Where attorney Eric L. Crandall attempted to “strong-arm” a client into withdrawing a grievance, a five month suspension is appropriate.
“Turning to the question of the appropriate level of discipline, we conclude that a five-month suspension is proper in this case. Like the referee, we are most troubled by Attorney Crandall’s letter to D.P. demanding payment of an additional $4,045 and the withdrawal of D.P.’s grievance. While the letter does not explicitly state that Attorney Crandall would forego the $4,045 in fees in exchange for the withdrawal of the grievance, given the fact that Attorney Crandall had never before alleged that D.P. owed him additional money, it is clear that the claim for an additional $4,045 in fees was retaliation for D.P.’s grievance and an incentive for D.P. to withdraw that grievance. Although the investigation would have continued even if D.P. had ‘withdrawn’ the grievance, the letter is a serious violation of Attorney Crandall’s obligation to cooperate with the OLR’s investigation.”
2008AP570-D OLR v. Crandall