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In re Zussman

Supreme Court of Arizona

October 14, 1959

Matter of Louis L. ZUSSMAN, a Member of the State Bar of Arizona, Respondent.

Page 1022

Whitney & LaPrade, Phoenix, for respondent.

Kenneth S. Scoville, Phoenix, for State Bar of Arizona.

PER CURIAM.

Formal charges were filed on October 30, 1957, against respondent Louis L. Zussman, a member of the State Bar of Arizona, to the effect that he had violated canons of professional ethics numbered 11, 32, and 38, and had been guilty of deceit and misrepresentation in connection with the purchase by complainant, Ruth G. Marks (now Boles), of a non-fourth interest in the New Windsor Hotel property located in Phoenix, Arizona. Following a hearing before the Local Administrative Committee for District No. Four, the Committee, on May 22, 1958-while it made no mention of canon [86 Ariz. 273] violations--found that the actions of respondent violated para. 4 of Rule 29(b), Rules of the Supreme Court, 17 A.R.S., which reads:

'Any action or omission, either related or unrelated to the practice of law, indicating mental or moral unfitness to continue the practice of law.' The Committee's recommendation, in certifying the matter to the Board of Governors, was as follows:

'Inasmuch as the actions complained of occurred in July, 1949, were discovered by the complainant in October, 1949, and were not reported to the State Bar until June, 1956; and inasmuch as the respondent has practiced law in Arizona continuously since 1949 without complaint from any other clients, the committee does not feel that disbarment or suspension is proper in this case. However, the committee concludes that even though such time has elapsed, and the respondent's actions since have been good, the respondent's actions were highly improper, and thus that he should be publicly reprimanded by the Supreme Court.'

Later the Board of Governors conducted a hearing at which counsel for respondent appeared, but no new evidence was adduced. Following said hearing the Board, on August 1, 1958, accepted the findings of fact and recommendations of the Committee and recommended to the Supreme Court that the respondent be reprimanded. These recommendations are entitled to serious consideration. In re MacDonald, 56 Ariz. 120, 105 P.2d 1114.

There are two other factors, worthy of mention, that where presented to and obviously considered by the Committee and Board of Governors, viz.:

1. State and outdated complaint of misconduct. The purchase of the hotel property was consummated in July 1949; the complainant knew of the misrepresentations here in question by October 1949, and yet no complaint was made to the Bar Association until the month of June 1956, some seven years later.

2. Collection of debt angle. Attorney Kenneth S. Scoville, Examiner for the Committee, made this frank statement, viz.:

'I want to say into this record that as far as your examiner is concerned, that I am the first to agree that Mrs. Marks is more interested in and has

Page 1023

been more interested through the years to try to make herself whole, dollarsand-cents-wise, than she was to have whatever action was indicated by reason of the violation of professional conduct by Mr. Zussman. * * *'

We quote from the brief of respondent as to his attitude in the matter, viz.:

'Respondent takes no exception to the recommendation by the Committee [86 Ariz. 274] and by the Board of Governors that he be publicly reprimanded. He admits that a wrong was perpetrated upon the complaining party, and that ...


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