Friday, November 4, 2011
The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department has imposed a three year suspension of an attorney for neglect and failure to respond to bar complaints. The court did not accept his mitigation explanation:
...the respondent testified in mitigation that, due to foot pain and medications prescribed to alleviate the pain, he became addicted to opiates. He attributes his neglect and failure to cooperate solely to the medication, which made him feel "like his head was in a fog." He claimed that he has since undergone rehabilitation and is currently not taking opiates of any kind. The respondent expressed remorse and has indicated that, if reinstated to practice, he is willing to submit to strict supervision and make restitution to his clients.
We do not find credible the respondent's contention that his addiction to opiate medication was the sole cause of his professional misconduct. Notwithstanding the respondent's remorse, he engaged in a pattern and practice of neglecting cases, even after he was admonished for neglecting nine client matters, and utterly failed to cooperate with the Grievance Committee's investigation.