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Proposed | amendments to the Clients’ Protection Fund Rules regarding claim limits on payments from the fund (Comments due by October 16, 2014)

The Clients’ Protection Fund Board is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the per attorney and per claim limits on payments from the fund. Comments should be submitted in writing to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 1111 E. Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565 or publiccomment@vsb.org, no later than the end of the business day on October 16, 2014

On September 12, 2014, the Clients’ Protection Fund Board voted unanimously to recommend that the VSB Council amend the Clients Protection Fund Rules to increase the per attorney limit from 10 percent to 15 percent of the net worth of the fund and to increase the per claim limit from $50,000 to $75,000.

The current per claim limit of $50,000 has been in place since July 1, 2000, and the per attorney limit of 10 percent of the net worth of the fund has been in place since October 1986. 

As of August 31, 2014, the CPF balance was $7.6 million. Legislation continuing the $25 CPF assessment (Code of Virginia section 54.1-3913.1) until June 30, 2020, was passed by the 2014 General Assembly.

The CPF board’s recommendations will be considered by the VSB Council at its October 24, 2014, meeting.

The proposed rule changes are as follows:

III. Processing Petitions

7.         The Board shall, in its sole discretion and by a majority vote, determine the amount of loss, if any, for which any Petitioner shall be reimbursed from the Fund. Although only a majority vote is required to approve or deny a Petition, the Board should aspire to come to a consensus on every Petition. In making such determination, the Board shall consider inter alia, the following:

  1.  Any conduct of the Petitioner which contributed to the loss.
     
  2. The loss to be paid to any one Petitioner shall not exceed $75,000 for losses incurred on or after July 1 2015, or $50,000 for losses incurred on or after July 1, 2000 and prior to July 1, 2015, or $25,000 for losses incurred prior to July 1, 2000. For purposes of this provision, the Board may regard two or more persons, firms or entities as one Petitioner with respect to a Lawyer’s dishonest conduct in handling a given matter where the facts and entities are found to justify such a conclusion.
     
  3. The total amount of losses reimbursable hereunder on account of the misconduct of any one lawyer or association of lawyers (including, without limitation, a law firm, professional corporation, or an office-sharing arrangement among lawyers) shall be limited to ten fifteen percent (1015%) of the net worth of the Clients' Protection Fund at the time the first claim is made. In the event of multiple claims on account of the misconduct of any one lawyer or association of lawyers, claims may be considered in any order or grouping which the Board, in its discretion, finds appropriate, taking into account the equities and timeliness of each claim, and no further payment shall be made in respect to misconduct of any one lawyer or association of lawyers once the ten fifteen percent limit has been reached.

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Updated: September 17, 2014