VIRGINIA:

BEFORE THE FIFTH DISTRICT SECTION I SUBCOMMITTEE

OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR



IN THE MATTER OF

BENNETT ALLAN BROWN, ESQUIRE

VSB Docket Nos. 01-051-0637



AGREED DISPOSITION


Pursuant to Part Six, § IV, ¶ 13(G)(1)(c) of the Rules of Virginia Supreme Court, the Virginia State Bar, by Senior Assistant Bar Counsel Noel D. Sengel, Esq., and the Respondent, Bennett Allen Brown, Esquire, hereby enter into an Agreed Disposition arising out of the above-referenced matter.

Both parties affirm that the proposed Subcommittee Determination of a Public Reprimand with Terms, a true copy of which is attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference, reflects the stipulated facts, violations, and disposition for the above-referenced matter.

Respondent understands that should the Subcommittee accept this agreed disposition by unanimous vote, the Subcommittee Determination will be signed by the Chair or Chair Designate and thereafter mailed without the necessity of any hearing or further notice to the parties. Further, it is understood and agreed by the parties hereto that should the Subcommittee refuse the agreed disposition neither party shall be bound by the stipulations or findings contained herein and this matter shall be forthwith scheduled for a hearing by the full Committee.





SEEN AND AGREED TO:

THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR



________________________

Noel D. Sengel
Assistant Bar Counsel




________________________

Bennett Allan Brown
Respondent




SUBCOMMITTEE ACTION



Pursuant to Part Six, § IV, ¶ 13(G)(1)(c) of the Rules of Virginia Supreme Court, the duly convened subcommittee of the Fifth District Committee Section I of the Virginia State Bar hereby accepts the Agreed Disposition in this matter.



Date: __________ _________________________________



Date: __________ _________________________________



Date: __________ _________________________________



VIRGINIA:



BEFORE THE FIFTH DISTRICT SECTION I SUBCOMMITTEE

OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR



IN THE MATTER OF BENNETT ALLEN BROWN, ESQUIRE

VSB Docket Nos. 01-051-0637



SUBCOMMITTEE DETERMINATION

PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS


On the 10th day of October, 2003, a meeting in this matter was held before a duly convened a subcommittee of the Fifth District Committee Section I consisting of Susan Richards Salen, Esq., Stephen A. Wannall, and David J. Gogal, Esq., presiding.

Pursuant to Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13(G)(1)(c) of the Rules of Virginia Supreme Court, a subcommittee of the Fifth District Committee Section I of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent the following Public Reprimand with Terms:

I. FINDINGS OF FACT


1. At all times relevant hereto the Respondent, Bennett Allan Brown, Esq. (hereinafter the Respondent), has been an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

2. The Complainant, Luis R. Quinonez, hired the Respondent to represent him and his business, IQ Management Corporation, in several legal matters. Some of these matters were handled successfully. However, there were problems in two of the cases.

3. The Respondent agreed to represent Mr. Quinonez in obtaining coverage from his home-owners policy carrier, USAA, for damage to his home caused by hail. The Respondent failed to take any action in response to Mr. Quinonez's inquiries and letters. Eventually, Mr. Quinonez lost any cause of action he may have had and did not collect anything from his homeowner's policy.

4. Mr. Quinonez and his business, IQ Management Corporation ("IQ"), a health care services provider, had a note with Bank of America (BOA) securing a "working capital" loan. In late 1998 or early 1999, BOA wanted to call in the loan. Due to the late payments to IQ by contractors, Mr. Quinonez fell behind on loan payments to BOA. Mr. Quinonez hired the Respondent to represent him and IQ in dealing with BOA.

5. Over the next several months, the chief financial officer of IQ, Douglas Isaac, called the Respondent repeatedly to learn the status of the situation with the bank, but the Respondent never returned his calls.

6. In late winter or early spring of 2000, BOA served Mr. Quinonez with Notice of Claim and Demand for Arbitration to determine Mr. Quinonez's personal liability as guarantor of the loan from BOA to IQ. By letter dated March 20, 2000, the Respondent agreed to represent Mr. Quinonez in this matter. The Respondent sent Mr. Quinonez an invoice, dated May 1, 2000, for a $ 5,000.00 retainer in the matter. IQ paid the Respondent the $5,000.00 retainer by check dated May 9, 2000.

7. As counsel for Mr. Quinonez, the Respondent received notices in the matter regarding scheduling for the filing of pleadings and the arbitration hearing date. The Respondent failed to file any responsive pleadings in the matter, did not inform Mr. Quinonez of the date of the arbitration hearing, which was June 13, 2000, and failed to appear for the arbitration hearing. By order dated June 15, 2000, the arbitrator found Mr. Quinonez liable to BOA in the amount of $1,039,007.43, based on an original note of $492,000.00. The arbitration award included interest, late fees and substantial attorney fees. Mr. Quinonez, though not contesting the amount originally owed on the loan, did contest many of the charges awarded, especially BOA's attorneys fees in excess of $100,000.00.

8. Mr. Quinonez learned of the award when noticed of BOA's intention to have the arbitration award confirmed by the Circuit Court of Fairfax County. By letter dated July 6, 2000, new counsel entered his appearance for Mr. Quinonez.

9. The Respondent did not respond to the Bar complaint. However, at the time he suffered a detached retina requiring a recuperation period.

II. NATURE OF MISCONDUCT

The Subcommittee finds that the following Disciplinary Rules and Rules of Professional Conduct have been violated:

DR 6-101. Competence and Promptness.

(B) A lawyer shall attend promptly to matters undertaken for a client until completed or until the lawyer has properly and completely withdrawn from representing the client.

(C) A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about matters in which the lawyer's services are being rendered.

(D) A lawyer shall inform his client of facts pertinent to the matter and of communications from another party that may significantly affect settlement or resolution of the matter.


RULE 1.2 Scope of Representation

(a) A lawyer shall abide by a client's decisions concerning the objectives of representation, subject to paragraphs (b), (c), and (d), and shall consult with the client as to the means by which they are to be pursued. A lawyer shall abide by a client's decision, after consultation with the lawyer, whether to accept an offer of settlement of a matter. In a criminal case, the lawyer shall abide by the client's decision, after consultation with the lawyer, as to a plea to be entered, whether to waive jury trial and whether the client will testify.

(b) A lawyer may limit the objectives of the representation if the client consents after consultation.


RULE 1.3 Diligence

(a) A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.


RULE 1.4 Communication

(a) A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.

(b) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

(c) A lawyer shall inform the client of facts pertinent to the matter and of communications from another party that may significantly affect settlement or resolution of the matter.


RULE 1.16 Declining Or Terminating Representation

(c) In any court proceeding, counsel of record shall not withdraw except by leave of court after compliance with notice requirements pursuant to applicable rules of court. In any other matter, a lawyer shall continue representation notwithstanding good cause for terminating the representation, when ordered to do so by a tribunal

(d) Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client's interests, such as giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, refunding any advance payment of fee that has not been earned and handling records as indicated in paragraph (e).



III. PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS

Accordingly, it is the decision of the Subcommittee to offer the Respondent an opportunity to comply with certain terms and conditions, compliance with which by January 31, 2004 , shall be a predicate for the disposition of this complaint by imposition of a Public Reprimand with Terms. The terms and conditions which shall be met by January 31, 2004 are:

1. The Respondent shall enroll in and complete the six hour continuing legal education seminar Time Mastery for Virginia Lawyers to held in Falls Church, VA on November

20, 2003. Upon completion of the above noted seminar, the Respondent shall certify in writing to the assistant Bar counsel handling this matter that he done so.

2. The Respondent shall institute and maintain a docket control system which shall ensure that he reviews the status of all pending matters periodically, and remind him in advance of key deadlines and other obligations. The Respondent shall institute and maintain a written office policy relating to regular and informative client communication. This policy shall include provisions for providing the client with written copies of all documentation relating to the representation, engaging in regular meetings either in person or by telephone to discuss the progress of the case and to answer client inquiries. Both the docket control system and the communication policy shall be implemented immediately. The Respondent shall provide the Assistant Bar Counsel handling this matter with a detailed written description of both the docket control system and communication policy, and shall certify in writing under oath that s/he is using such systems in his office.

Upon satisfactory proof that the above noted terms and conditions have been met, a Public Reprimand shall then be imposed. If, however, the terms and conditions have not be met by January 31, 2004, this matter shall be certified to the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board upon an agreed stipulation of facts and misconduct as the facts and misconduct are set forth herein for the sole purpose of the imposition of a sanction deemed appropriate by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board.

FIFTH DISTRICT SECTION I SUBCOMMITTEE

OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR



By __________________________________

Chair/Chair Designate





CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE



I certify that I have this _____ day of _______________________, 2003, mailed a true and correct copy of the Subcommittee Determination (Public Reprimand with Terms) by CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, to the Respondent, Bennett Allan Brown, Esq., at 3905 Railroad Ave., Suite 200N, Fairfax, VA 22030-3907, his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar.



_______________________________________

Noel D. Sengel