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A Branford, Conn., attorney, who at one time clogged the New Haven Judicial District with several dozen civil complaints, many of which were ultimately nonsuited due to neglect, has resigned from practicing law. New Haven Superior Court Judge Antonio C. Robaina recently accepted Philip M. Hart’s resignation and waiver to apply for readmission. East Haven, Conn., attorney Patricia Cofrancesco, who represented Hart, said she had no comment except that her client did “voluntarily resign.” Reached for this article, Hart said he did not give Robaina a reason for his resignation, and “I don’t feel compelled to give one to The Law Tribune.” Hart had been investigated by the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel with the assistance of law students in Yale Law School’s ethics clinic. In practice since 1979, Hart posed a “substantial threat of irreparable harm to clients,” Assistant Disciplinary Counsel Patricia King maintained. According to court documents filed by King, Hart had a significant history of disciplinary violations that resulted in sanctions. Between 2001 and November 2004, Hart had been reprimanded four times. On three occasions, he was disciplined for violations of the professional duty of diligence. “Attorney Hart has developed a pattern and practice of failing to diligently attend to his clients’ legal matters and failing to adequately communicate with his clients about the status of their legal matters,” King wrote in the disciplinary counsel complaint. As of November 2004, Hart was involved in 86 cases in the New Haven Judicial District. Judgments for nonsuit had been entered against his clients in at least 10 of those cases. In addition, a startling 47 motions cited Hart for failing to cooperate with opposing parties’ discovery requests. Another 22 claimed general negligence. Hart had agreed in February to be placed on suspension for six months and was practicing in a limited capacity under monthly monitoring which was supposed to have lasted until Aug. 16, according to documents filed by King’s office. New Haven attorney Kenneth Bartlett was appointed by the court in April to be the trustee for Hart’s practice, and he is remaining as trustee, court papers confirm. In June, King sought a motion of contempt against Hart after he was accused of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law for writing checks from his trustee account for medical-bill payments and other obligations that should have been paid from cases that Hart settled before his suspension. He was also accused of contacting clients in personal-injury cases while he was on suspension and not informing them of his suspended status. A legal malpractice suit filed in 2003 against Hart by two former clients seeking monetary damages was recently resolved in New Haven. Judge Trial Referee William L. Hadden Jr., in an Aug. 8 ruling, awarded Hart’s former clients Clyde Turner and Ronnie Thomas more than $15,000 after Hart’s alleged negligence resulted in their personal-injury case’s dismissal. Hart denied any negligence on his part. In January, Hart filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, according to court documents.

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