My Condolences, My Card

by Peter Morin on February 28, 2008

The mother of a teen killed by a drunken driver was standing at his casket during his wake when lawyers Robert D’Amico and Jimmy Burchfield sidled up next to her and offered their services.

Kathleen Gemma filed a complaint with the Supreme Court’s attorney disciplinary board, saying the two should have left her alone while she was saying her last goodbyes to her son Anthony Gemma. Gemma said one of the lawyers talked about his billboard.

D’Amico and Burchfield say that Gemma brought up the idea of pursuing legal action.

Not difficult to figure out which story is true here, is it?
(Providence WPRI, February 26)

In the height of irony, the wesbite for the law firm of D’Amico & Burchfield contains this slogan:

We’ll Take Care of You Like Family Would

N.B. — This story recently ran on WPRI television, but Anthony Gemma’s accidental death occurred in December of 2006. There is no public report of whether any disciplinary action was taken against either lawyer.

{ 4 comments }

1 cnoname 02.28.08 at 1:50 pm

As a lawyer I find the actions of D’Amico and Burchfield reprehesible. Before our misguided Supreme Court opened the floodgates to legal advertising this type of stuff could get you disbarred. This is one case where the “old days” truly were better – and it’s one of the reasons I’d advise anyone considering law school to put their efforts into some other pursuit – the practice of law is no longer a profession to be proud of.

2 JTheRock 02.28.08 at 5:15 pm

As a law student just starting my “professional responsibility” class I agree with “cnoname” in that this is reprehensible. Regardless as to whether or not who brought up the topic, they should not have discussed the matter at the funeral. If she did bring it up, a simple “yes, we can talk, here is my card, please call when you are through grieving” seems to me to be ethical. I cant beleive there is no record or disciplinary action.

3 As 02.28.08 at 7:02 pm

As I read the article, it is CLEAR that Kathleen Gemma had never met D’Amico or Burchfield before they showed up bragging about a Two Million Dollar lawsuit they had just won. How would the mother had known that? She would not. A non-parent who had no contact with the family in more than 6 years, did not show up to the hospital the night of the accident and had contact with anyone from the family. It is very clear to me who is at fault. The disgusting actions of the lawyers looking for a “Big Case”! They should be disbarred and legal action. This is just something you do not do.

4 Bumper 02.28.08 at 10:07 pm

This sort of foolishness, lawyers showing up at the funeral, is against the law in Texas. One enterprising attorney in the valley attempted to circumvent the law by buying a funeral home.

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