Mass Law Blog

After Ten Years of Proceedings, Final Decisions of Disbarment from SJC in the Demoulas Ethics Cases

by | Feb 6, 2008

I have written several times about the disciplinary proceedings against several attorneys who represented the losing party in the Demoulas cases. (see here, here and here).

As I described in the first of these blog entries:

The saga of how Gary Crossen (then of Foley, Hoag & Eliot and former ethics counsel to two Massachusetts Governors), Richard Donahue (a former President of the Massachusetts Bar Association, chair of its Commission on Professionalism and President of Nike, Inc.), and Kevin Curry, a former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General, lured the judge’s former law clerk out-of-state in order to tape record his “confession,” attempted to bully him into signing an affidavit, conducted surveillance on him, and more, is described in agonizing detail in the 229 page decision. As a fan of hard boiled detective novels (including Boston’s current claim to fame, Dennis LeHane, author of Mystic River and other engrossing works), I can only say that in Boston, reality is stranger than fiction.

After years of hearings and delays Bar Counsel issued her decision recommending the “ultimate sanction,” disbarment of all three attorneys. Her decision is now working its way through the Board of Bar Overseers and will ultimately be in the hands of a single Justice of the State Supreme Judicial Court. The consensus in the community appears to be that bar counsel’s decision will be followed.

Bar Counsel’s recommendation of disbarment for two of the lawyers was adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers. That decision was appealed to the SJC by two of the three attorney’s involved (one of the three, Richard Donahue, received a three-year suspension, and chose not to appeal the recommendation).

Today, the SJC issued the last word on one of the most sordid episodes in Massachusetts legal history (which has no shortage in this area). The court, in decisions written by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, adopted the Board’s recommendations as to Gary Crossen (decision here) and Kevin Curry (decision here), disbarring both.

A couple of choice quotes by Justice Marshall in the Crossen opinion:

“The scope of this misconduct has scant parallel in the disciplinary proceedings of this Commonwealth. . . . It struck at the heart of the lawyer’s professional obligations of good faith and honesty.”

“That there is no blueprint in our prior cases for the facts of this proceeding should come as no surprise, given the unusual scope of the misconduct”

“We have found [no prior case] that involves such a large number of attorneys . . . or deceit so exquisitely choreographed . . ..”

And in the Curry decision:

“Curry engaged in egregious, multiple, and prolonged violations of the disciplinary rules prohibiting attorneys from acts of deceit and dishonesty . . .. With no motive other than his his own financial gain, and with no evidence, Curry persuaded a group of dissatisfied litigants (with whom he had no prior dealings) . . . that a Superior Court judge had “fixed” their case, so that it was “over before it began.”