STATEWIDE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE
New London Grievance Panel, Complainant vs. Haiman Long Clein, Respondent
Grievance Complaint #95-0725
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 April 3, 1997. The hearing addressed the record of the complaint filed on March 1, 1996 and the probable cause determination filed by the Tolland Judicial District Grievance Panel on June 17, 1996 finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent violated Rules 1.3, 1.5(b), 1.15, and 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Notice of the hearing was mailed to the Complainant and to the Respondent on February 25, 1997. Attorney Gregory Benoit appeared on behalf of the Complainant. The Respondent did not appear. The reviewing committee heard the testimony of Attorney John Carta.
This reviewing committee finds the following facts by clear and convincing evidence:
The Mohegan Indian tribe of Montville paid the Respondent a $1,000.00 retainer on October 10, 1995 to file suit in federal court on behalf of the tribe. The Respondent did not provide a written fee agreement. The Respondent did not file suit. The Respondent did not issue a refund of the $1,000.00 retainer.
At the hearing before this reviewing committee, Attorney John Carta, trustee for the Respondent, testified that he was unable to find any record of a $1,000.00 deposit into the Respondent's client fund account from the Mohegan Indian tribe.
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 in representing the Mohegan tribe in violation of Rule 1.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent did not provide a written fee agreement in connection with the representation in violation of Rule 1.5(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent did not refund the $1,000.00 retainer in violation of Rules 1.15 and 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent's conduct in representing the Mohegan Indian tribe breached ethical standards. We recommend that the Statewide Grievance Committee file a presentment against the Respondent in the Superior Court for the imposition of whatever discipline the court deems appropriate.
Attorney Robert J. Kor
Attorney David A. Curry
Ms. Mary Ellen Smith