In the cases listed below, there are disciplinary proceedings pending. Files in these cases are a matter of public record and available for examination at the Office of the Professional Responsibility Board, 1st Floor of the Supreme Court Building, 111 State Street, Montpelier.

Burke, John Downes

Burke, John Downes
Respondent’s Counsel:  Self
Disciplinary Counsel: Jessica Burke
Docket Number: PRB Docket No. 2020-040
Status: ASSIGNED TO HEARING PANEL. On October 15, 2020 a Petition of Misconduct was filed. Hearing Panel 10 (Welford, Lamson and Legacy) was assigned on October 16, 2020. On December 8, the Hearing Panel issued an Order to Show Cause scheduling a January 4, 2021 deadline for the Respondent’s written response to the petition. Disciplinary Counsel has until January 15, 2021, to file a memorandum in response. On February 17, 2021, a Notice of Status Conference was issued, informing the Parties of a status conference scheduled and held on February 25, 2021. Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a Status Report and jointly filed Stipulation on April 21, 2021. On May 12, 2021, the Hearing Panel issued a ruling rejecting the stipulation of facts and proposed order. On June 28, 2021, Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a Notice of Dismissal. The Hearing Panel issued a ruling on the Notice of Dismissal on July 27, 2021. On August 11, 2021, Disciplinary Counsel Katz submitted a Notice of Appearance and a Motion to Deem Charges Admitted. The Hearing Panel issued an order on September 14, 2021 requesting clarification as to whether a hearing is needed. On October 12, 2021, Disciplinary Counsel submitted a Second Request for Hearing. A Hearing Notice was issued on November 12 scheduling the hearing for December 17, 2021 at 9 a.m. At the request of the Professional Responsibility Board Chair, on December 2, 2021, this hearing was postponed. On August 24, Jessica Burke filed a Notice of Appearance as Special Disciplinary Counsel. On September 14, 2022, Disciplinary Counsel Sarah Katz filed a Notice of Substitution of Counsel and Third Request for a Hearing.

Documentation:

 

Cobb, William W.

Cobb, William W.
Respondent’s Counsel:  Brice Simon
Disciplinary Counsel: Sarah Katz
Docket Number: PRB Docket Nos. 2020-099, and -103
Status: ASSIGNED TO HEARING PANEL. On October 29, 2020 a Petition of Misconduct was filed. Hearing Panel 1 was assigned on November 6, 2020. Attorney Robert O’Neill will serve in place of Recused Panel Member Emily Tredeau. Counsel for Respondent filed an Answer on November 19, 2020. On December 22, 2020, Disciplinary Counsel filed a jointly proposed scheduling order. The Hearing Panel issued a signed scheduling order on January 2, 2021. On June 15, 2021, Disciplinary Counsel and Counsel for the Respondent filed Witness and Exhibit lists. On August 6, 2021, Counsel for the Respondent filed a revised exhibit list. On August 26, 2021, Attorney James Murdoch was appointed as an Attorney member of the Hearing Panel, replacing Attorney Robert O’Neill. A Notice of Hearing was sent to the Parties on August 30, 2021 scheduling a Merits Hearing on October 15, 2021, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The hearing will be viewable on the homepage of the Vermont Judiciary's YouTube channel. The video will begin when proceedings do, at the scheduled time or shortly after. On September 7, 2021, Disciplinary Counsel filed a response to the Notice of Hearing. A second hearing notice was sent to the Parties, scheduling a second hearing which was held on November 1, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. Disciplinary Counsel filed a Motion for Protective Order and Motion to Seal on October 5, 2021. The Hearing Panel issued a Post Hearing Order on November 4, 2021. Disciplinary Counsel filed Public Exhibits on November 9, 2021. Disciplinary Counsel and Counsel for the Respondent filed Findings, Memorandums of Law and Exhibits on January 3, 2022. In addition to this, Disciplinary Counsel filed a recommendation for sanctions. On January 28, 2022 Special Hearing Panel Counsel Shannon Bertrand was assigned. On May 24, 2022 the Hearing Panel issued Decision No. 246. On May 25, 2022, Counsel for the Respondent filed a Motion for Stay. The Hearing Panel granted the stay on May 26, 2022.

Documentation:

 

Fink, Melvin (2)

Fink, Melvin
Respondent’s Counsel: David Sleigh

Disciplinary Counsel: Sarah Katz
Docket Number: PRB Docket No. 2019-012
Status: ASSIGNED TO HEARING PANEL. On February 20, 2019 a Petition of Misconduct was filed. Hearing Panel was assigned on February 27, 2019. Respondent’s Counsel filed an Answer with a Request for Stay of the Proceedings on February 27, 2019. Disciplinary Counsel filed no objection to stay on February 28, 2019. On March 8, Hearing Panel issued an Order requesting information filed in the criminal proceeding and any terms or conditions or release pending trial. On March 8, 2019, Respondent’s Counsel filed the Information and Conditions of Release in State v. Melvin Fink, Docket No. 124-1-19, as ordered by the Hearing Panel. On March 28, 2019 the Hearing Panel filed a Ruling on Request to Stay granting the motion with conditions. On March 29, 2019, Disciplinary Counsel filed a Motion for Reconsideration. The Motion was joined by Respondent. On May 3, 2019, the Hearing Panel issued a ruling on the motion amending the Panel’s March 28, 2019 decision. On September 9, 2021, Disciplinary Counsel filed a Partial Objection to Respondent’s Witness List, a Partial Objection to Respondent’s “Hearing Memo to the Board,” and exhibits not yet admitted into evidence.

Documentation:

 

Fink, Melvin
Respondent’s Counsel:  David Sleigh
Disciplinary Counsel: Sarah Katz
Docket Number: PRB Docket No. 2021-018
Status: ASSIGNED TO HEARING PANEL. On January 12, 2021 a Petition of Misconduct was filed. Hearing Panel 3 was assigned on January 14, 2021. On January 28, 2021, David Sleigh, filed a letter of Representation on behalf of the Respondent. At the same time, Mr. Sleigh filed a Request for Extension of Time. The Hearing Panel issued an order on February 26, 2021 granting Respondent’s Request for Extension of Time. Counsel for respondent filed an answer on March 18, 2021. On March 25, 2021 the parties filed a jointly proposed Scheduling Order. The Hearing Panel issued the Scheduling Order on April 2, 2021. On July 19, 2021, Disciplinary Counsel filed prehearing witness and exhibit lists. This was followed on July 26, 2021, with Respondent’s Counsel filing witness and exhibit lists. A Hearing Notice was sent to the Parties on August 20, 2021, scheduling a remote hearing which was held on September 27, 2021 at 8:30. On September 9, 2021, Disciplinary Counsel filed a Partial Objection to Respondent’s Witness List, a Partial Objection to Respondent’s “Hearing Memo to the Board,” and exhibits not yet admitted into evidence. Counsel for the respondent filed exhibits 1 through 4 on September 27, 2021. Counsel for the Respondent filed a Supplemental Memo and copy of transcripts on October 15, 2021. On January 6, 2022 the Hearing Panel issued Decision No. 242 which was transmitted to the Supreme Court. On January 14, 2022, Counsel for the Respondent submitted a Motion to Stay, which was followed by the Hearing Panel Order on the motion submitted on January 31, 2022.

Documentation:

 

Manby, C. Robert, Jr.

Manby, C. Robert, Jr.
Respondent’s Counsel:  Harry Ryan
Disciplinary Counsel: Sarah Katz
Docket Number: PRB Docket No. 2019-089
Status: ASSIGNED TO HEARING PANEL. On November 27, 2019 a Stipulation of Facts and Jointly Proposed Conclusion of Law was filed. Hearing Panel 2 was assigned on December 9, 2019.  Additional exhibits were added by Disciplinary Counsel on December 10, 2019. On December 17, 2019, the Hearing Panel Chair filed a Scheduling Order. On January 3, 2020, Disciplinary Counsel filed a Memorandum of Law Addressing Jointly Proposed Conclusions of Law. On January 17, 2020, Respondent filed a Memo in Opposition to Disciplinary Counsel’s Memo of Law. Respondent then filed a supplemental response on February 18, 2020, clarifying the Memo in Opposition. On March 6, 2020, the Hearing Panel issued a ruling rejecting the parties’ Proposed Stipulation of Facts. Disciplinary Counsel filed a Petition of Misconduct on August 5, 2020. On August 14th, 2020, Counsel for the Respondent filed a Motion for the Hearing Panel to Recuse itself from the case. Disciplinary Counsel responded to the motion on August 18, 2020. On August 25, 2020 Counsel for the Respondent filed a response to the Petition of Misconduct. On October 9, 2020 the Hearing Panel issues a Ruling denying Respondent’s motion to recuse and to strike. On October 20, 2020, Counsel for the Respondent files an Unopposed Motion to Reconsider the Hearing Panel decision to deny Respondent’s motion to recuse and strike. On October 26, 2020, a notice of a telephonic Pre-Hearing conference was sent to Parties and Hearing Panel. This meeting was rescheduled on October 30 to November 24 at 2 p.m. and held on that day. On December 14, 2020, Disciplinary Counsel and Respondent’s Counsel filed separate proposed scheduling orders. The Hearing Panel issued a ruling on December 17th on respondent’s request to reconsider the Hearing Panel October 9th decision denying the motion to recuse and strike. On January 8, 2021, the Hearing Panel Issued a scheduling order. On the same day, Counsel for the Respondent filed a Motion to Reconsider and Extend Scheduling Order. The Hearing Panel issued their order on Respondent’s Motion on January 14, 2021.  On March 10, 2021, Respondent’s counsel filed a Notice of Appearance and Motion to Extend Discovery Deadline. Disciplinary Counsel filed her response on March 15, 2021. The Hearing Panel issued their ruling on the Motion to Extend Discovery Deadline on March 19, 2021. Respondent’s Counsel filed a Motion in Limine to Exclude Testimony of Expert Witnesses on March 31, 2021. Disciplinary Counsel responded to the Motion In Limine on April 6, 2021. On April 12, 2021, Counsel for the Respondent filed a reply to Disciplinary Counsel’s response to the Motion In Limine. On May 3, 2021 Disciplinary Counsel filed Witness and Exhibit Lists. Counsel for the Respondent sent a response to Disciplinary Counsel’s pretrial filings on May 4, 2021. The Hearing Panel issued an order on the Motion In Limine on May 13, 2021. On May 17, the Hearing Panel issued an order on respondent’s request to enlarge the discovery completion deadline. A Notice of Merits Hearing was sent to the Parties and Panel on May 27, 2021. On June 14, 2021, Counsel for the Respondent filed a Motion for an In-Person Hearing. On June 24, 2021, Disciplinary Counsel filed a Motion Partially Objecting to Respondent’s Motion for an In-Person Hearing. On July 12, 2021, the Hearing Panel issued a ruling on Respondent’s motion. On July 30, 2021, Counsel for the Respondent filed an Emergency Motion to Reschedule Hearing. The Panel issued their ruling on the Emergency Motion on August 4, 2021. A Hearing Notice was sent to the Parties on August 20, 2021, scheduling two remote hearings which were held on October 22 and October 29, 2021. Counsel for Respondent Vanessa Robertson filed a notice of withdrawal on May 25, 2022. On June 29, 2022 the Hearing Panel issued a Post-trial Scheduling Order and a Post-trial Ruling on Parties’ Objections to Proffered Exhibits. On July 29, 2022 Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a Notice of Appearance, Proposed Findings, Memo of Law and Sanctions Memo. On the same day, Counsel for the Respondent filed Respondent’s Propose Finding of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

Documentation:

 

Studdert-Kennedy, Theodore J.

Studdert-Kennedy, Theodore J.
Respondent’s Counsel: Robin Cooley, Evan Fox
Disciplinary Counsel: Ian Carleton
Docket Number: PRB-021-2022
Status: ASSIGNED TO HEARING PANEL. On June 15, 2022,  a Petition of Misconduct was filed. Hearing Panel 8 was assigned on June 21, 2022. On June 29, 2022, Counsel for the Respondent filed a Notice of Appearance, and a Motion to Extend Deadline to File Answer. The Hearing Panel issued an order on June 5, 2022 granting the extension. On July 20, 2022, the Counsel for the Respondent filed an answer. On August 17, 2022 the Hearing Panel issued a scheduling order. On August 29, 2022, Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a request to the Hearing Panel to modify the scheduling order. On August 30, 2022, Counsel for the Respondent filed their response. The Hearing Panel issued an amended Scheduling Order on August 31, 2022.

Documentation:

Watts, Norman

Watts, Norman
Respondent’s Counsel:  Self
Disciplinary Counsel: Navah Spero
Docket Number: PRB Docket No. 2019-102 and 2020-011
Status: On March 18, 2021 a Petition of Misconduct was filed re PRB Nos. 2019-102 and 2020-011. The respondent filed a Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer on April 2, 2021. Hearing Panel 9 was assigned on April 7, 2021, with Attorney Eric Johnson replacing Panelist Kate Thomas who recused herself for this filing. Disciplinary Counsel filed a response to Respondent’s request for time extension. The Respondent filed a response to Disciplinary Counsel on April 7, 2021. On April 14, 2021, the Hearing Panel issued their ruling re Respondent’s request for Time Extension and Scheduling Order. The Respondent filed an Answer on May 21, 2021. On May 27, 2021, Respondent filed a Request for Production of Documents. On June 4, 2021 Respondent filed a Witness List. On the same day, a certificate of service acknowledging receipt was filed by Disciplinary Counsel. On July 7, 2021, the Respondent filed a Certificate of Service. On July 13, 2021, Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a Consented-to Motion to Substitute Expert. This was followed by a Request to Resolve Discovery Dispute on July 16th, 2021. The Hearing Panel issued a ruling on Special Disciplinary Counsel’s Consented-to Motion to substitute Counsel On July 19, 2021. On the same day, the Respondent filed email correspondence to the Panel. On July 22, 2021, Respondent files a Response to a Request to Resolve Discovery Dispute and a response to Special Disciplinary Counsel’s Requests to Produce. On July 27, 2021, Special Disciplinary Counsel files a reply in support of the Request to Resolve Discovery Dispute. On August 9, 2021, the Hearing Panel issued an Order on the Request to Resolve Discovery Dispute. On August 19, 2021 the Respondent filed a Motion to Extend Time. Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a response on August 20, 2021. The Hearing Panel issued an order on the decision on August 23, 2021. On August 30, 2021, the Respondent filed a Notice to Panel. This was followed on September 1, 2021 by filings by Special Disciplinary Counsel, including her Response to the Notice and Request for Sanctions, a Motion to Extend Scheduling Order and a Supplemental Memo to Resolve Discovery Dispute Related to Document Request 5. On September 8, 2021, Respondent filed a response to Special Disciplinary Counsel’s Response to the Notice and Request for Sanctions, a Motion to Extend Scheduling Order and a Supplemental Memo to Resolve Discovery Dispute Related to Document Request 5. The Hearing Panel Chair filed on Order on the Motions on September 28, 2021. On October 13, 2021, Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a Motion to Extend Time. The Hearing Panel issued an order on the motion on October 14, 2021. On October 15, 2021, Special Disciplinary Counsel  filed a supplemental Memorandum of Law on Discovery Sanctions. Respondent filed a motion to extend time on October 27, 2021. Special Disciplinary Counsel also filed a Motion to Extend November 12, 2021 filing deadline on November 3, 2021. The Hearing Panel issued an order on both motions on November 5, 2021. On November 9th, Respondent filed a response to Special Disciplinary Counsel’s Supplemental Memorandum of Law on Discover Sanctions. On November 3, 2021, Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a Motion to Extend November 12, 2021 filing deadline. On November 22, Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a Motion to Continue and the Respondent filed a revised response to a sanctions memo first filed on November 8, 2021. On November 23, 2021, Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a reply in Support of Motion for Sanctions. On Friday, December 3, 2021 Special Disciplinary Counsel filed Witness and Exhibit lists with a Motion in Limine and a Motion to Extend Time until December 10. On the same day, the respondent filed an exhibit list and spreadsheet. The Hearing Panel Chair issued a time extension as requested by Special Disciplinary Counsel. On December 10, 2021, Special Disciplinary Counsel filed an Amended Petition and Supplemental and Revised Exhibits lists. On February 8, 2022, Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a Certificate of Service re Counsel’s Notice of Deposition. On the same day, Respondent filed a Motion to Compel Expert Deposition and Memorandum in Support. Special Disciplinary Counsel filed Opposition to the Motion to Compel Expert Deposition on February 24, 2022. On March 8, 2022 Respondent filed a Reply to Opposition to Motion to Compel. Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a Motion for Permission to File a Surreply and the attached Surreply in Opposition to Motion to Compel on March 23, 2022. The Respondent filed a response to Special Disciplinary Counsel’s Surreply in Opposition on March 30, 2022. On May 11, 2022, Special Disciplinary Counsel filed a Request for Status Conference. A Notice of Status Conference to be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 22 was sent to the Parties on July 5, 2022.

Documentation: