Wednesday, February 26, 2020
An attorney's failure to respond to a bar complaint led to his disbarment by the New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department.
While respondent submitted an untimely answer to one complaint and appeared on two occasions for a deposition, he stopped cooperating thereafter.
Although having been served by delivering a copy of the motion to a person of suitable age and discretion at respondent's residence, followed by a mailing of the motion (CPLR 308), respondent failed to submit a response to the interim suspension motion.
After the interim suspension
In addition, the Committee was advised that, on July 18, 2019, Bronx Family Court Support Magistrate Jessica Sin called the Committee to report that respondent (who she discovered was suspended) had appeared before her that day in Part 28. When the parties went on the record, respondent conceded that while he was "just upstairs on another matter," he learned "for the first time" that his license had been suspended. Magistrate Sin would not allow respondent to proceed further and adjourned the matter. According to the Committee, Magistrate Sin was told by Part 40, where respondent had first appeared, that respondent was suspended and that he was heading to her court.
The Committee also considered an August 15, 2019 affirmation from opposing counsel in the Part 28 matter. Counsel stated that, prior to their case being called in Part 28, she and respondent engaged in settlement discussions regarding child care expenses; respondent conferred with his client about an offer regarding such expenses; the case was called before a final agreement was reached; respondent never informed her that he was suspended; and she only learned that he was suspended after the case was called.
On July 20, 2019, respondent emailed a per diem attorney service to account for his legal work representing his client in the Part 28 matter. Respondent's email, which still contains "Esq." after his name and includes the same address where he was served with the interim suspension motion and the June 11, 2019 order immediately suspending him, states that he "appear[ed] in court" and charged .5 hours for his appearance.