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Lemon Law Firm Gets Sour Sanction

Remember Kimmel & Silverman, the Pennsylvania lemon-law firm? I wrote about them here in June, picking up on a post by my colleague Carolyn Elefant at her blog My Shingle. She described a law practice "franchise" gone bad that started when the Pennsylvania firm hired an inexperienced lawyer, Robyn Glassman-Katz, to operate a branch office in Owings Mills, Md. In just a year with the firm, she filed more than 500 cases, some in the wrong venue, and had 47 dismissed purely because of her failure to respond to discovery motions.

When last we left off, Glassman-Katz had consented to disbarment and firm principals Craig T. Kimmel and Robert M. Silverman both faced indefinite suspension in Maryland. Now from the Maryland legal newspaper The Daily Record comes news that the state's highest court has ruled that Kimmel and Silverman should be indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in Maryland, with the right to reapply after 90 days.

A 5-2 majority of the court sharply criticized the firm for improper supervision of Glassman-Katz, which led to, as Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. put it, "matters ultimately [going] to Hades in a handbasket."

"In this business model and practice setting, a relatively inexperienced attorney was stationed alone in an office physically remote from the critical mass of the firm and directed to begin filing numerous cases as rapidly as possible," Harrell wrote.

Although the court's opinion faults the lemon-law lawyers for their failure to supervise the Maryland office, it concludes they were anything but bad apples. Upon learning the extent of the backlog in their Maryland office, Kimmel and Silverman undertook "intense, immediate, and largely effective recovery efforts," the court notes. "We are persuaded that Respondents understand where they erred and are unlikely to repeat history."

Given the lawyers' response and their lack of any prior discipline, the court decided to impose the minimum "sit-out" period of 90 days. It seems a fair outcome, one over which these lemon-law lawyers should have no sour grapes.

[Hat tip to ABA Journal's Law News Now.]

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on September 4, 2008 at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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