PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s highest court has ruled that a Portland law firm should have had better internal policies in place when it discovered one of the firm’s partners was stealing from clients.
In a 3-1 decision, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled Thursday that six Verrill Dana lawyers violated Maine ethics rules by failing to have policies ensuring their lawyers follow Maine’s bar rules. The justices also ruled that the lawyers did not violate their duty to report John Duncan when they discovered the thefts.
Duncan was disbarred and served two years in federal prison for stealing about $300,000 from clients.
The decision overturns supreme court Justice Donald Alexander’s ruling after disciplinary hearings last December.
The supreme court ordered the case sent back to Alexander and directed that appropriate sanctions be levied.