Case Caption: In re Suspension of B. Patricia Welcome, EsquireCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2013-0075Date: 12/05/2013Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary:

In an attorney's appeal from an adverse disposition of the Ethics and Grievance Committee of the Virgin Islands Bar Association , the conduct involved does not warrant any sanction. The appeal is sustained and the Committee's request for disciplinary action is denied. The underlying grievance shall be dismissed. The panel's decision finding a violation of Rule 1.1 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct is not supported by clear and convincing evidence, and its finding that the attorney violated Model Rules 1.4(a)(2), (3), and (4), which require a lawyer to reasonably consult with the client, keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter, and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, is also rejected except that - based on her own admissions - the attorney failed to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter as required by Rule 1.4(a)(3). Considering the duty violated, the lawyer's mental state, the potential or actual injury caused by the lawyer's misconduct, and the existence of aggravating or mitigating factors, it is concluded that no restitution is warranted in this case, and the applicable standard for this case is ABA Standard 4.64, which provides that an admonition is generally appropriate when a lawyer engages in an isolated instance of negligence in failing to provide a client with accurate or complete information, and causes little or no actual or potential injury to the client. There is no basis in the record for the panel's implicit finding that the attorney committed a knowing violation or that the client suffered any actual or potential injury-let alone a serious injury-as a result of the attorney's conduct. Upon weighing the aggravating and mitigating factors, no reason is found to depart from the baseline sanction of a private reprimand. However, a private reprimand is inapplicable as a sanction after an appeal or petition for disciplinary action has been filed with the Court, and here the interests of justice warrant imposing no formal sanction.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion