STATEWIDE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE
Susan Deborah Lesser, Complainant vs. John M. Kelly, Respondent
Grievance Complaint #96-0506
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 June 12, 1997. The hearing addressed the record of the complaint filed on December 9, 1996 and the probable cause determination filed by the Hartford/New Britain Judicial District, Geographical Areas 12, 15, 16 & 17 on January 17, 1997, finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent violated Rule 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Notice of the hearing was mailed to the Complainant and to the Respondent on April 25, 1997. The Complainant and the Respondent appeared and gave testimony. The committee also heard the testimony of Attorney Marc Needleman, the Respondent's employer, who testified on behalf of the Respondent.
The reviewing Committee makes the following findings by clear and convincing evidence:
The Respondent's firm represented the Complainant's husband in a divorce and custody case. The Respondent's firm filed a Request For Production and then a Motion To Compel to obtain the Complainant's medical records. The Complainant provided medical records release authorizations for a number of doctors. The Respondent's firm learned through its client that the Complainant had not provided an authorization for a particular doctor. The Respondent altered one of the authorizations provided by the Complainant by substituting the name of the doctor in question for that appearing on the form and submitting it to the doctor in question.
This reviewing committee also considered the following:
In the course of our hearing, the Respondent acknowledged his error in altering and utilizing the altered medical release authorization form. He testified that he did not engage in his misconduct maliciously or to improperly advance the interests of his client.
It is the opinion of this reviewing committee that there exists clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent violated Rule 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. In particular, the Respondent violated Rule 8.4(c) in that his submission of an altered medical release authorization without the knowledge or consent of the adverse party signing the release constituted conduct involving dishonesty, deceit and misrepresentation. It is the recommendation of this reviewing committee that the Respondent be reprimanded by the Statewide Grievance Committee.
Attorney Anne R. Hoyt
Attorney Kerry A. Tarpey
Ms. Carol E. Johnson-Springmeyer