Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department has imposed a public censure of an attorney for neglect, signing a false attorney verification and assisting a non-lawyer's unauthorized practice of law.
The court described the situation:
The respondent was a partner in the law firm of Almonte & Bratkovsky, PLLC. In or about June 2006, Elina Zakharov, the vice president of J'Adore Day Spa (hereinafter J'Adore), met with Roman Pyatetsky, whom she believed to be a lawyer and an associate in the respondent's law firm, to discuss J'Adore's legal options against Quality General Contracting Corporation (hereinafter Quality General) regarding allegedly substandard contracting services provided to J'Adore. Pyatetsky was not a lawyer and was not an employee of the respondent's law firm. Zakharov paid legal fees in the sum of $7,000 to Pyatetsky and gave him original documents with the understanding that J'Adore was retaining the respondent's law firm to handle the lawsuit against Quality.
Without the respondent's knowledge or direction, Pyatetsky prepared a summons and verified complaint, together with an attorney verification. Those pleadings listed Almonte & Bratkovsky, PLLC, as the attorney of record, and were supported by an attorney verification in the respondent's name. On or about October 12, 2006, at Pyatetsky's request, the respondent signed the summons and the verified complaint, as well as the attorney verification. At the time, the respondent had not obtained a signed retainer agreement or letter of engagement from J'Adore and knew that J'Adore had retained neither him nor his law firm. At that time, the respondent told Pyatetsky that neither he nor his law firm intended to actually represent J'Adore in the lawsuit. Pyatetsky, whom the respondent knew was not a lawyer, filed the J'Adore action in the Supreme Court, New York County.
The attorney admitted the misconduct. (Mike Frisch)