Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Judith W. Thornton
Docket No.: BAR-12-6
Issued by: Supreme Judicial Court
Date: August 6, 2012
Respondent: Judith W. Thornton
Bar Number: 003807
Order: Receiver Appointment
Disposition/Conduct: Appointment of Limited Receiver
Order for Appointment of Limited Receiver M. Bar R. 7.3(f)(1)
After Petition filed by the Board of Overseers, pursuant to M. Bar R. 7.3(f), the Court Orders the following:
As of this date, Robert J. Stolt, Esq. is appointed the Limited Receiver of (suspended attorney) Judith W. Thornton's law practice. Pursuant to this Order, Attorney Stolt shall:
- secure the professional files, client property and client data of Ms. Thornton;
- inventory the closed client files;
- notify former clients that the law practice has concluded and provide opportunity for those clients to retrieve their property.
- As a service to the bar, Attorney Stolt has agreed to serve as this Receiver on a pro bono basis. He shall submit a quarterly written report to the Court and the Board of Overseers of the Bar containing a record of time worked and disbursements made in this matter. Ms. Thornton (or her Estate) shall be the first choice for Source of payment for those disbursements. If insufficient assets are available from Ms. Thornton, the Board of Overseers of the Bar may be an alternate payment source for those disbursements.
- Attorney Stolt shall act as Receiver until discharged by the Court either by Motion or in accordance with paragraph 3 of M. Bar R 7.3(f).
- Attorney Stolt so appointed shall not disclose any information contained in any file listed in such 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 7.3(f).
Furthermore, Attorney Stolt may be engaged by any former client of Ms. Thornton provided that he 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. Attorney Stolt is subject to all Maine Rules of Professional Conduct, including M. R. Prof Conduct 1.7; 1.8 and 1.9 regarding conflicts of interest. However, a client's retention of the Receiver(s) as successor counsel is not a per se conflict of interest solely by reason of Attorney Stolt's appointment by this Order. Attorney Stolt shall be protected from liability for professional services rendered in accordance with this Order to the extent permitted by law.
Once Ms. Thornton is served with this Order or otherwise becomes aware of it, she shall cooperate with any request by Attorney Stolt and the Board to assist with the delivery and disposition of her client files.
Finally, within one hundred twenty-five (125) days of this Order, the Receiver shall file a status report with the Court, with a copy to the Board of Overseers of the Bar.
For the Court
Ellen A. Gorman, Associate Justice Maine Supreme Judicial Court