(a) Whenever it appears that a claim is not eligible for reimbursement pursuant to these rules, the claimant must be advised of the reasons why the claim may not be eligible for reimbursement, and that unless additional facts to support eligibility are submitted to the Committee, the claim file will be closed. The Fund chair may appoint themselves or any Committee member to determine the eligibility of claims.
(b) A certified copy of an order disciplining a lawyer for the same dishonest act or conduct alleged in the claim, or a final judgment imposing civil or criminal liability therefor, is evidence that a lawyer committed such dishonest act or conduct.
(c) The Office of Professional Conduct must be promptly notified of each and every claim.
(d) The lawyer alleged to have engaged in dishonest conduct must be provided a copy of the claim and given an opportunity to respond to the Committee in writing within 21 days of receiving the claim.
(e) The Committee may request that testimony be presented. If desired, the lawyer or lawyer’s representative must request an opportunity to be heard within 21 days of receiving a notice from the Committee that the Committee will process the claim.
(f) The Committee may make a finding of dishonest conduct for purposes of adjudicating a claim. Such a determination is not a finding of dishonest conduct for the purposes of professional discipline and further, represents only a recommendation to the Board. A claim may only be considered if the individual lawyer involved has been disciplined to a threshold level of a public reprimand or is no longer in practice.
(g) The claim will be determined on the basis of all available evidence, and notice must be given to the claimant and the lawyer of the final decision by the Board after a recommendation has been made by the Committee. The recommendation for approving or denying a claim requires the affirmative votes of a majority of the Committee members and a quorum of the voting Board members.
(h) Any proceeding on a claim will not be conducted according to technical rules relating to evidence, procedure, and witnesses. Any relevant evidence must be admitted if it is the sort of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs, regardless of any common law or statutory rule that may make improper the admission of such evidence over objection in court proceedings. The claimant has the duty to supply relevant evidence to support the claim.
(i) The Board must determine the order and manner of payment and pay those claims it deems meritorious. Unless the Board directs otherwise, no claim will be approved during a pending disciplinary proceeding involving the same act or conduct as alleged in the claim. No determination or hearing will take place until all disciplinary proceedings are complete.
(j) The Board must advise both the claimant and the lawyer of the status of the Board’s consideration of the claim and after having received the recommendation of the Committee, must also be informed of the final determination.
(k) The claimant may request reconsideration within 28 days of the denial or determination of the amount of the claim.