Thursday, September 13, 2018
The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department has imposed a reciprocal public censure based on a Minnesota sanction.
Among the violations
In March 2012, while he was still on probation from a 2010 disciplinary action, the respondent represented J.D. in a child visitation matter. M.S. was the court-appointed parenting consultant. DuringM.S.’s deposition, the respondent implied that M.S. had previously been accused of sexual misconduct with minors. At the hearing before the referee, the respondent testified that he recalled that M.S. had been accused of sexual contact with minors. At the conclusion of the hearing, the referee determined that the respondent had no evidence to support that recollection, that the respondent’s testimony was not credible, that the question “appeared to be intended to embarrass and humiliate” M.S., and that the question was asked without a good faith basis, thus violating Minn R Prof Conduct 4.4(a) and 8.4(d).
In 2013, S.A. discharged the respondent and requested that her files be returned to her. S.A. retrieved her files in May 2013. In August 2013, S.A. contacted the respondent informing him that her files were incomplete. In December 2013, the respondent located four more boxes of files and sent them to S.A.’s home. The referee determined that the respondent “failed to apply adequate reasonable actions to timely return files,” thus violating Minn R Prof Conduct 1.16(d). Among the files sent to S.A. were files belonging to other clients. By doing so, the referee determined that the respondent violated Minn R Prof Conduct 1.6(a).
Minnesota suspended him for 60 days followed by probation but
In view of the “relatively minor” nature of the misconduct underlying the Minnesota order of discipline, and the fact that the respondent does not practice law in New York and has already been reinstated in Minnesota, we conclude that a public censure is warranted.