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STATE OF MAINE
CUMBERLAND   ss.							SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
											DOCKET NO.  BAR-00-6

BOARD OF OVERSEERS OF THE BAR	)
		 	Plaintiff				)
									)	DISCIPLINARY DECISION
v.									)	            AND ORDER
									)          
RONALD L. BISHOP, ESQ. 			)
of Waterville, Maine 			)
   Me. Bar #886					)
			Defendant				)

		This matter came before the Court on February 7, 2001 pursuant to an
information filed by the Board of Overseers of the Bar.  The Board was
represented by Bar Counsel J. Scott Davis.  The complainant, Bonnie Kerns,
was present.  Defendant Ronald L. Bishop, Esq. was present and appeared
pro se.
		
Findings

		The parties have stipulated and agreed to the following material facts:

	 On or about April 12, 1997 Bonnie Kerns (Kerns) was involved in an
automobile accident in Turner, Maine.  As a result, a personal injury action
was filed in the Androscoggin County Superior Court in the matter of
Ernest Charity, Jean Charity & Bonnie Kerns v. Robert Chiasson, Docket
CV-97-266.  Kerns hired Bishop to handle that matter for her, and he was
also counsel for Kerns' husband, Mark Kerns, and for her parents, Ernest
and Jean Charity, in that same action.  

On October 26, 1998 that action was settled, with Chiasson agreeing
to pay Kerns $30,000.00.  From that amount, Bishop knew that Kerns had a
medical payable balance totaling at least $9,266.34.  He took an attorney fee
of $5,183.42, and the balance then received by Kerns from Bishop was the
amount of $15,550.24.  
It was agreed and understood between Kerns and Bishop that he
would make payments of Kerns' entire outstanding medical bills.  In fact,
Bishop neglected those payments and failed to make timely payment of
many of Kerns' medical bills.
	As a result, in June 1999 Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC)
directly notified Kerns that she had an outstanding medical balance of
$3,109.70.  That non-payment was a complete surprise to Kerns since from
his earlier comments she had understood and believed that Bishop had
already made all such payments from her settlement monies. 
Approximately six weeks later, on July 14, 1999, Bishop finally paid CMMC
that outstanding balance of $3,109.70, and also then paid $508.00 to
Otolaryngology Associates.  More than a year after the settlement check had
been received by Bishop, i.e., as of February 25, 2000, medical bills for
Kerns totaling approximately $1,051.00 still remained outstanding and
unpaid by Bishop.  
With respect to those amounts outstanding in February, 2000, Kerns
made at least two telephone calls to Bishop, which he failed to return.  As
late as March 1, 2000, Kerns received an additional call from a collection
agency concerning outstanding amounts.
	From the documents provided by Bishop in response to Bar Counsel's
amended subpoena duces tecum, and as exemplified by Bishop's dilatory
and grossly belated payment of Kerns' medical bills, he neglected his
obligations to Kerns and also failed to properly segregate and account for
clients' funds in his client escrow account.  Bishop also failed to deliver to
Kerns a balance of $3,317.64 (plus interest) owed her from the $30,000.00
settlement check.
CONCLUSIONS
	The parties agree and the Court so finds that Bishop's conduct violated
Maine Bar Rules M. Bar R. 3.2(f)(2)(3)(4); 3.6(a)(2)(3) and 3.6(e)(1)(2).

SANCTIONS
	Having found these violations of the Maine Bar Rules, and agreeing
with the Board and the Defendant that they are serious, the Court must now
consider an appropriate sanction.  In that regard, Bishop has admitted and
acknowledged that he mishandled Kerns' case.  Bishop was earlier
reprimanded in 1999 for neglectful conduct concerning another client. 
That Grievance Commission Panel's Report stated that a sanction of 
suspension would be "appropriate if there were a recurrence of this kind of
(neglectful) complaint" by Bishop. Therefore, keeping in mind that the
main purpose of attorney discipline is not punishment, but protection of
the public, the Court hereby ORDERS the following sanction in this matter
as proposed by the parties:
	1.  Ronald L. Bishop, Esq. is suspended from the practice of
law in Maine for one-year, with all but 90 days of that suspension
being suspended, to commence on June 1, 2001; 
	2.  By June 1, 2001, Bishop will have complied with the
notification and filing requirements of Maine Bar Rule 7.3(i);
	3.  On or before April 2, 2001, Bishop shall reimburse
Kerns the remaining balance from her settlement check of
$3,317.64, plus $525.80 interest, totaling $3,843.44; 
	4.  Starting upon Bishop's return to practice on September
3, 2001, his practice shall be mentored through May 31, 2002 in
the following manner:
	i.  There shall be a Court-approved plan for professional
supervision of Bishop's law practice by an attorney mentor
in order to avoid neglect of any client's affairs; and
	ii.  Commencing on or before September 3, 2001, a
certified public accountant (CPA) shall supervise and review 
Bishop's financial records on a monthly basis.  Such review
shall include the ledger cards, journals, and other
documentation for Bishop's law firm client trust account,
including but not limited to the journals and the bank
statements relating to that client trust account.  In
addition, such review shall also include the operating
account and payroll account journals and related bank
statements. That CPA shall issue a report to Bar Counsel
within ten days from the date such records are posted each
month confirming that any and all funds advanced by
clients to Bishop's law firm, whether for costs, fees, or
distribution, are being properly maintained in the client
trust account and that no commingling of funds from any
accounts has occurred, and that all bills are paid; and
	5.  On or before May 15, 2001 the parties shall provide the
Court with the supervision plan required by paragraph 4(i) and
verification that the agreed upon respective designated attorney
and accountant mentors have been selected and will so serve.

 Date: 	February 7, 2001
						                                                            
							Donald G. Alexander
				Associate Justice 

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