Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Claimed Disability Draws Interim Suspension

An attorney who is the subject of an ethics investigation alleged an inability to respond to the allegations due to her physical condition.

The New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department imposed an interim suspension:

Here, respondent's contention that her medical disability prevents her from adequately defending herself in proceedings before the Committee requires her immediate suspension from the practice of law pursuant to the Rules of the Appellate Division, First Department (22 NYCRR) ยง 603.16(c)(1), and accordingly the branch of the motion which seeks suspension is granted. However, the branches seeking an order staying the Committee's investigation and quashing the subpoena served upon respondent are held in abeyance pending a determination whether she can defend herself.

While the medical evidence that respondent submitted constitutes some evidence of her general incapacity, it does not conclusively demonstrate that she is incapable of defending herself in that she has continued to work as a fiduciary. For that reason, the Court seeks a further examination by qualified physicians.

Thus, the cross motion to suspend respondent for misconduct is held in abeyance pending a determination whether respondent's incapacity prevents her from adequately defending herself against those claims.

The court directed that a doctor's examination to explore the disability claim be conducted promptly.(Mike Frisch)


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