Friday, August 12, 2011
The New Jersey Appellate Division has affirmed the dismissal of an action brought against a district ethics committee.
The plaintiff was unhappy because his bar complaint had been dismissed pursuant to established procedures as failing to state a claim of an ethical violation. He had his wife were involved in a dispute with an electrician over a bill. He complained about the conduct of the electrician's attorney.
That plaintiff is dissatisfied with the procedure
established by the disciplinary rules and the Committee's
decision, or has suggestions for what he considers to be
improvements to the process, does not translate into a
cognizable claim in the court system. As the Committee followed
the applicable rule pertaining to the processing of ethics
complaints, plaintiff received all due process to which he was
entitled under law. As Judge Feinberg noted, there was a
process, an opportunity for participation by plaintiff, and a
result; plaintiff simply disagrees with that result. Plaintiff
presented his grievance, supplemented by a brief by his
attorney, which was reviewed and declined twice by the
Committee's Secretary after conferring with the public member in
accordance with R. 1:20-3(e)(3) & (5). Accordingly, pursuant to
Rule l:20-3(e)(6), the Committee's decision is final and
plaintiff has no judicial recourse.
The opinion provides a useful history of the New Jersey disciplinary intake and review process. (MIke Frisch)