In an opinion handed down today, the D.C. Court of Appeals approved a negotiated discipline for an assistant D.C. attorney general, ruling that Rachele Reid will receive a 30-day stayed suspension for ethical violations allegedly committed while in private practice.
The stayed suspension means that if she doesn’t have any disciplinary issues arise during a one-year probation period, Reid will not have her license suspended.
According to the opinion, Reid, now an assistant D.C. attorney general in the Juvenile Section of the Public Safety Division in the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, mishandled two client matters while in private practice, and her actions resulted in negative outcomes for those clients.
As previously reported by The National Law Journal, Reid, who then went by her maiden name, Gaines, was appointed by the D.C. Superior Court to serve as the guardian of Thomas Shannon, a Maryland nursing home resident who suffered from a number of physical and mental-health conditions, including dementia.
After being named Shannon’s guardian, the court’s 4-page per curiam opinion said Reid failed to visit him, attend review meetings, or file required reports with the court. She also failed to take necessary actions after she received notice of the proposed decertification of Shannon’s Medicaid eligibility. Reid was later removed as Shannon’s guardian after she failed to attend a court hearing.
In the second case, Reid failed to properly serve a complaint on behalf of her client, Francisco Ramirez, in a personal injury case she was handling. As a result, the complaint was dismissed.
The court’s opinion said Reid didn’t inform Ramirez of his complaint being dismissed and that she was no longer working at the firm that he had hired to represent him. The court also found that Reid filed misleading documents on behalf of Ramirez in an attempt to have his case reinstated.
The appeals court did take into account several mitigating circumstances noted by the Board on Professional Responsibility, including, the lack of prior disciplinary allegations, her eight-year tenure at the D.C. Attorney General’s office without any disciplinary complaints, her cooperation with bar counsel, and Reid’s “genuine remorse.”
Armin Kuder, a name partner at Kuder, Smollar & Freidman representing Reid, declined to comment. D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles said he hadn’t seen the appeals court’s opinion and “therefore have no thoughts on it.”