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Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Kendrick

943 A.2d 1173 (2008)

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Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Kendrick

Maryland Court of Appeals

943 A.2d 1173 (2008)

Facts

Judith Kerr died in 1999 having appointed her brother, Oliver Kerr, and her close friend Karin Kendrick (defendant), an attorney, to become co-personal representatives over Judith’s $60,000 estate. Evidently Kendrick had no experience in probate matters, did not know how to administer an estate, and repeatedly failed to file many of the necessary documents. The court issued multiple delinquency notices directing Kendrick and Oliver to file the documents and granted extensions they failed to meet, followed by summonses and requests to show cause why the documents had not been filed. In one instance, the court issued no less than six delinquency notices for failure to make requisite filings. Despite repeated interactions with the probate court, Oliver and Kendrick did not seek assistance in administering Judith’s estate. After three years, the court itself initiated a petition to remove them as co-personal representatives, removed them, and ordered them to file a final administration account and turn over all assets and financial records within 30 days. Oliver and Kendrick failed to do so, resulting in civil contempt sanctions. All told, it took nearly nine years to close Judith’s estate. The following year, the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland (plaintiff) filed grievance proceedings seeking sanctions against Kendrick. The judge concluded that Kendrick violated the ethics rule requiring competence, and Kendrick appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Greene, J.)

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