Monday, January 24, 2011
The New Jersey Supreme Court followed the recommendation of its Disciplinary Review Board and has imposed a reprimand in a matter in which the attorney represented two plaintiffs in a personal injury matter.
The attorney settled the cases without the permission of the clients. He claimed that a miscommunication between him and his secretary caused him to mistakenly believe that the settlements were authorized.
He then forged the names of both clients to releases by "attempting to mimic their signatures." He also falsely took the jurat on the releases.
When the clients advised the attorney that they did not accept the offers, he failed to tell them what he had done. They retained new counsel and were able to prevent enforcement of the settlements. The cases later settled.
New Jersey used to have the reputation as the toughest disciplining jurisdiction for attorneys. With dispositions such as this one, it doesn't anymore. (Mike Frisch)