VIRGINIA:



BEFORE THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLINARY BOARD



IN THE MATTERS OF KIERAN THOMAS GRENNAN

VSB Docket Nos. 99-033-2136, 01-033-0074, 01-033-0100 and 01-033-0179





ORDER

 

These matters came on February 22, 2001, to be heard on the Agreed Disposition of the Virginia State Bar and the respondent Kieran Thomas Grennan, based upon the Certification of the Third District Committee, Section III. The Agreed Disposition was considered by a duly convened panel of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board consisting of Donna A. DeCorleto, Robert L. Freed, Michael A. Glasser, Anthony J. Trenga and Henry P. Custis, Jr., presiding.

The Virginia State Bar, by Bar Counsel Barbara Ann Williams, presented an Agreed Disposition endorsed by the respondent Kieran Thomas Grennan.

Having considered the Certification and the Agreed Disposition, it is this board's decision to accept the Agreed Disposition, and the board finds by clear and convincing evidence as follows:

Stipulations of Fact and Disciplinary Rule Violations

1. At all times relevant to this matter, Mr. Grennan was an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.



 

 

 

5. On or about March 5, 1999, on behalf of all the judges of the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Chief Judge Angela Edwards Roberts filed a complaint with the Virginia State Bar against Mr. Grennan.



B. Disciplinary Rule Violations

Bar Counsel and the respondent agree that the above factual stipulations could give rise to a finding of violation of the following 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attend promptly to matters undertaken for a client until completed or until the lawyer has properly and completely withdrawn from representing the client.



II. VSB Docket No. 99-033-0074 (Complainant: Paul Beverly)



A. Stipulations of Fact



1. Mr. Grennan's law license was administratively suspended on October 14, 1999, for non-compliance with MCLE requirements.



2. On November 10, 1999, Mr. Grennan's dues check, which was over four months late, bounced.



3. On November 29, 1999, Mr. Grennan received an additional administrative suspension for failure to pay dues and failing to tender his professional liability certification.



4. Mr. Grennan failed to pay his dues for fiscal year 2001, which were due on July 1, 2000.



5. In June 1999, Paul Beverly retained Mr. Grennan to initiate divorce proceedings and paid him $250.



6. Mr. Beverly advised Mr. Grennan that he needed to obtain the divorce in an expeditious manner.



7. Mr. Grennan never initiated the divorce action, even after Mr. Beverly inquired about the status of the matter.



8. Mr. Beverly last spoke to Mr. Grennan in April 2000.

9. Mr. Grennan never advised Mr. Beverly that he was suspended from the practice of law and never refunded Mr. Beverly's $250.



10. Mr. Grennan did not respond to the bar's demands for information concerning Mr. Beverly's complaint.



B. Disciplinary Rule Violations

Bar Counsel and the respondent agree that the above factual stipulations could give rise to a finding of violation of the following Disciplinary Rules:



DR 1-102. Misconduct.



(A) A lawyer shall not:

* * *

(4) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation which reflects adversely on a lawyer's fitness to practice law.



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.



DR 7-101. Representing a Client Zealously.

 

 

* * *



(2) Fail to carry out a contract of employment entered into with a client for professional services, but he may withdraw as permitted under DR 2-108, DR 5-102, and DR 5-105.



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.



* * *



(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 8.1 Bar Admission And Disciplinary Matters



An applicant for admission to the bar, or a lawyer in connection with a bar admission application, in connection with any certification required to be filed as a condition of maintaining or renewing a license to practice law, in connection with a disciplinary matter, shall not:



* * *



RULE 8.4 Misconduct

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

* * *

(c) engage in professional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation . . . .

III. VSB Docket Nos. 01-033-0100 (Complainant: William R. Marshall, Jr.) and 01-033-0179 (Complainant: Theodore Tondrowski)



A. Stipulations of Fact

1. Mr. Grennan's law license was administratively suspended on October 14, 1999, for non-compliance with MCLE requirements.



4. Mr. Grennan failed to pay his dues for fiscal year 2001, which were due on July 1, 2000.



5. On or about July 17, 2000, Mr. Grennan appeared in the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, sat at counsel table and successfully moved on behalf of the defendant, Benjamin Johns, to continue a hearing involving an appeal from a protective order.



6. Before appearing in court, Mr. Grennan telephoned William R. Marshall, counsel for the plaintiff, and Patricia Barnett, the defendant's guardian ad litem, and advised them that he represented Mr. Johns.



 

8. Mr. Marshall subsequently advised Ms. Barnett, Theodore Tondrowski and the court by letter dated July 18, 2000, that Mr. Grennan was suspended from the practice of law.



9. By letter to the Virginia State Bar dated July 20, 2000, Mr. Tondrowski advised the bar that he represented Benjamin Johns and had engaged Mr. Grennan to appear on Mr. Johns's behalf at the July 17 hearing due to a scheduling conflict.



 

11. Mr. Marshall passed away on August 7, 2000.

12. Mr. Grennan did not respond to the bar's demands for information concerning the complaint filed by Mr. Marshall (VSB Docket No. 01-033-0100) or the complaint subsequently filed by Mr. Tondrowski (VSB Docket No. 01-033-0179).



B. Disciplinary Rule Violations

Bar Counsel and the respondent agree that the above factual stipulations could give rise to a finding of violation of the following Disciplinary Rules:

 

RULE 8.1 Bar Admission And Disciplinary Matters

An applicant for admission to the bar, or a lawyer in connection with a bar admission application, in connection with any certification required to be filed as a condition of maintaining or renewing a license to practice law, in connection with a disciplinary matter, shall not:



* * *



RULE 8.4 Misconduct

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

* * *

(c) engage in professional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation . . . .

Upon consideration whereof, it is ORDERED that the respondent shall receive effective

February 22, 2001, a Five Year Suspension with Terms. It is hereby ORDERED that as a

condition of reinstatement the respondent shall comply with the following terms:

1. The respondent shall comply with the requirements of Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13.J.(2) of the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court governing reinstatement after suspension for more than one year.



2. Before applying for reinstatement, the respondent shall contact the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Program Director and obtain a referral for assessment by a licensed clinical professional at the respondent's expense. The assessment will include a thorough and comprehensive evaluation, including but not limited to evaluations of substance abuse and behavioral health disorders.



3. The Lawyers Helping Lawyers Program Director must designate or approve the

licensed clinical professional who assesses the respondent.



4. The respondent must execute any and all releases necessary for the licensed clinical professional and Lawyers Helping Lawyers to obtain any and all medical records deemed pertinent to the assessment.

 

5. The respondent must execute any and all releases necessary for the licensed clinical professional and Lawyers Helping Lawyers to share all information and conclusions reached during the course of the assessment with the Virginia State Bar.



6. Only upon satisfactory proof that the respondent has completed the five year suspension, fully complied with the terms of this Agreed Disposition and the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court, and written certification by the licensed clinical professional that the respondent is fit to practice law, shall the respondent be reinstated to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.



7. If an issue arises about the respondent's conduct during the course of the five-year suspension, including but not limited to the unauthorized practice of law, his compliance with the terms of this Agreed Disposition, or his fitness to practice law, at the request of Bar Counsel or the respondent, the Disciplinary Board may conduct a hearing as to whether the respondent has fulfilled the terms of this Agreed Disposition and is entitled to be reinstated. The respondent shall have the burden of proof at any such hearing.



Pursuant to Part Six, IV, 13.K.(10) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs.

A court reporter did not transcribe the telephone hearing on the Agreed Disposition.

It is ORDERED, pursuant to the provisions or Part Six, IV, 13(K)(1) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, that the respondent shall forthwith give notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, of his suspension of his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia, to all clients for whom he is currently handling matters and to all opposing attorneys and presiding judges in pending litigation. The respondent shall also make appropriate arrangements for the disposition of matters then in his care in conformity with the wishes of his client. The respondent shall give such notice within fourteen (14) days of the effective date of the suspension order, and make such arrangements as are required herein within forty-five (45) days of the effective date of the suspension order. The respondent shall furnish proof to the bar within sixty (60) days of the effective date of the suspension order that such notices have been timely given and such arrangement for the disposition of matters made. Issues concerning the adequacy of the notice and arrangements required herein shall be determined by the Disciplinary Board, which may impose a sanction of suspension for failure to comply with the requirements of this subparagraph.

It is further ORDERED that the respondent shall furnish true copies of all of the notice letters sent to all persons notified of the suspension, with the original return receipts for said notice letters, to the Clerk of the Disciplinary System, on or before ___________________, 2001.

It is ORDERED that a copy teste of this Order shall be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the respondent at his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar, 619 West 21st Street, Richmond, Virginia 23225.

Enter this Order this ______ day of March 2001.



VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLINARY BOARD



By: _______________________________________

Henry A. Custis, Chair