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FRANCIS M. VINING v. MISSISSIPPI STATE BAR ASSOCIATION

APRIL 29, 1987

FRANCIS M. VINING
v.
MISSISSIPPI STATE BAR ASSOCIATION



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, P.J., DAN LEE & SULLIVAN, JJ.

SULLIVAN, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This is an appeal from a decision of the Mississippi State Bar Complaint Tribunal suspending Francis M. Vining from the practice for 120 days. On June 4, 1985, the Mississippi State Bar Complaints Committee filed a formal complaint against Vining alleging several incidents of professional misconduct. Vining filed a waiver of process or entry of appearance, but filed no answer and asserted no defense. The Bar sought and received a default judgment against him on July 17, 1985. This default judgment was entered on August 21, 1985. On December 6, 1985, the Complaint Tribunal suspended Vining from the practice of law for 120 days and he has perfected this appeal, assigning the following as error:

I. The Complaint Tribunal erred in allowing a Default Judgment based on a Complaint that fails to state a cause of action; and

 II. The Tribunal's Opinion and Final Judgment are overly punitive and the suspension from the practice of law is far too severe when considered in light of the alleged

 misconduct.

 I.

 WAS IT ERROR TO ALLOW THE DEFAULT JUDGMENT?

 Vining is charged with, among other things, the violation of Disciplinary Rule 6-101 of Code of Professional Responsibility.

 DR6-101 reads as follows:

 (A) A lawyer shall not:

 * * *

 (3) neglect a legal matter entrusted to him.

 There are other charges but this is the gravamen of the more serious of the complaints against Vining.

 The undisputed evidence presented to the Complaint Tribunal was that Vining accepted employment and then neglected the case though he regularly told his client that he was handling the matter. As a result nothing ...


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