Due to a typographical error, Arlington Circuit Court was identified incorrectly in yesterday's editions in a story about disciplinary proceedings against Sol Z. Rosen, a Washington lawyer. CAPTION: (NEW-LINE)Picture, SOL Z. ROSEN...disciplinary action
Sol Z. Rosen, a longtime Washington attorney, was reprimanded by a special Virginia judicial panel yesterday for allegedly telling the American Circuit Court the wrong date on which he mailed a witness list to the court's clerk.
The action amounts to a public censure but has no effect on Rosen's right to continue to practice law in Virginia. The special three-judge panel, convened at the request of the 10th District Committee of the Virginia State Bar, was empowered to suspend or disbar the lawyer, who is well known around Washington courthouses.
The panel cleared Rosen of other charges, including conflict of interest in representing a client.
Rosen expressed relief at the outcome and said he thought the panel "tried to be fair." He added that an appeal to the Virginia State Supreme Court is planned.
The disciplinary action stemmed from a suit filed against Rosen and a tenant of a condominium apartment he owned at 2030 N. Adams St., Arlington.
Directors of the apartment building sued, arguing that Rosen's tenant, Jeannine Pappas, kept a dog in the apartment, violating condominium by-laws.
According to testimony, Rosen agreed to Apppas' request that he represent her in the suit. The state bar committee argued that this amounted to conflict of interest, since Rosen would apparently be serving as legal counsel for both Pappas and himself.
But the judicial panel headed by Arlington Circuit Court Judge Charles V. Duff unanimously turned aside this argument. Rosen testified he didn't believe there was a conflict, and Judge Duff said the bar committee failed to prove it with "the required degree of strictness."
Rosen was also accused of having served two documents, one of them a witness list, "on opposing counsel under unusual circumstances."
The bar, whose case argued by Kenneth Melson, argued that Rosen filed his witness list late and also certified that he had mailed the list two days earlier than it was actually mailed.
While admitting that Rosen filed the witness list late, Rosen's attorney, Thomas Farquhar, said that the "vagaries of the mail" were responsible for the list's failure to arrive more promptly in the court clerk's office.
The panel found that Rosen had falsified the witness list and reprimanded him for "his doncut in this regard."
Rosen and Pappas lost the suit involving the condominium directors and Pappas subsequently moved out of the apartment.
In contesting the accusations made against him by the bar committee, Rosen chose the open hearing before the judicial panel in Arlington in preference to a closed bar hearing before a panel of lawyers in Richmond.
Yesterday's unusual all-day proceeding was viewed by Rosen as "vindictive." He said, "these disciplinary committees call into question whether there's due process for lawyers."
Philip J. Hirschkop, past chairman of the Eighth District Bar Committee, who appeared as an expert witness on Rosen's behalf agreed. Rosen faced an extremely harsh committee," he said. "The whole thing is arbitrary, done at the committee's whim and caprice.... This is really a silly little thing to put up before a three-judge panel."