THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

SUPREME COURT

 

In Case No. 97-819, Richard Averill v. Paul R. Cox & a., the court upon November 22, 2000, made the following order:

Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration is denied.

The slip opinion dated October 31, 2000, is modified by substituting "$1,000" for $100" and "$3,000" for $300" where said terms appear in the first full paragraph on page 6 of the slip opinion, so that said paragraph as modified shall state as follows:

We recognize that the disciplinary actions taken by this court against members of the bar, however effective they may be to deter unprofessional conduct, are not designed to compensate clients harmed by attorney misconduct. See Rousseau I, 128 N.H. at 572, 519 A.2d at 249 (Johnson, J., dissenting). Accordingly, if plaintiffs could bring claims under the Act, they might receive greater damages than they would otherwise receive. See RSA 358-A:10 (1995) (providing for award of either two or three times amount of damages in case of knowing or willful violation of RSA chapter 358-A). The statutory exemption to the Act, however, does not require that remedies available to aggrieved consumers under qualifying regulatory schemes be identical to those provided in the Act. See 358-A:3, I; Gilmore, 135 N.H. at 241-42, 604 A.2d at 559 (Horton, J., concurring). Rather, it is sufficient that the regulatory scheme protects consumers from fraud and deception in the marketplace "in a manner calculated to avoid the same ills as RSA chapter 358-A." Gilmore, 135 N.H. at 241-42, 604 A.2d at 559 (Horton, J., concurring) (emphasis added). We conclude that the disciplinary measures exercised by this court protect the public as effectively from deceptive or unfair actions in the marketplace as would double or treble damages under the Act. See RSA 358-A:10; RSA 311:8. In some cases, the penalty of license suspension or revocation may be more severe than double or treble damages, and thus constitute a superior deterrent to deceptive or unfair actions. For instance, an attorney found guilty of embezzling $1,000 from a client would be subject to a possible recovery of $3,000 under the Act; the same attorney may be subject to disbarment under the rules. See, e.g., Harrington's Case, 100 N.H. 243, 123 A.2d 396 (1956). Indeed, since 1990, we have exercised our disciplinary power to suspend twenty-eight members of the bar and to disbar twenty-seven others. See RSA 311:8 (Supp. 1999).

Brock, C.J., and Horton, Broderick, Nadeau, and Dalianis, JJ., concurred.

Howard J. Zibel,

Clerk

Date of clerk's notice of decision: December 5, 2000