Tuesday, January 31, 2023
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
An attorney's failure to provide an invoice for billed services in a divorce matter drew a censure from the New Jersey Supreme Court.
As described by the Disciplinary Review Board
In summary, for more than one year, from May 2017 through November 2018, respondent repeatedly failed to provide Sweeney with an invoice for his legal services, despite the requirements of R. 5:3-5(a)(5), the terms of their retainer agreement, and her numerous requests that he do so. As of the date of the ethics hearing – more than three years after Sweeney’s first documented request for an invoice – respondent still had failed to provide Sweeney with a single invoice.
The clients pleas (and pleases) did not help
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE address my concerns! Ihave the utmost respect for you and think you are a great guy, but I cannot believe I have to beg you for assistance. I feel as though I have been beyond patient. I understand I am an old case (ALMOST A YEAR SINCE DIVORCE FINAL) and not a priority to you now, but if you could just provide me with the information that is rightfully due to me, I promise not to bother you.
In June 2020, respondent received a reprimand for his violations of RPC 1.1(a) (gross neglect); RPC 1.3 (lack of diligence); RPC 1.4(b); and RPC 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation). In re Nussey, 242 N.J. 153 (2020) (Nussey I).
Less than two years later, in November 2021, we censured respondent for his violations of RPC 1.15(a) (negligent misappropriation of client funds), RPC 1.15(d) (failure to comply with the recordkeeping requirements of R. 1:21-6), and RPC 8.1(b), for misconduct that occurred between August 2018 and July 2019. In the Matter of David Ryan Nussey, DRB 21-065 (November 8, 2021) (Nussey II). Our decision in Nussey II remains pending with the Court.
Respondent also had initially failed to respond to the complaint
Respondent also failed to cooperate with disciplinary authorities by ignoring the DEC’s October 18, 2018 written request for a reply to Sweeney’s grievance. Although he eventually filed an answer to the complaint, that answer came in August 2019 – ten months after the DEC’s initial request that he reply to the grievance. Similarly, respondent failed to produce a copy of Sweeney’s file as directed until January 2020 – another five months later. The fact that respondent’s answer ultimately was provided, fifteen months later, does not cure his initial failures to cooperate and to respond, in writing, to requests for information “within ten days of receipt,”