In 1988 Attorney Beryl Cohen was indeed sanctioned by the Supreme Judicial Court for not returning a client's retainer after the client terminated Cohen's services. The sanction cited Cohen for not communicating effectively with his client, including not returning phone calls. He was barred from practicing law for one full year. Cohen was 53 years old at the time and had already fought and won the Ricci vs. Greenblatt et. al. suit.
This picture of Cohen certainly contradicts the image portrayed in accounts of the Ricci case, and it seems that Ricci vs. Greenblatt was certainly his finest hour. His sanction should not, however, take away from what he accomplished on the Ricci case, though it does lead readers to wonder what prompted this change in practice a mere 14 years after his greatest win.