A Carlisle, Pa., lawyer blamed an addiction to video games for the sloppy legal work that has resulted in a three-year suspension.

Mathew Eshelman, 43, retreated into the world of video games to fight job stress and problems at home, a state disciplinary panel concluded last week.

The habit got Eshelman fired from a firm in 2007, but little changed when he set up a solo practice.

"When attempting to conduct his own law practice, he sought refuge from his problems by playing video and computer games with an even greater intensity. He described himself as 'addicted' to the games," lawyer Howell K. Rosenberg wrote in the 89-page report.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Disciplinary Board's report detailed 17 cases - mostly involving bankruptcy, divorce, and debt collection - that Eshelman mishandled. He missed deadlines, lost track of client money, and once lied in a divorce filing - all while ignoring calls from increasingly angry clients.

They started filing complaints to the disciplinary board in or about 2007. Eshelman testified before the panel and conceded that he needed time away from work to rebuild his personal life.

A hearing committee recommended a five-year suspension. But because Eshelman had once been a competent lawyer, the disciplinary board agreed on a three-year ban.

The Legal Intelligencer reported Friday on the opinion.

Eshelman did not return a call seeking comment from the Associated Press.