Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Robert M.A. Nadeau

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Docket No.: BAR-19-7

Issued by: Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Date: April 27, 2020

Respondent: Robert M.A. Nadeau

Bar Number: 007460

Order: Order

Disposition/Conduct: Reinstatement Petition Denied


This matter is before the court pursuant to Me. Bar R. 29 on Mr. Nadeau’s petition for reinstatement of his license to practice law in the State of Maine. For the reasons stated below, the petition is denied.

Petitioner Robert M.A. Nadeau was suspended for two years by order of the Court dated June 20, 2017; commencement of the suspension was later stayed until October 1, 2017. On September 17, 2019, Mr. Nadeau petitioned the Court for reinstatement of his license to practice law. The petition was opposed by the Board of Overseers of the Bar, and the matter was set for hearing on Monday, February 3, 2020 in front of a panel of the Grievance Commission pursuant to Me. Bar R. 29(g).

Over the weekend before the hearing, Petitioner purported to withdraw his petition for reinstatement, a move to which the Board objected. Petitioner was notified that the hearing would go forward on February 3. Petitioner stated he would not appear, acknowledging that the matter would proceed by default. On February 3, 2020, Petitioner did not appear for the hearing, and the matter proceeded by default.

On February 4, 2020, Petitioner filed a "Notice of Withdrawal" of his Petition for Reinstatement with the Court. The Board again objected to the withdrawal of the petition without any consequence.

On February 14, 2020, Panel D of the Grievance Commission issued its Report following the default hearing held on February 3, 2020. The Panel specifically recommended as follows:

The Panel recommends that the Court default Petitioner for his failure to appear in this matter, and order that he cannot apply for reinstatement for at least one year from the date of its order, pursuant to M. Bar R. 29(h). In the alternative, should the Court decide to allow Petitioner to dismiss his Petition for Reinstatement, the Panel recommends that such a dismissal be with prejudice and have the same effect as an adverse judgment against him, pursuant to M. Bar R. 29(h).

Neither party has filed any objection to the panel’s report. Pursuant to Me. Bar R. 29(h), this matter is now in order for the decision of the Court, which may be issued without hearing.

The first question is the effect of Petitioner’s "Notice of Withdrawal" of the petition for reinstatement filed with this Court after the Grievance Panel hearing. To permit withdrawal of a reinstatement petition after the Grievance Panel hearing would allow every petitioner to avoid an adverse result. Instead, Rule 29(h) provides that the Court "shall review" the report, and "shall, with or without hearing issue its decision." There is no provision in the Bar Rules to withdraw a reinstatement petition at this stage; the "Notice" has no effect, and the Court shall issue its decision.

Upon review of the panel report and all other materials submitted, the petition for reinstatement of Robert M.A. Nadeau is denied. Petitioner has failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that he has met each of the criteria set forth in Me. Bar R. 29(e) or that there is good and sufficient reason why he should nevertheless be reinstated. Petitioner may not reapply for reinstatement for at least one year following the date of this judgment.

This order may be incorporated on the docket of the case by reference.

Dated: April 27, 2020

Justice Valerie Stanfill, Maine Superior Court
Associate Justice by designation
Maine Supreme Judicial Court