THIS MATTER came on to be heard on November 22, 2002, before a panel of the Disciplinary Board consisting of Richard J. Colten, Acting Chair, Janipher W. Robinson, David R. Schultz, Thaddeus T. Crump, Lay member, and Ann N. Kathan. The State Bar was represented by Harry M. Hirsch, Deputy Bar Counsel. The Respondent, Michael Wills Cullinan Harris ("Harris"), after receiving due notice by certified mailing to the last known address provided to the State Bar, failed to appear either in person or by counsel. Victoria V. Halasz, Chandler and Halasz, Post Office Box 9349, Richmond, Virginia 23227, (804) 730-1222, after being duly sworn, reported the hearing.
The Acting Chair called the matter in the hearing room and in the hallway, without a response from the Respondent.
The matter came before the Board on a Motion and Notice of Show Cause Proceeding to Further Suspend or Revoke the License to Practice Law for Failure to Fulfill Duties of a Suspended Respondent.
I. FINDINGS OF FACT
Accordingly, the Board makes the following findings of fact on the basis of clear and convincing evidence:
At all times relevant hereto the Respondent, Michael Wills Cullinan Harris, was an attorney licensed, but not authorized to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of February 12, 2001, Harris' membership status with the Virginia State Bar is "associate" member, not in good standing. (November 21, 2002 Affidavit of the Clerk of the Disciplinary System-Exhibit C). If called to testify, Harris would state that he voluntarily changed his membership status to "associate" upon the advice of his healthcare professionals.
On or about November 16, 2001, The Board entered an Order of Disability Suspension imposing an indefinite disability suspension of Harris' license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Order of Disability Suspension required Harris to fulfill the duties of a suspended respondent in accordance with Paragraph 13(K)(1).
By letter dated November 16, 2001, the Clerk of the Disciplinary System sent Harris an attested copy of the Order of Disability Suspension, directing Harris as to his responsibilities pursuant to the provisions of Paragraph 13(K)(1), enclosing forms for Harris to fulfill those responsibilities, and notifying Harris that he must provide the Clerk with proof of his compliance with the notice requirements on or before January 14, 2002. (Order and Forms - Exhibit A).
By letter dated January 15, 2002, the Clerk of the Disciplinary System mailed Harris a copy of her November 16, 2001 letter. The Clerk further stated in said letter that she had not received proof of compliance from Harris, and urged Harris to fulfill his duties under Paragraph 13(K)(1). The Clerk advised Harris that if he had not fulfilled his duties, he needed to advise the Clerk of the fact immediately. (Letter Exhibit B).
The provisions of former Paragraph 13(K)(1) are substantially the same as the provisions of current Paragraph 13.M effective September 18, 2002.
Harris failed to fulfill the notice requirements recited in the November 16, 2001 Order of Disability Suspension, and requirements of former Paragraph 13(K)(1).
It is ORDERED that pursuant to Part Six, Section IV, Section13.M of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Respondent shall give notice, by certified mail, return receipt requested of the five-day suspension of his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia to all clients, to all judges, and any courts before whom the Respondent may have pending matters.
It is ORDERED that the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall send a copy of this Order to Michael Wills Cullinan Harris at his address of record with the Virginia State Bar, being 3108 North Parham Road, Suite 500 B, Richmond, Virginia 23294, by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by regular mail, and that a copy be mailed or delivered by hand to Harry M. Hirsch, Deputy Bar Counsel, Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1800, Richmond, Virginia 23219.
It is furthered ORDERED that pursuant to Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13.B.c of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess all costs against the Respondent.
ENTERED this ____ day of December, 2002.
VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLINARY BOARD
Richard J. Colten, Acting Chair