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Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Richard E. Bridges, Esq.
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Docket No.: GCF# 11-305
Issued by: Grievance Commission
Date: July 9, 2012
Respondent: Richard E. Bridges, Esq.
Bar Number: 002765
Misconduct: Lack of Diligence; Lack of Communication; Excessive Fee; Failure to Return Client Property; Failure to Respond to Bar Counsel; Misrepresentations; Conduct Prejudicial to Administration of Justice
DECISION AND ORDER OF GRIEVANCE PANEL
A disciplinary petition was brought against the respondent, Richard E. Bridges on March 14, 2012 and was duly served upon him on March 15, 2012. Pursuant to the summons, the petition was due to be answered by the respondent within 20 days. No answer was received and the case was set for hearing on June 26, 2012.
The hearing was held on June 26, 2012 at the Board of Bar Overseers hearing room in Augusta, Maine before Grievance Panel D, consisting of William Baghdoyan, Esq., Chair, James A. McKenna III, Esq., and Kathleen A. Schulz, lay member. The Board was represented by J. Scott Davis and the respondent represented himself. Because no answer had been made to the petition by the respondent, the facts alleged in the petition and the misconduct alleged were accepted as admitted, pursuant to Maine Bar Rule 7.1(e)(1). The hearing thus concerned only the issue of what sanction, if any to impose.
Based upon the allegations in the petition that were not answered by the respondent, the panel finds the following facts:
Having found the above-cited violations of the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct, the Panel must decide upon what sanction if any to impose. The purpose of those rules is not to punish the attorney, but is rather to insure protection of the public from the misconduct of members of the Bar. The panel is particularly concerned that Attorney Bridges did not respond either to his client or to Bar Counsel. Attorney Bridges also never filed an answer to the petition. These failures indicate a lack of attention to the requirements of his legal practice. Although his marital difficulties may explain these lapses, it does not excuse them. The panel believes that the issuance of a Public Reprimand is appropriate, and such a Public Reprimand is hereby issued.
We also strongly recommend that Attorney Bridges seek the counsel and assistance of the Maine Assistance Program to help him maintain his professional responsibilities while at the same time dealing with the stresses of his personal difficulties.
For the Grievance Commission
William Baghdoyan, Esq., Chair, Panel D
James A. McKenna III, Esq.
Kathleen A. Schultz
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