In re PRB Docket No. 2013.160
Professional Responsibility Board. DOCKET NO. 2013.160.
Present: Paul L. Reiber, Chief Justice, John A. Dooley, Associate Justice, Marilyn S. Skoglund, Associate Justice, Beth Robinson, Associate Justice, Harold E. Eaton, Jr., Associate Justice
Upon review of the hearing panel decision in this matter, the Court concludes as follows: The decision presents a well-reasoned discussion and resolution of a problem common in legal practice, particularly for small firms and solo practitioners. Accordingly, the Court orders review of the decision on its own motion, adopts the hearing panel decision in its entirety as a final order of this Court, waives briefing and oral argument, and orders that the decision be published in the Vermont Reports.
STATE OF VERMONT
PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY BOARD
In re PRB File No. 2013.160
Decision No. 186
The parties have filed a Stipulation of Facts together with Recommended Conclusions of Law and a Recommendation for Sanctions. Respondent has waived certain procedural rights including the right to an evidentiary hearing. The panel accepts the stipulated facts and conclusions and orders that Respondent be admonished by Disciplinary Counsel for holding uncashed checks in the amount of $124,797.40 drawn on her trust account for a period of seven months in violation of Rule 1.15(a)(1) of the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct.
Respondent was admitted to practice in Vermont in 1984. She has several trust accounts, one of which she uses for title insurance. When a client paid a title insurance premium, the funds were deposited to that account. After the policy was issued, a portion of the premium was paid to the title insurance company and a portion to the firm as its commission. This was the only use of this trust account.
Respondent was randomly selected for a compliance examination as part of Disciplinary Counsel's audit program. A certified public accountant performed the audit to determine Respondent's compliance with Rules 1.15 through 1.15B of the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct.
The examination found that Respondent had an envelope of undeposited checks payable to the firm that had been written on her title insurance trust account. These checks, in the amount of $124,797.40, represented title insurance premiums due to the firm over a seven-month period. Respondent had deferred depositing the funds into her operating account to insure that there would be funds ...