland without a license.
The respondent's misconduct demanded that he be expelled. The respondent violates a number of rules of professional conduct. The Court of Appeal does not overlook the fact that the misconduct in this case stems from a customer's representation. It was not ignored that the respondent has practiced law for more than 31 years, although not always legally, as this question shows.
The respondent claimed, but did not establish, that the illness and stress resulting from the surgery he underwent in 2018 and his mother's death in 2017, which he addressed for the first time in his late "Show Cause Order Response" to this court, constitute a mitigation or contributed to his misconduct towards O & # 39; Pharrow, whose majority occurred before 2016. Disbarment was ordered as an appropriate sanction for the respondent's conduct.
It takes a lot of wrongdoing to be excluded by a state where the lawyer is not allowed to practice law. Hopefully, the bar of the District of Columbia will notice and prevent him from practicing law there because his actions to deal with simple claims and a simple, easy to prove, underinsured motoring claim require the government in all jurisdictions to protect the public from a dishonest lawyer who violated almost all possible rules of professional conduct.
© 2021 – Barry Zalma
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to employment as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance management, insurance fraud and insurance fraud almost
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