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THE COURTS

PART V. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND CONDUCT

[ 204 PA. CODE CH. 83 ]

Proposed Amendments to the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement Relating to Procedure, Discipline on Consent, and Annual Registration of Attorneys

[46 Pa.B. 7520]
[Saturday, December 3, 2016]

 Notice is hereby given that The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is considering recommending to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that it adopt amendments to Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement 208, 215, and 219 relating to procedure, discipline on consent, and annual registration of attorneys, as set forth in Annex A.

 Rule 208(g) pertains to costs assessed against respondent-attorneys. Rule 208(g)(1) provides that the Supreme Court has the discretion to direct that the necessary expenses incurred in the investigation and prosecution of a proceeding which results in the imposition of discipline shall be paid by a respondent-attorney. Currently, all expenses taxed under this paragraph must be paid by the respondent-attorney within thirty days of entry of the order taxing the expenses against the respondent-attorney. The proposed change to Rule 208(g)(1) provides that all expenses taxed under this paragraph pursuant to orders of suspension or disbarment shall be paid by the respondent-attorney within thirty days after notice transmitted to such individual of taxed expenses. In all other cases of discipline imposed by the Supreme Court, which includes public censure, expenses taxed under this paragraph must be paid within thirty days of entry of the Court's order taxing the expenses.

 Rule 208(g)(2) pertains to proceedings concluded by informal admonition, private reprimand or public reprimand and provides that the Disciplinary Board has discretion to direct that the necessary expenses incurred in the investigation and prosecution of such proceedings be paid by a respondent-attorney. Currently, all expenses taxed under this paragraph must be paid by the respondent-attorney on or before the date fixed for the appearance of the respondent-attorney for the imposition of discipline. The proposed change provides that the expenses taxed must be paid within thirty days of entry of the order taxing the expenses against the respondent-attorney.

 New paragraph 208(g)(3) provides that a respondent-attorney's failure to pay taxed expenses within thirty days after the date of the entry of the order in cases other than a suspension that is not stayed in its entirety or disbarment will be deemed a request to be administratively suspended pursuant to Enforcement Rule 219(l).

 Current paragraph 208(g)(3) is renumbered as new paragraph 208(g)(4), with no substantive changes to the provisions therein.

 Rule 215(i) pertains to the costs of discipline on consent. Currently, the Disciplinary Board panel has the discretion to direct that the necessary expenses shall be paid by the attorney as a condition to the grant of the joint Petition for Discipline on Consent. The proposed change provides that all expenses taxed under the subdivision must be paid by the attorney in accordance with Rule 208(g).

 The proposed change to Rule 219(l) provides that the Disciplinary Board shall transmit by certified mail to every attorney who fails to pay any taxed expenses under Rule 208(g)(3), notice that unless the attorney pays such expenses within thirty days after the date of the notice, such failure to pay will be deemed a request to be administratively suspended. This is a minor change to provide a link to new Rule 208(g)(3).

 This packet of proposed changes to the procedures for taxing expenses and the consequences of a respondent-attorney's failure to pay taxed expenses will serve a dual purpose by streamlining the administrative process of assessing costs, thereby providing a cost savings to the Board, and enhancing the enforcement powers of the Board by giving an incentive to respondent-attorneys to pay costs in a timely manner or suffer the administrative suspension of their law licenses.

 Interested persons are invited to submit written comments by mail or facsimile regarding the proposed amendments to the Office of the Secretary, The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 601 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 5600, PO Box 62625, Harrisburg, PA 17106-2625, Facsimile number (717) 231-3382, Email address Dboard.comments@pacourts.us on or before January 2, 2017.

By the Disciplinary Board of the
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

JULIA FRANKSTON-MORRIS, Esq., 
Secretary

Annex A

TITLE 204. JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS

PART V. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND CONDUCT

Subpart B. DISCIPLINARY ENFORCEMENT

CHAPTER 83. PENNSYLVANIA RULES OF DISCIPLINARY ENFORCEMENT

Subchapter B. MISCONDUCT

Rule 208. Procedure.

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 (g) Costs.

 (1) The Supreme Court in its discretion may direct that the necessary expenses incurred in the investigation and prosecution of a proceeding which results in the imposition of discipline shall be paid by the respondent-attorney. All expenses taxed under this paragraph pursuant to orders of suspension or disbarment shall be paid by the respondent-attorney within 30 days after notice transmitted to the respondent-attorney of taxed expenses. In all other cases, expenses taxed under this paragraph shall be paid by the respondent-attorney within 30 days of entry of the order taxing the expenses against the respondent-attorney.

 (2) In the event a proceeding is concluded by informal admonition, private reprimand or public reprimand, the Board in its discretion may direct that the necessary expenses incurred in the investigation and prosecution of the proceeding shall be paid by the respondent-attorney. All expenses taxed by the Board under this paragraph shall be paid by the respondent-attorney [on or before the date fixed for the appearance of the respondent-attorney before Disciplinary Counsel for informal admonition or the Board for private or public reprimand] within 30 days of entry of the order taxing the expenses against the respondent-attorney. The expenses which shall be taxable under this paragraph shall be prescribed by Board rules.

(3) Failure to pay taxed expenses within 30 days after the date of the entry of the order taxing such expenses in cases other than a suspension that is not stayed in its entirety or disbarment will be deemed a request to be administratively suspended pursuant to Rule 219(l).

[(3)] (4) The expenses under paragraph (1) or (2) may include an administrative fee except that an administrative fee shall not be included where the discipline imposed is an informal admonition. The administrative fee shall be $250.

*  *  *  *  *

Rule 215. Discipline on consent.

*  *  *  *  *

 (i) Costs.—[The panel of the Board in its discretion may direct that the necessary expenses incurred in the investigation and prosecution of the matter shall be paid by the attorney as a condition to the grant of the Petition.] All expenses taxed under this subdivision shall be paid by the attorney [before the imposition of discipline under subdivision (f) or (g)] in accordance with Rule 208(g).

Rule 219. Annual registration of attorneys.

*  *  *  *  *

 (l) The Board shall transmit by certified mail to every attorney who fails to pay any [expenses taxed pursuant to Enforcement Rule 208(g)] taxed expenses under Enforcement Rule 208(g)(3) (relating to costs), addressed to the last known address of the attorney, a notice stating:

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[Pa.B. Doc. No. 16-2063. Filed for public inspection December 2, 2016, 9:00 a.m.]



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