On Friday, April 7, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility recommended that the petition for the negotiated discipline to suspend attorney George Teitelbaum be rejected pending further developments in the case.

The case is entitled “In the matter of George A. Teitelbaum,” and was brought by the Hearing Committee with case no. 22-BG-0906.

On November 29, 2022, Hearing Committee No. 10 of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals recommended the approval of the negotiated discipline to suspend the respondent for his failure to maintain complete records while handling his entrusted funds.

The Amended Petition for Negotiated Discipline states:

“Pursuant to District of Columbia Court of Appeals Rules Governing the Bar prescribed by Rule X and Rule XI, §12.1 (D.C. Bar R.) and Board Rule 17.3, Disciplinary Counsel and Respondent respectfully submit this petition for negotiated discipline in the above-captioned matter. Pursuant to D.C. Bar R. XI, §1(a), jurisdiction is found because Respondent is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.”

The respondent was appointed as co-personal representative of the Estate of Ora Lee Workman. He and Mr. Morgan shared administrative duties in handling the estate. The respondent did the probate accountings based on the information provided by Mr. Morgan. Mr. Morgan has instructed the respondent to contact the bank and arrange to get monthly statements in order to properly track and manage the estate’s assets.

However, attorney Teitelbaum allegedly engaged in misconduct by failing to ensure that the funds are properly disbursed and failing to account for the bank fees, which later on resulted in a bank notice that the estate account was overdrawn by $256.81. The respondent was unable to explain and made no effort to investigate what caused the overdraft.

On January 31, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility rejected the recommendation to suspend the respondent. This is for the reason that the Hearing Committee expressed reservations as to whether the proposed sanction in lieu of the violation was justified because it also recognized that “whether Respondent’s overdraft from the estate account involved misappropriation depends on the application of the law to the agreed-upon facts”. For these reasons, the court stated that since the current record has not been fully developed on the misappropriation issue, they cannot be sure that Disciplinary Counsel has not offered an unduly lenient sanction.

The recommendation states:

“For the foregoing reasons, we recommend that the Court reject the Hearing Committee’s recommendation.”

In the current filing of a supplemental report and recommendation, the Board recommended that the petition for the negotiated discipline be also rejected, without prejudice to refiling, following further factual development.

The Supplemental Report and Recommendation state:

“There was no question about the misconduct in those cases, and that permitted an analysis of the propriety of the sanction. Here, as in Harris – Lindsey and Burke, because this record contains questions regarding the underlying misconduct, we recommend that the petition be rejected, without prejudice to refiling, following further factual development.”

Mr. Teitelbaum attended Washington College of Law of the American University, graduating in 1980. He practices in Washington, District of Columbia. His info can be found on lawyers.justia.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.