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HAYMOND v. LUNDY

August 31, 2001

JOHN HAYMOND, HAYMOND NAPOLI DIAMOND, P.C.-CT
v.
MARVIN LUNDY,



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Norma L. Shapiro, S.J.

  MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

In October, 1997, John Haymond ("Haymond"), Robert Hochberg ("Hochberg") and Marvin Lundy ("Lundy") formed the law firm of Haymond & Lundy, LLP ("H&L") to practice law in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Lundy had been practicing law in Philadelphia for some time, but his previous law firm had recently been dissolved. Haymond and Hochberg were partners in a Connecticut law firm and wished to expand geographically. Under the Haymond & Lundy Partnership Agreement, Hochberg was made the Managing Partner of H&L.

H&L was dissolved in October, 1999, at which time Haymond and Lundy each filed an action against the other. The actions were consolidated, and the parties were eventually realigned with Haymond as plaintiff.

Lundy, answering Haymond's complaint, asserted a counterclaim against Hochberg for unauthorized practice of law. Lundy argued Hochberg, who has never been admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: (1) failed to apply for readmittance in Pennsylvania after his disbarment in Massachusetts and consequent suspension in Connecticut; and (2) repeatedly misrepresented that he was licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania.

Lundy requested relief in the form of a permanent injunction against Hochberg. The court held a non-jury trial on Lundy's claim against Hochberg.*fn1 In accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a), the court enters the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

I. Findings of Fact:

1. In 1996 Robert Hochberg was licensed to practice law in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. At that time, Hochberg was a partner in John Haymond, P.C. Tr. Jan. 17, 2001, at 64-65. The firm practiced in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. Id. Hochberg served as the Managing Partner of that firm. Tr. Jan. 17, 2001, at 66.
2. In 1996, Haymond, Hochberg and Lundy began discussing the formation of a partnership to practice law in the Philadelphia area. Tr. Jan. 17, 2001, at 66-70.
3. On May 7, 1996, Hochberg was indicted by a grand jury of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on two counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Tr. Jan. 17, 2001, at 15; L. Ex. 8.*fn2
4. Negotiations between Lundy, Hochberg and Haymond continued over the terms of a partnership to practice law in Philadelphia; at some point in these negotiations, Lundy was informed of Hochberg's indictment. Tr. Jan. 19, 2001, at 129-130.
5. On August 4, 1997, Hochberg pled guilty to one count of the Massachusetts indictment. L. Ex. 19.
6. Haymond, Hochberg and Lundy formed the law firm of Haymond & Lundy, LLP in October, 1997. P. Ex. 1.
7. After the formation of Haymond & Lundy, LLP, Haymond began using the name Haymond & Lundy as a trade name for his Connecticut firm, John Haymond, P.C. The Connecticut firm remained a separate corporate entity. The Connecticut firm will be referred to as John Haymond, P.C. t/a Haymond & Lundy, LLP.
8. The Haymond & Lundy Partnership Agreement provided that Hochberg would hold a ten-percent interest in H&L. P. Ex. 1., § 3.01. It also provided that Hochberg would serve as Managing Partner of H&L. P. Ex. 1., § 5.02. He was to supervise the "day-to-day business and administration of the Partnership." Id. After H&L's formation, Hochberg worked at the Philadelphia office of H&L two or three days per week. Tr. Feb 21, 2001, at 130-31.
9. Robert Hochberg is not now, nor has he ever been, licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Tr. Jan. 17, 2001, at 15.
10. Hochberg's name was listed among the attorneys on the sign outside H&L's office at 1600 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA. L. Ex. 25; Tr. Jan. 31, 2001, at 10-11 & 156. The sign did not specify the jurisdictions in which he was authorized to practice law, nor that he was not licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. L. Ex. 25.
11. As the firm's Managing Partner, Hochberg directed the lawyers at H&L. He assigned attorneys to cases and directed when certain actions should be taken with regard to cases. See, e.g., Tr. Jan. 31, 2001, at 154-56 (Hochberg directed an attorney not to pursue post-trial motions and instituted a policy that all attorneys should immediately file suit in client cases involving a specific insurance company.). He occasionally attended morning meetings at which the status of H&L cases was discussed. When participating in these meetings, Hochberg gave his advice and opinion on case management and strategy. Tr. Jan. 31, 2001, at 11-14, 141-42.
12. Former associates at H&L testified that they felt obligated to follow Hochberg's recommendations on litigation strategy because Hochberg was the Managing Partner. Tr. Jan. 31, 2001, at 45 & 142-43.
13. On November 17, 1997, Hochberg was sentenced in Massachusetts on his plea of guilty to a conspiracy count; he received three years probation, and was required to pay restitution of $71,500 and a fine of $50. Tr. Jan. 17, 2001, at 15.
14. On November 18, 1997, the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued an order disbarring Hochberg. Tr. Jan. 17, 2001, at 15.
15. After his disbarment in Massachusetts, Hochberg's name was removed from the Massachusetts office letterhead of John Haymond, P.C. t/a Haymond & Lundy. Tr. Feb 22, 2001, at 23 & 25. The lawyers in that office were instructed that Hochberg was not to be involved in cases or talk to clients. Tr. Feb 22, 2001, at 23.
16. On November 26, 1997, the Statewide Grievance Committee for the State of Connecticut, initiated an action to discipline Hochberg for his Massachusetts conviction. L. Ex. 44, at 1-2.
17. On April 17, 1998, Hochberg's license to practice law in Connecticut was suspended on an interim basis. L. Ex. 44, at 4; Tr. Jan. 17, 2001, at 92.
18. In response to his suspension in Connecticut, a meeting was held at the Connecticut office of John Haymond, P.C. t/a Haymond & Lundy, and steps were taken to ensure that Hochberg's name would not appear on the Connecticut office's letterhead and that he would not have contact with clients. Tr. Feb. 22, 2001, at 26. Haymond also notified the banks that handled the accounts for the Connecticut and Massachusetts offices and asked that Hochberg's name be removed from those accounts. Tr. Feb. 22, 2001, at 27.
19. On the date of his suspension in Connecticut, Hochberg transferred his interest in H&L to Haymond under a Conditional Agreement dated November 29, 1997. Tr. Jan. 17, 2001, at 91-92; Tr. Feb. 21, 2001, at 127; P. Ex. 49.
20. Hochberg knew that, after the suspension of his license to practice in Connecticut, he was no longer permitted to practice law in any jurisdiction. Tr. Feb 21, 2001, at 127. Hochberg was also aware that he was neither an owner, nor a partner of H&L after his Connecticut license was suspended. Tr. Feb 21, 2001, at 127.
21. No meeting with H&L's staff was ever held to discuss his disbarment in Massachusetts or suspension in Connecticut, nor was he removed as a signatory on the Philadelphia or New Jersey bank accounts. Tr. Feb. 22, 2001, at 27-28.
22. Hochberg continued to work at the Philadelphia office two or three days a week. Tr. Feb 21, 2001, at 130-31.
23. Throughout his suspension and disbarment, Hochberg's name continued to appear on the sign listing the lawyers of H&L outside the entrance to its Philadelphia office. Tr. Jan. 31, 2001, at 12 & 156; Tr. Feb. 21, 2001, at 131.
24. Hochberg's name also continued to appear on H&L letterhead with the designation "CT," as if he were licensed to practice law in the state of Connecticut. Tr. Jan. 31, 2001, at 77-78. He wrote to other attorneys on this letterhead during his suspension. See, e.g., L. Ex. 98.
25. Hochberg signed marketing agreements, leases and other business documents on behalf of H&L as "Managing Partner" or as a "partner." Tr. Feb. ...

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