Leonardtown Attorney Reprimanded by Grievance Commission

By Guy Leonard, guyleonard [at] countytimes.net

HOLLYWOOD, Md.—Daun Weiers, a longtime Leonardtown attorney who has been practicing on a limited basis, has been reprimanded by the state’s Attorney Grievance Commission for not removing from his trust account fees he had earned representing a real estate company and was also chastised for not cooperating fully with the body that polices attorney conduct.

The commission filed the complaint in April of last year, alleging violations of the Maryland Lawyers Rules of Professional Conduct.

According to court filings the charges were a result of Weiers failure to keep time records, paying himself from a retainer with the Crescendo Realty, LLC company without getting his client’s permission, errors in his trust ledger and failing to withdraw the remainder of his retainer in a reasonable time frame.

The ruling by Prince George’s Circuit Court Judge Cathy H. Serrette centered on a business relationship between one Van Hulamm, with the realty company and Weiers back in 2009 for legal services.

Weiers was paid a $1,000 retainer fee and charged $150 per hour plus $30 per phone call and letter, according to the court ruling, for his legal services on the question of removing a fence from a neighboring property that blocked a parking lot used by the realty company.

By early 2010 the fence was removed and Hulamm asked for the refund of the retainer fee, which was refunded in part to the tune of $500 but not until January of 2012. When the commission asked Weiers for records of the retainer agreement Weiers responded that he did not have a written agreement or time records, the ruling stated.

A September 2012 letter from the commission to Weiers stated he might be in violation of attorney conduct rules. The judge ruled that during the years long dispute Weiers actually wound up providing what amounted to free legal services to Hulamm.

“[Weiers] was not faultless, however,” Serrette wrote in her ruling. “Respondant’s failure to keep time sheets and to bill accordingly led to Mr. Hulamm’s insistence that he was due a refund although respondant had earned his fee.”

Moreover, Serrette stated, Weier’s failure to pay himself in a timely manner resulted in commingling of earned and unearned money in his trust account, which is forbidden under state rules.

According to Serrette’s ruling Weiers had contended that the grievance commission had never actually told him how he had violated the rules of conduct. One of Weiers responses to bar counsel was called “inflammatory.”

“I do not know what misconduct you are investigating and I don’t think you do either,” Weiers wrote according to court documents. “Your latest demand appears to be a desperate attempt to justify the time you have wasted so far… I don’t know if you are on a witch-hunt, a personal vendetta, a fishing expedition, or if you don’t have enough to do, but I’ve had my fill of you. So either file a complaint or get the hell off my back.”

The ruling stated that Weiers failure to remove funds promptly from his trust account was not “motivated by a selfish desire” and further stated his actions did not cause any harm to his clients and that Weiers has no history of offenses with the grievance commission.

Calls to Weiers listed office in Leonardtown were unsuccessful as the number was not in service.

Read more local news stories from the County Times online at ct.somd.com

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