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In re Discipline of Steinberg

May 12, 2009

IN RE: DISCIPLINE OF ARNOLD YALE STEINBERG ATTORNEY PA I.D. NO. 26495 A MEMBER OF THE BAR OF THE UNITED ELECTRONICALLY STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

Recommendation of Disbarrment to Board of Judges

I. Introduction

This is a miscellaneous action on the issue of whether this Court should impose reciprocal discipline or disbarrment on consent or resignation of Arnold Yale Steinberg ("Steinberg"), based upon his consent to disbarrment before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. After careful consideration, the undersigned recommends the disbarrment of Steinberg pursuant to Local Rule 83.3.3(D) and/or Local Rule 83.3.4(A).*fn1

II. Background

An investigation by the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that culminated in the filing of a Petition for Discipline on December 13, 2007, revealed the alleged mishandling of or misappropriation of funds of several clients over a substantial period of time by Steinberg. Upon the advice of Steinberg's (former) able counsel, Craig E. Simpson, Steinberg issued his resignation on consent from the Bar of Pennsylvania on April 18, 2008. Pursuant thereto, Steinberg filed his counseled resignation statement under Rule 215 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement. The resignation statement specifically averred that Steinberg was "fully aware the execution of this Resignation Statement is irrevocable and that once the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issues an Order disbarring him on consent, he can only apply for reinstatement to the practice of law pursuant to the provisions of Rule 218(b), Pa. R.D.E."

On November 15, 2008, Steinberg filed a pro se Motion to Withdraw his Statement of Resignation with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In support thereof, Steinberg alleged inter alia that because he was recovering from open heart surgery and was physically and mentally exhausted in the aftermath of this procedure, he should be permitted to withdraw his resignation, and/or that a special master be appointed to determine whether a less severe sanction might be warranted, including whether he might be permitted to practice law in the capacity of public service (legal aid, or public defender).

On November 26, 2008, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed an Answer to Steinberg's Motion to Withdraw his Statement of Resignation and argued that Steinberg tendered his resignation freely and voluntarily and that he was not subject to coercion or duress. Steinberg filed a Reply to the Answer and stated, among other things, that he did not have the stamina or cognitive abilities to fight the disciplinary charges that were pending against him at the time of his resignation and that his resignation was tendered under duress.

On December 30, 2008, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania entered a Per Curiam Order accepting Steinberg's resignation, and on January 21, 2009, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania further entered a Per Curiam Order denying Steinberg's Motion for Reconsideration. (See 09-cv-00086, doc. nos. 1-3 and 1-4).*fn2

On January 9, 2009, Chief Judge Donetta Ambrose issued an order to show cause why an identical order of "disbarred on consent" should not be entered by this Court. (Doc. No. 1). Steinberg has since filed his response to the Rule to Show Cause and exhibit thereto. (Doc. Nos. 2 and 4).

The Honorable Maurice Cohill, Jr. requested and received documents from Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Mark Weitzman, which were previously filed during the disciplinary proceedings before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.*fn3

Thereafter, this matter was assigned to a member of this Court, pursuant to Local Rule 83.3.3(D).*fn4

III. Discussion

As discussed in footnote number one hereinabove, it would appear that Local Rule 83.3.4, entitled "Disbarrment on Consent or Resignation," is ...


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