Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Paul A. Weeks, Esq.
Docket No.: GCF# 09-073
Issued by: Grievance Commission
Date: February 23, 2010
Respondent: Paul A. Weeks, Esq.
Bar Number: 002216
Stipulated Report of Findings and Order of Panel E of the Grievance Commission
On February 23, 2010, with due notice, Panel E of the Grievance Commission conducted a public disciplinary hearing pursuant to Maine Bar Rule 7.1(e)(2)(E), concerning misconduct by the Respondent, Paul A. Weeks, Esq. This disciplinary proceeding had been commenced by the filing of a stipulated Disciplinary Petition by the Board of Overseers of the Bar (the Board) on October 21, 2009.
At the hearing, Attorney Weeks was represented by Attorney Peter J. DeTroy, and the Board was represented by Assistant Bar Counsel Aria Eee. Christopher Greer of Dayville, Connecticut did attend the hearing. Prior to the disciplinary proceeding, the parties had submitted a stipulated, proposed sanction Report for the Grievance Commission Panel’s review and consideration. Additionally, the Panel accepted and admitted into evidence by agreement of the parties all of the Board’s exhibits.
Having reviewed the agreed, proposed findings as presented by counsel, the Panel makes the following disposition:
Respondent Paul A. Weeks (Weeks) of Bangor, County of Penobscot, State of Maine, has been at all times relevant hereto an attorney duly admitted to and engaging in the practice of law in the State of Maine and subject to the Maine Bar Rules. Attorney Weeks was admitted to the Maine Bar in 1980 and he is currently registered as an active Maine attorney.
On February 25, 2009, Christopher and Karen Greer filed a complaint with the Board of Overseers regarding a contract dispute. In 2003 the Greers employed a Maine boat builder to complete and outfit a 36-foot fiberglass hull. The work was never finished and that which was done was not satisfactory. Attorney Weeks was hired in the summer of 2005 by the Greers to recover possession of the boat and to seek damages.
Following depositions and mediation which occurred over approximately two (2) years, a default judgment was granted in favor of the Greers. The Greers submitted information to Attorney Weeks to have him file affidavits outlining their damage claims, but no affidavit was ever filed by Weeks with the court. Hence, the deadline passed in October of 2007 and the court awarded damages to the Greers in the amount of $1.00 plus court costs.
The then effective Code of Professional Responsibility specifically required attorneys to uphold their responsibilities to clients and the courts. Due to Attorney Weeks’ above-outlined failures, the Greers were unable to obtain a judgment for the damages they sustained, were misled as to the status of their case and then endured a lack of response to their inquiries. The Panel notes that Attorney Paul A. Weeks has taken responsibility for his lapses. At the disciplinary hearing, Attorney Weeks expressed his remorse for his serious violation of 3.6(a)(3) of the then applicable Code of Professional Responsibility.
M. Bar. R. 2(a) provides that the purpose of bar disciplinary proceedings is not punishment, but rather the protection of the public from attorneys who, by their conduct, have demonstrated that they are unable, or likely to be unable, to discharge properly their professional duties. Since the evidence supports a finding and Attorney Weeks agrees that he did in fact violate the then effective Code of Professional Responsibility, the Panel finds that a public reprimand serves those purposes.
Moreover, given the serious nature of Attorney Weeks’ neglect of his clients, the Panel agrees with counsel’s proposal that a monitor should be appointed to review and assist Attorney Weeks with managing his practice. The monitor process shall be implemented for a one year period and the intention is that the monitor shall evaluate all aspects of Attorney Weeks’ practice. Those aspects shall include but not be limited to client intake, client communications and disclosure between the lawyer and the monitor of any personal issues, if they arise, that would affect Attorney Weeks’ ability to comply with his ethical duties.
Therefore, the Panel accepts the agreement of the parties, including Attorney Weeks’ waiver of the right to file a Petition for Review, and concludes that the appropriate disposition of this case is a Public Reprimand to Paul A. Weeks, Esq. which is now hereby issued and imposed upon him pursuant to M. Bar R. 7.1(e)(3)(C)(4). Additionally, Attorney Weeks shall submit his practice of law to the monitoring of Stephen C. Packard, Esq. of Newport, Maine for a period of one year.
For the Parties
Jacqueline L.L. Gomes, Assistant Bar Counsel
Paul A. Weeks, Esq., Respondent
Peter J. DeTroy, Esq., Attorney for Respondent Weeks
For the Panel
Grievance Commission Panel E
John C. Hunt, Esq., Panel Chair
Ann M. Courtney, Esq.
Marjorie M. Medd