PUBLIC DISCIPLINE

May 1 – June 30, 2003

Philadelphia

The Supreme Court on May 6 ordered David P. Rovner suspended for six months, as recommended by the Disciplinary Board. According to the disciplinary report, Rovner prepared false time sheets and bills for non-existent files in order to hide from his law firm the fact that he was unable to generate the business he promised when he was hired. The disciplinary report said he never sent the bogus bills but told the firm they had been submitted and eventually would be paid.

            The court on June 4 ordered Mary McNeill Zell suspended for one year and one day, retroactive to Nov. 18, 2002, as recommended by the Disciplinary Board. According to the disciplinary report, Zell failed to appear for a private reprimand on a disciplinary matter. At the time of her suspension, she was on inactive status for failure to meet continuing legal education requirements.

 

Lehigh County

The Supreme Court on June 26 ordered James L. Heidecker Jr. to be suspended for one year and one day and to pay a refund of $1,440 to a client. According to the disciplinary report, the client’s appeal of a conviction to Superior Court was dismissed because Heidecker failed to file a brief on behalf of the client. The report said Heidecker also failed to document his fee arrangement and failed to refund the fee. The court rejected a majority recommendation of the Disciplinary Board that Heidecker be suspended for nine months, along with being ordered to pay the refund. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed a separate petition alleging Heidecker submitted fabricated documents to the Disciplinary Board during its proceeding, but a majority of board members concluded that differences in documents were explainable by “secretarial inadvertence” and “less than efficient” office procedures. Five dissenting board members issued a minority recommendation calling for suspension of one year and one day on the misconduct involving the client. Seven dissenting members concluded document fabrication had taken place and recommended disbarment.

 

Out of State

The Supreme Court on June 11 rejected the Disciplinary Board’s recommendation of public censure and ordered Nicholas R. Perrella suspended for three months. Several members of the Disciplinary Board dissented in favor of a private reprimand and one in favor of an informal admonition. According to the disciplinary report, Perrella, a New York attorney, was formerly admitted to practice in Pennsylvania until being placed on inactive status in 1996 for failing to meet continuing legal education requirements.

The report said Perrella engaged in unauthorized practice by acting as plaintiff’s counsel in an action litigated in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.

            The court on June 30 ordered the disbarment of Roger Clark Peterman, retroactive to Aug. 1, 2002. Justices Ronald D. Castille and Thomas G. Saylor dissented in favor of “reciprocal discipline as announced by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.” There was no indication what discipline was imposed in New Jersey.

 

Temporary Suspension – Rule 214(d)(1)

The following attorneys were placed on temporary suspension under a rule of disciplinary enforcement pertaining to attorneys convicted of serious crimes: Julius C. Melograne, Allegheny County, on May 6; and James William Kephart, Bucks County, on June 27.

 

Temporary Suspension – Rule 208(f)

The following attorney was placed on emergency temporary suspension under a rule of disciplinary enforcement pertaining to attorneys whose continued practice would cause substantial public or private harm because of the misappropriation of funds or other egregious conduct: Heywood Eric Becker, Bucks County, on May 20.

 

Disbarments on Consent

The following attorneys were disbarred on consent under a rule of disciplinary enforcement pertaining to resignations by attorneys under disciplinary investigation: Gary R. Block, Chester County, on May 19; Richard S. Glassman, Philadelphia, on June 11; Arthur S. Alexion, Montgomery County, on June 11; Terry R. Fisher, Berks County, on June 11; Carol Ann Black, Philadelphia, on June 26; and Ronald K. Meyer, Delaware County, on June 27.

 

Reciprocal Discipline

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline on the following attorneys: Peter A. Wood, out of state, suspended for three months, on May 6, for like discipline ordered by the Supreme Court of New Jersey; John J. Anastasio, out of state, suspended for 10 days, on May 6, for like discipline ordered by the Supreme Court of Florida; Bridgette Harris, out of state, disbarred, on May 6, for like disbarment by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, for revocation of her license by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board and for disbarment on consent ordered by the Court of Appeals of Maryland; Mark E. Steiner, out of state, suspended for three years, retroactive to Aug. 1, 2002, on May 19, for a like suspension ordered by the Supreme Court of Delaware; Alfred A. Porro Jr., out of state, disbarred retroactive to March 3, 2000, on June 26, for like disbarment by the Supreme Court of New Jersey; and Robert C. Jacobs, Philadelphia, suspended for 41 months, retroactive to June 13, 2002, on June 26, for a like suspension ordered by the Internal Revenue Service of the U.S. Department of Treasury.

 

TRANSFER TO INACTIVE STATUS

May 1 – June 30, 2003

The following attorney was transferred to inactive status in connection with a rule of disciplinary enforcement pertaining to respondents in disciplinary proceedings who are suffering from a disability and are unable to prepare an adequate defense: Marvin I. Barish, Philadelphia, on June 26.

 

REINSTATEMENTS

May 1 – June 30, 2003

The Supreme Court approved petitions for reinstatement filed by the following individuals: John George Takacs, Philadelphia, from a three-year suspension retroactive to Feb. 26, 1996, on June 4, as recommended by the Disciplinary Board; and Michael G. Paul, Philadelphia, from a three-month suspension ordered Jan. 28, 2003, on June 20.

 

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Disciplinary Board Information

Now on the Internet

The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has launched its “first official” Internet Web site, www.padisciplinaryboard.org.

            In announcing the site, board Chairman Charles J. Cunningham said it “takes public information that has been hard to find and now makes it easily accessible to the legal community and the general public.”

For consumers, the site offers access to information on all attorneys registered in Pennsylvania. Included is information on all attorneys who have been subject to public discipline or have been transferred to inactive status due to disability during the board’s 30-year history. Additional features include links to the Rules of Professional Conduct, an answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) section, forms and information on how to file a complaint, and directions for community groups and organizations on how to request a program on the attorney disciplinary process.

The section for lawyers includes FAQs from attorneys on topics including the disciplinary process, ethical issues and attorney registration, plus downloadable attorney registration forms and information on how to request a CLE program.

For court officials, the site offers a one-stop location “to check attorney registration information and to get breaking news on recent decisions on attorney discipline, new or proposed rules, important Supreme Court of Pennsylvania orders regarding changes in attorney status and other notices of special interest.

 

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