Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Kourtesis

Court of Appeals of Maryland

March 24, 2014

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND
v.
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTIS KOURTESIS

Argued December 5, 2013.

As Corrected May 5, 2014.

Lydia E. Lawless, Assistant Bar Counsel (Glenn M. Grossmanm Bar Counsel, Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland) FOR PETITIONER.

Robert N. Levin, Esq. (The Law Offices of Robert N. Levin, P.C., Gaithersburg, MD) FOR RESPONDENT.

Barbera, C.J., Harrell, Greene, Adkins, McDonald, Watts, Rodowsky, Lawrence F. (Retired, Specially Assigned), JJ. Opinion by Harrell, J.

OPINION

Page 1232

[437 Md. 438] Harrell, J.

This reciprocal disciplinary action involves Nikolaos Panagiotis Kourtesis, who was admitted to the Bar of this Court on 17 December 1997 and to the Bar of the District of Columbia on 14 November 2005. On 14 February 2013, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals suspended indefinitely Kourtesis from the practice of law in the District of Columbia, and ordered further that pending disciplinary charges filed against him in the District be held in abeyance due to his self-professed disability preventing him from defending himself (or assisting his counsel in the defense) against the charges. On [437 Md. 439] 10 March 2013, the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland, through Bar Counsel, filed, pursuant to Maryland Rules 16-751 and 16-773, a Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action, attaching to the Petition a certified copy of the 14 February 2013 Order of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

On 20 March 2013, we issued a Show Cause Order. Bar Counsel responded on 17 May 2013, asking that reciprocal sanction (indefinite suspension) be imposed against Kourtesis in this State. In response, Kourtesis urged us to refer the matter to a judge of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County (where Respondent maintains an office for the practice of law) for an evidentiary hearing prior to acting on the request by Bar Counsel for his indefinite suspension. We hold that a separate hearing to determine his fitness to practice law in this State is inappropriate at present. Rather, we order that Kourtesis be placed on inactive status, the most analogous remedy in this State, until further order by this Court.

I. UNDISPUTED FACTS

A. Proceedings in the District of Columbia

On 25 May and 12 July 2012, counsel for the Board on Professional Responsibility filed " Specifications of Charges" against Kourtesis in the District of Columbia based on allegations arising from his representation of certain clients in personal injury matters.[1] On 7 August 2012, Kourtesis filed his Answer. Prior to a merits adjudication of these charges, Kourtesis petitioned in December of 2012 for his suspension and the abeyance of the pending disciplinary charges due to his disability, pursuant to a special procedure in the District of Columbia. D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 13(e), which governs this procedure, provides:

[437 Md. 440] If, in the course of a disciplinary proceeding, the attorney claims to be suffering from a disability because of mental or physical illness or infirmity, or because of addiction to drugs or intoxicants, which makes it impossible for the attorney to present an adequate defense,

Page 1233

the Court shall enter an order immediately suspending the attorney from the practice of law until a determination is made of the attorney's capacity to practice law in a proceeding under subsection (c) of this section.

As grounds for his motion, Kourtesis asserted that he suffered from depression, making it impossible (indefinitely) to defend himself in the disciplinary matters or to assist his counsel in the defense against the charges. Pursuant to D.C. Board Rule 15.3(a)(iii),[2] Kourtesis included, in support of his assertion, letters from Walker Lyerly, M.D., who diagnosed Kourtesis as having a Major Depressive Disorder, and Dan Schwarz, Psy.D. (a licensed clinical psychologist), who diagnosed Kourtesis with Major Depression, Recurrent, Moderate. Both letters asserted that Kourtesis's depression rendered him unable to assist his counsel in defending himself in the disciplinary proceedings in the District of Columbia. Additionally, Kourtesis filed a signed " Acknowledgement of Disability," dated 12 December 2012, in which he acknowledged that " during the period of 'March, 2010 -- Present,' I suffered from a disability . . . by reason of 'depression.'" [3]

[437 Md. 441] On 31 December 2012, the Board on Professional Responsibility, acting through its Chair and under D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 13(c),[4] petitioned the District of Columbia Court of Appeals " to immediately suspend" Kourtesis, pursuant to D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 13(e), on the grounds of his " motion for suspension and abeyance of disciplinary matters due to disability, and supporting documentation, filed with the Board pursuant to D.C. Bar R. XI, § § 13(c) and (e) and Board Rule 15.3." In this petition, the Board on Professional Responsibility stated that it did not oppose Kourtesis's motion, but noted additionally:

Bar Counsel's response asserts that it " lacks knowledge" of how [Kourtesis]'s alleged disability affects his ability to defend himself, but it " admits that [Kourtesis] has provided medical support for this claim." Bar Counsel also

Page 1234

notes that [Kourtesis]'s counsel has confirmed that [Kourtesis] appears not to be able to assist counsel with his defense of these disciplinary matters.

Upon consideration of the Board on Professional Responsibility's petition, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ordered, on 14 February 2013:

[437 Md. 442] [Kourtesis] is indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in the District of Columbia, effective immediately, and that any pending matters be held in abeyance pursuant to D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 13 (e) until further order of the court pursuant to D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 13 (c).

The Order provided further that his " reinstatement to the District of Columbia Bar shall be in accordance with the provisions of D.C. Bar Rule XI, ยง 13 (g) ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.