Board of Overseers of the Bar v. John H. Branson, Esq.

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Docket No.: BAR-18-15

Issued by: Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Date: September 27, 2018

Respondent: John H. Branson, Esq.

Bar Number: 007632

Order: Receiver Appointment

Disposition/Conduct: Receiver Appointment

Order for Appointment of Receiver

M. Bar R. 32

Upon consideration of Petition filed by the Board of Overseers of the Bar (Board), the Court Orders the following:

As of this date, the Board is appointed as the Receiver of John H. Branson’s law practice. As such the Board shall have the sole authority to:

  1. Secure the professional files, client funds and file property of the Branson law office;
  2. Obtain signatory authority over all Branson law office bank accounts (IOLTA and operating/office accounts);
  3. Obtain access to Branson’s computer hardware and software (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;
  5. Give priority attention to client matters which are open and time sensitive;

  6. Notify all courts that the Board is serving as Attorney Branson’s Receiver until further order of this Court;
  7. Notify clients or former clients that the Board is serving as Receiver to the Branson law practice and provide opportunity for clients to consult with the Receiver or retrieve their property; and
  8. The Receiver shall access and utilize Branson’s operating and IOLTA accounts to prudently and appropriately manage the practice. The Receiver may pay expenses, as she deems appropriate given available funds or anticipated receivables to the firm. The Receiver may take other action as necessary and appropriate to formally manage the Branson law practice.

As a service to the bar, the Board acknowledges that it shall serve as Receiver on a pro bono basis, although if there are sufficient assets (including receivables) from Branson’s law practice, the Board may be reimbursed from those assets.

Likewise, the Receiver shall submit an itemized list of any disbursements made to effect the terms of this Order. Attorney Branson shall be the first choice for source of payment for those disbursements. If insufficient assets are available from Attorney Branson, the Board shall undertake payment for those disbursements.

The Board shall act as Receiver until discharged by the Court either by Motion or in accordance with M. Bar R 32.

The Board 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).

The Board 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 Receiver shall file a status report with the Court.

Dated: September 27, 2018

Roland A. Cole
Superior Court Chief Justice
Sitting as Single Justice by designation