STATEWIDE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE
Nutmeg Medical Pain & Diagnostic Center, P.C., Complainant vs. Paul MacNeill, Respondent
Grievance Complaint #99-0151
Pursuant to Practice Book §2-35, 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 13, 2000. The hearing addressed the record of the complaint filed on August 12, 1999, and the probable cause determination filed by the Hartford-New Britain Judicial District, Geographical Areas 12, 15, 16 & 17 Grievance Panel on October 14, 1999, finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent violated Rules 1.4, 8.4 and 8.4(7) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Notice of the hearing was mailed to the Complainant and to the Respondent on December 10, 1999. Neither the Complainant nor the Respondent appeared at the hearing. Accordingly, we consider the matter on the written record.
This reviewing committee finds the following facts by clear and convincing evidence:
The Complainant provided medical services to twenty-seven individuals who were represented by the Respondent in connection with injuries they sustained in motor vehicle accidents. The Respondent provided the Complainant with a letter of protection in each case. The letters of protection were dated between December of 1996 and April of 1998. The letters of protection stated, in part, the following:
If your bill has not been paid, upon the conclusion of the case we will protect your interests by paying related medical expenses at the time the proceeds are realized, to the extent funds are available after the legal fees and court costs have been deducted.
The committee also considered the following evidence:
The Complainant maintained that all twenty-seven cases have been settled and that the Respondent has failed to honor the letters of protection by paying the outstanding medical bills.
The Respondent did not submit a response to the grievance complaint nor did he appear at the hearing before this reviewing committee.
This reviewing committee concludes by clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent engaged in ethical misconduct. The Complainants unrebutted allegations lead us to conclude that the Respondent failed to honor the letters of protection he provided to the Complainant. We find that the Respondents actions constitute misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. This reviewing committee further finds that the Respondents failure to respond to the grievance complaint constitutes misconduct in violation of Practice Book §2-32(a)(1).
Since the Respondent was not engaged in an attorney-client relationship with the Complainant, we cannot conclude that the Respondent had a duty to communicate with the Complainant under Rule 1.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. We are also unable to conclude that the Respondent violated Rule 8.4(7) of the Rules of Professional Conduct since there is no such rule.
We find that the Respondents violation of Practice Book §2-32(a)(1) and Rule 8.4(3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct warrants his presentment to the Superior Court. Accordingly, we order that the Respondent be presented to the Superior Court for whatever discipline the court deems appropriate.
Attorney Anne R. Hoyt
Attorney Vincent M. DeAngelo