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Britton v. Board of Bar Examiners

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

April 30, 2015

Randy A. Britton
v.
Board of Bar Examiners

Randy A. Britton, pro se.

Sara Gutierrez Dunn ( Robert G. Jones with her) for Board of Bar Examiners.

OPINION

[29 N.E.3d 185] On May 12, 2006, Randy A. Britton applied for admission to the Massachusetts bar, and he took and passed the written bar examination in July of that year. Based on information in his application, including his responses to questions concerning his employment history and involvement in litigation, and the pendency of his application for admission to the Connecticut bar, the Board of Bar Examiners (board) interviewed Britton and then stayed further investigation pending a final determination on the Connecticut application. After Britton withdrew that application, the board resumed its investigation, appointed special counsel to assist in the investigation, and thereafter conducted a hearing to inquire whether Britton " is of good moral character and sufficient acquirements

Page 1016

and qualifications" to warrant his admission to the bar. G. L. c. 221, § 37. See S.J.C. Rule 3:01, § 5.1, as appearing in 411 Mass. 1321 (1992). Britton was the sole witness at the hearing. The board determined that he was not qualified for admission and recommended that the petition be dismissed. S.J.C. Rule 3:01, § 5.3, as appearing in 411 Mass. 1321 (1992). Britton petitioned the county court for a hearing on his application, raising a variety of constitutional, statutory, and other challenges to the board's decision. After a hearing, a single justice issued a very thorough memorandum in which he carefully addressed and rejected each of Britton's challenges. The single justice thus denied Britton's application and dismissed his petition. We affirm for essentially the same reasons stated by the single justice.

1. Facts.

In his application, Britton disclosed that he had been " wrongfully terminated" by two employers, and that he had brought multiple lawsuits involving separate incidents against former employers, attorneys, police officers, and a media outlet alleging, among other things, wrongful termination, violation of civil rights, defamation, breach of contract, malicious prosecution, and abuse of process. In addition, he reported that his application for admission to the Connecticut bar had been pending since 2004. The board's investigation revealed additional involvement with the legal system and other matters, which he had failed to disclose in his application.

a. Failures to disclose.

In support of his application, Britton submitted three letters of recommendation. One of those letters was from an attorney who had obtained a criminal complaint against Britton and whom Britton had sued. After investigation, the board determined that the criminal complaint was dismissed with an order that Britton pay restitution, and that the civil matter was settled under terms requiring the attorney to provide a positive letter of recommendation. In his application, Britton stated that the attorney had written the letter " [i]n an effort to minimize the damage he has done." The board found that Britton attempted to mislead it as to the nature of the recommendation.

In addition, the board's investigation revealed that Britton twice had been charged criminally. Although neither charge resulted in a conviction, Britton failed accurately to disclose his criminal history as the bar application required. Likewise, the board found that Britton failed to disclose a civil complaint he had filed that unsuccessfully challenged the denial of his request for a firearms identification card and a license to possess an assault weapon. Finally, the board determined that Britton violated his " continuing duty" to disclose [29 N.E.3d 186] relevant information by failing to report that he had filed a petition for redetermination of a tax deficiency with the United States Tax Court. See Rule V.1.2 of the Rules of the Board of Bar Examiners (2010).

b. Litigation history.

The board found that Britton has a substantial history of initiating pro se legal actions, the majority of which have been unsuccessful, and some of which have resulted in sanctions or an order to pay restitution. Among other things, in 2007, Britton removed an action brought against him and his spouse by a condominium association in the Concord Division of the District Court Department to the Federal District Court in Boston, where it was promptly remanded with the observation that " attorney's fees and costs are appropriate because the Brittons lacked anything remotely like an objectively reasonable basis for removal." On remand, the judge dismissed Britton's counterclaims, which included claims of Federal mail fraud, attempted extortion, G. L. c. 93A violations, and other claims, and awarded attorney's fees and costs to the plaintiff.

Page 1017

In 2005, Britton brought an action against the city of Lawrence and its police officers for false arrest, civil rights violations, malicious prosecution, and other crimes, arising out of criminal proceedings against him that eventually were dismissed. The civil case was dismissed, in part because of Britton's " history of disregard of his discovery obligations, and ... for his disobedience of the ...


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