Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Clarence H. Spurling

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Docket No.: BAR-20-8

Issued by: Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Date: September 15, 2020

Respondent: Clarence H. Spurling

Bar Number: 007416

Order: Receiver Appointment

Disposition/Conduct: Receiver Appointment

Order for Appointment of Co-Receivers

M. Bar R. 32

This Court Orders the following:

As of this date, Attorney Kevin P. Sullivan and the Board of Overseers of the Bar, through its Special Counsel, Angela Morse, Esq., are appointed as the Co-Receivers of Clarence (Skip) H. Spurling’s law practice. As such, the Co-Receivers, acting jointly or individually, shall have the sole authority to:

  1. Take over the Spurling law office and access and secure the professional files, client funds, and file property of that law office;
  2. Obtain signatory authority over all Spurling law office bank accounts (IOLTA and operating/office accounts);
  3. Obtain access to Mr. Spurling’s computer hardware and software; including any mobile devices and cellular telephones (together with required passwords), and any post office boxes to secure all law office or legal mail;
  4. Inventory the open and if necessary, the closed client files, and to safeguard those files, but not to provide files or file contents to Mr. Spurling;
  5. Give priority attention to client matters which are open and time sensitive;

  6. Notify all courts that Attorney Sullivan and the Board are serving as Mr. Spurling’s law office Co-Receivers until further order of this Court;
  7. Notify clients or former clients that Attorney Sullivan and the Board are serving as Receivers of the Spurling law practice and provide opportunity for clients to consult with the Receivers or retrieve their property; and
  8. The Receivers shall access and utilize Mr. Spurling’s operating and IOLTA accounts to prudently and appropriately wind down the practice. The Receivers may pay expenses, as they deem appropriate given available funds or anticipated receivables to the firm. The Receivers have the sole authority to collect office receivables. The Receivers may also hire temporary office staff and take other action as necessary and appropriate to manage the Spurling law practice.

As a service to the bar, Attorney Sullivan and the Board acknowledge that they shall serve as Co-Receivers on a pro bono basis, although if there are sufficient assets (including receivables) at six-month intervals, from Mr. Spurling’s law practice, the Receivers may be reimbursed from those assets. The Receivers shall submit a quarterly written report to the Court and the Board of Overseers of the Bar containing a record of time worked.

Likewise, the Receivers shall submit an itemized list of any disbursements made to effect the terms of this Order. Mr. Spurling and his law practice shall be the first choice for source of payment for those disbursements. If insufficient assets are available from Mr. Spurling, the Board of Overseers of the Bar may be an alternative payment source for those disbursements.

Attorney Sullivan and the Board shall act as Receivers until discharged by the Court either by Motion or in accordance with M. Bar R 32.

The Receivers, so appointed, shall not disclose any information contained in any file listed in the inventory without the consent of the client to whom such file relates except as may be necessary to carry out an order of court including any order under M. Bar R. 32(a).

Furthermore, Attorney Sullivan may be engaged by any former client of Mr. Spurling’s provided that the Receiver informs such client in writing that the client is free to choose to employ any attorney, and that the Court’s appointment order does not mandate or recommend the Receiver’s employment by the client.

The Receivers are subject to all Maine Rules of Professional Conduct, including M. R. Prof Conduct 1.7; 1.8; and 1.9 regarding conflicts of interest. A client’s retention of Attorney Sullivan as successor counsel is not a per se conflict of interest solely by reason of appointment by this Order.

Attorney Sullivan and the Board through its Special Counsel shall be protected from liability for professional services rendered in accordance with this Order.

Finally, within one-hundred and twenty (120) days of this Order, the Receivers shall file a status report with the Court.

Dated: September 15, 2020

Valerie Stanfill
Justice, Superior Court
Sitting as Single Justice by designation