In re Rosellini

646 P.2d 122 (1982)

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In re Rosellini

Washington Supreme Court
646 P.2d 122 (1982)

Facts

The Washington Disciplinary Board (board) (plaintiff) charged attorney John M. Rosellini (defendant) with violations of the rules of the Discipline Rules for Attorneys and the Code of Professional Responsibility governing trust funds. These charges, to which Rosellini admitted, related to Rosellini’s handling of client funds held in trust. On one occasion, Rosellini deposited $10,000 from a client’s estate in his trust account. Although these funds were supposed to be paid to the client’s children, Rosellini did not disburse the funds until more than 16 months later, when a complaint was filed against him with the state bar association. Although Rosellini signed an affidavit swearing under oath that all trust funds were kept in his account in the manner required by law—which prohibited the commingling of funds and delaying the disbursal of trust funds—Rosellini later admitted to using the funds to pay for personal expenses. Further, Rosellini admitted that the funds used to pay the overdue disbursement were themselves trust funds belonging to another client. The board’s hearing-panel officer found 14 violations and recommended that Rosellini be disbarred. The board adopted the hearing-panel officer’s findings. Rosellini appealed to the Washington Supreme Court, requesting that he be suspended and not disbarred.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brachtenbach, C.J.)

Dissent (Dolliver, J.)

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