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Charles A. Fitzpatrick, former partner at just-closed Mylotte David & Fitzpatrick, joined Rawle & Henderson’s Philadelphia office as of counsel Monday. Fitzpatrick’s former firm closed its doors Friday. Mylotte David, an insurance defense boutique, defaulted last year on its $1.7 million tax settlement with the city, pushing the judgment onto the personal assets of the firm’s three leaders – Fitzpatrick; his brother, John A. Fitzpatrick; and Edward David. Thomas A. Kuzmick, the senior member of Rawle & Henderson’s executive committee, said the firm was immediately interested when Fitzpatrick contacted it about possibly joining. “[Fitzpatrick's] reputation, skills, and ability as a trial lawyer are well known throughout Philadelphia. . . . We have a growing need for experienced trial attorneys because of the type and number of cases we get from our clients,” Kuzmick said. Kuzmick said Fitzpatrick’s 30-plus years of experience handling catastrophic injury cases would fill a need for the firm, whose clients are already providing the work. Fitzpatrick said he been contacted by a number of firms since Mylotte David announced it would be closing, but said he thought Rawle & Henderson was the best place to utilize his skills. “It’s new to me to be here after being at [Mylotte David] for so many years. . . . Everyone’s been very friendly and helpful, and I think they are as happy to have me here as I am to be here,” Fitzpatrick said. When asked if Fitzpatrick’s outstanding settlement with the city would negatively impact his ability to attract new clients, Kuzmick said “not at all.” “His reputation as a trial attorney is completely untouched by his [former] firm’s business concerns. . . . Our clients look at trial skills, experience and abilities, not the more personal side of someone,” Kuzmick said. Legal recruiter Sandra Mannix of Abelson Legal Search agreed with Kuzmick’s assessment. Mannix said Fitzpatrick was an experienced, highly regarded attorney and his practice was unlikely to be affected by perceptions of the tax settlement. “Most people sort business issues from lawyer skills. My understanding is that the lawsuit was in no way a reflection on lawyer skills – it was a difference of opinion,” Mannix said. Thomas A. Brophy of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin told The Legal last week that Fitzpatrick had continued to get work over the past several years, having represented the hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and other health care providers. Fitzpatrick said the clients from his practice at Mylotte David would be making decisions about who would represent them now, but it was too early to say if they would continue to work with him. Kuzmick said the firm would not assume any liability involving the tax settlement now that Fitzpatrick had joined. Rawle & Henderson will be accommodating about Fitzpatrick’s unresolved business with his old firm, Kuzmick said, though Fitzpatrick said he would deal with the situation on his own time. “We understand Mylotte David is still in existence and responsible to clients and cases. To the extent they need Charles to follow up administratively, he will assist them. But in terms of working as an attorney, he’s with Rawle & Henderson,” Kuzmick said. As for Mylotte David’s other partners, Fitzpatrick said he had not heard of any of them discussing a move to join him at Rawle & Henderson. Court papers state that “all employees of the firm, including attorneys and paralegals, were advised that the firm would cease doing business as of Feb. 9, 2007. Beyond Feb. 9, 2007, the firm will retain only a skeleton staff to complete billing operations, collect accounts and wind down the firm.” Mylotte David is winding down the firm, storing documents, selling assets and moving to new quarters by Feb. 28, when its lease expires, according to court papers requesting a stay on a case unrelated to the tax settlement. It is unclear whether the partners are looking for new space to open a new firm. According to court documents, the Philadelphia Department of Revenue’s accounting system determined that Mylotte David owed almost $2.5 million in business privilege tax, including interest and penalties, almost $150,000 in net profits taxes including interest and penalties, and almost $92,000 in wage withholding taxes including interest and penalties. The total came to about $2.7 million, including fixed and accrued interest and penalties computed to April 26, 2006, according to court records. As part of its $1.7 million settlement, the firm agreed to pay $47,886 in penalties out of the more than $1 million in penalties it accrued up until April 26, 2006, according to court records. The case stemmed from the city’s suit that alleged the firm owed $826,315 in unpaid business privilege tax, $57,755 in net profits taxes and $15,734 in wage withholding taxes. In addition to the unpaid taxes, the suit alleged that the firm owed $578,855 in interest and $910,665 in penalties. The taxes the firm allegedly failed to pay were for time periods between Dec. 31, 1994, and June 30, 2004. The case between the city and Mylotte David is still ongoing, and it is unclear how the closing of the firm might affect what the attorneys owe. The firm moved from Philadelphia to Broomall in 2005.

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