VIRGINIA:

BEFORE THE EIGHTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE
OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR

IN THE MATTER OF

MAC ANDRES CHAMBERS

VSB Docket No. 01-080-0087


DISTRICT COMMITTEE DETERMINATION
(PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS)

On June 26, 2001, a hearing in this matter was held before a duly convened Eighth District Committee panel consisting of H. David Natkin, Esquire, N. Douglas Noland, Jr., Esquire, Martin Lightsey, Lay Member, Charles F. Kurtz, Lay Member, and P. Brent Brown, Esquire, Chair, presiding.
The Respondent appeared in person with his counsel, William H. Lindsey, Esquire. Edward L. Davis, Assistant Bar Counsel, appeared for the Virginia State Bar.
Pursuant to Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13(B)(7) of the Rules of the Supreme Court, the Eighth District Committee of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent the following Public Reprimand with Terms:
I. FINDINGS OF FACT:

1. During all times relevant hereto, the Respondent, Mac Andres Chambers, (hereinafter Respondent or Mr. Chambers) was an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

2. Complainant Pamela Reyes was injured in two different automobile accidents occurring on July 20, 1995 and July 25, 1995, respectively. After discharging her first attorney, she signed contracts of representation with Mr. Chambers on February 5, 1996.

3. Thereafter, Mr. Chambers had his client execute releases of medical information. His
file, however, does not reflect that he sent the authorizations to anyone except for one,
Anesthesia Associates, on August 13, 1998. His file shows that he mailed an assignment of benefits to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital on July 16, 1996 so that the hospital would forestall collection actions against his client for unpaid medical bills. His file also contains a


narrative summary of the client's treatment for pain, prepared by Christopher Cantilena, M.D., to a Dr. Taylor of the Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital Emergency Room, dated April 29, 1998.

4. During 1996 and 1997, Claims agents from the two liability carriers for the respective accidents repeatedly wrote to Mr. Chambers asking for medical bills and reports. The last correspondence from Allstate is dated July 11, 1997, indicating that he had not sent a demand package. The last from State Farm is dated July 22, 1997, asking him to forestall serving the motion for judgement so that they could negotiate a settlement, and asking him to furnish medical information to both State Farm and to Allstate.

5. On July 18, 1997, Mr. Chambers filed a motion for judgement against Monica Calloway, the adverse party in the accident of July 20, 1995. On July 25, 1997, he filed a motion for judgement against Donald Ray Moore, the adverse party in the accident of July 25, 1997. In each case, he also named the respective liability insurance carriers for the defendant drivers as defendants.

6. In July and August 1998, counsel for the respective liability carriers filed motions to dismiss for failure to serve the defendants within one year. Each also filed a demurrer on the basis that Section 8.01-5 of the Code of Virginia does not permit direct actions against liability insurance carriers.

7. Mr. Chambers filed a response to the motion from Calloway and her insurer, State Farm. He also prepared amended motions for judgement removing the insurance carriers as defendants, but never filed them. At the hearing on August 20, 1998, he took a voluntary nonsuit in the Calloway case. In October 1998, he did the same in the Moore case.

8. After the nonsuits were granted, Mr. Chambers failed to re-file either case, thereby forever depriving Ms. Reyes of her right to pursue her cases in court after six months had passed. Thereafter, he became unresponsive to his client's attempts to contact him.

9. Having been unable to learn anything from Mr. Chambers about the status of her cases, Ms. Reyes complained to the Virginia State Bar in July 2000. The bar mailed a copy of the complaint to Mr. Chambers on July 25, 2000, however, he did not respond until December 8, 2000, after the case had been referred to the Eighth District Committee. At that time, he submitted a response, acknowledging his failure to re-file the suits within the statutory limits, and explaining that his client never provided him with any of her medical information, hindering the representation.

10. Ms. Reyes, however, testified that she and her husband brought bags of unpaid medical bills to Mr. Chambers when requested. She testified further that she continues to be dunned for the unpaid medical bills relating to the two accidents. Both Mrs. Reyes and Mr. Chambers testified that liability was not an issue in either case.

II. MISCONDUCT


The Committee finds that Mr. Chambers violated the following Disciplinary Rules and Rules of Professional Conduct:


DISCIPLINARY RULES

DR 6-101. Competence and Promptness

(A) A lawyer shall undertake representation only in matters in which:

(1) The lawyer can act with competence and demonstrate the specific legal knowledge, skill, efficiency, and thoroughness in preparation employed in acceptable practice by lawyers undertaking similar matters, or

(2) The lawyer has associated with another lawyer who is competent in those matters.

(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.

RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

RULE 1.1 Competence

A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

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.

The bar withdrew the violation of Rule 8.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and that charge is dismissed accordingly.

(Following the announcement of the Committee's findings, Mr. Martin Lightsey announced that he had to leave because of a prior commitment. He was released accordingly, and, with the consent of the Respondent and his counsel, the Committee received evidence and argument in aggravation and mitigation, and retired to deliberate on the issue of sanction without Mr. Lightsey participating.)

III. PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS
Upon consideration of the evidence, and the fact that the Respondent does not have a prior disciplinary record, it is the decision of the Committee to offer the Respondent an opportunity to comply with certain terms and conditions, compliance with which will be a predicate for the disposition of a Public Reprimand with Terms of this Complaint. The terms and conditions shall be met by the times set forth below.
1. Within six (6) weeks of today's hearing, or August 7, 2001, the Respondent shall engage at his own expense a malpractice risk manager approved by the Virginia State Bar to perform an audit of his office.

2. The Respondent will ensure that the risk manager furnishes a report of his or her findings and recommendations to the Virginia State Bar within ninety (90) days of his hiring of the risk manager, in no event later than November 5, 2001.

3. The Respondent will comply with all of the risk manager's recommendations.

4. The Respondent will ensure that the risk manager furnishes a follow-up report to the Virginia State Bar within six (6) months thereafter, in no event later than May 5, 2002, indicating whether he has followed the risk manager's recommendations.

5. The Respondent will ensure that the risk manager sends a second follow-up report within one (1) year thereafter, in no event later than May 5, 2003, indicating whether he has followed the risk manager's recommendations.

6. The Respondent will continue counseling as recommended by Susan D. Pauley, Program Director, LHL, and execute all appropriate releases to ensure that the bar can monitor his progress in the counseling. The Respondent will continue with the counseling for a period of eighteen (18) months unless released by the counselor sooner.

7. Within thirty (30) days of this hearing, or July 26, 2001, the Respondent will contact a mentor approved by the Virginia State Bar Mentoring Program to assist the Respondent with any personal injury or workers compensation cases that he may have.

8. By June 30, 2002, the Respondent will attend at least six (6) hours of Continuing Legal Education on the subject of personal injury practice and/or workers compensation for no annual CLE credit.

9. By June 30, 2003, the Respondent will attend an additional six (6) hours of Continuing Legal Education on the subject of personal injury practice and/or workers compensation for no annual CLE credit.

10. The Respondent will provide written certification of his attendance at the courses to the Virginia State Bar within the time periods given.


Upon satisfactory proof that such terms and conditions have been met, this matter shall be closed. If, however, the terms and conditions are not met by the dates specified above, this Committee shall certify the matter for hearing before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board.
Pursuant to Part Six, Section IV, (13)(K)(10), the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs.

EIGHTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE
OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR



By____________________________
P. Brent Brown, Chair



CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I certify that I have this __________day of ___________, _________ caused to be mailed by CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, a true and correct copy of the District Committee Determination (Public Reprimand with Terms) to Mac Andres Chambers, Esquire, at 618 Colorado Street, Salem, Virginia 24153, his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar, and to his counsel, William H. Lindsey, Esquire, at 103 South College Avenue, Post Office Box 958, Salem, Virginia 24153, his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar.

_________________________________
Edward L. Davis, Assistant Bar Counsel