Thursday, June 9, 2011
The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed with its Disciplinary Review Board and imposed a public censure of an attorney who had inflated the cost of title insurance to cover possible later charges in real property transactions.
The attorney failed to advise clients of the inflated charge and the DRB rejected his explanation: "Respondent speculated that the clients would have objected, had he asked for the additional funds. We find this explanation insufficient. That the clients might have objected did not relieve him from his duty of candor toward them."
The District Ethics Committee had rejected charges that the attorney failed to have written fee agreements with real estate clients. The committee pointed to the nature and custom of that area of practice. The DRB disageed: "Time constraints and pressure of the real estate market notwithstanding, the rule must be followed. " (Mike Frisch)