Case Caption: In re Suspension of Edward Parson, Esquire, as a Member of the Virgin Islands BarCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2012-0047Date: 01/07/2013Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary:

Under the Court's exclusive jurisdiction to discipline members of the Virgin Islands Bar pursuant to 4 V.I.C. § 32, a petition by the Ethics and Grievance Committee of the Virgin Islands Bar Association for approval of its recommendation to suspend an attorney from the practice of law for a period of 12 months and requesting entry of an order requiring him to pay a specified monetary amount as restitution to the client is granted. A client who did not receive proceeds from settlement of a personal injury action for over one year, filed a grievance, and unsuccessful efforts to contact the attorney rendered the matter dormant for several years. Model Rule 8.1 is violated when an attorney who has been provided with numerous opportunities to respond to a grievance, inexplicably fails to do so. In addition, here the attorney violated Model Rule 1.15(d) by failing to provide the client with any of the proceeds from settlement of a civil action, and failing to respond to any of his inquiries. The Committee correctly classified the attorney's failure to participate in the disciplinary proceedings as an aggravating factor, and its recommendation for a 12-month suspension combined with $2,500 in restitution, plus interest, is approved. Given that a suspension for non-payment of dues is purely administrative, while the suspension ordered in this case is a sanction for serious professional misconduct, the suspension imposed as a sanction for the ethical violations shall run consecutive to administrative suspensions. The attorney shall be suspended from the practice of law for 12 months, which shall be consecutive to his present suspension for non-payment of dues, with the 12 month period beginning to run on the date the attorney pays all delinquent dues and late fees to the Virgin Islands Bar Association and would otherwise qualify for reinstatement under Supreme Court Rule 205(d). In addition, after receiving the Committee's calculation of prejudgment interest on the $2,500 restitution award, this Court shall issue an order requiring the attorney to pay restitution to the client. If he did not already do so after his prior suspension for non-payment of dues, the attorney shall also comply with Supreme Court Rule 207.5.5. Upon expiration of the 12-month period, the attorney may petition for reinstatement in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 203(h).

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion