DISCIPLINARY proceeding instituted by the Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts. The respondent was admitted to the Bar at a term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department on July 25, 1990.
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.
A. GAIL PRUDENTI, P.J., WILLIAM F. MASTRO, REINALDO E. RIVERA, ROBERT A. SPOLZINO and RUTH C. BALKIN, JJ.
By decision and order on motion of this Court dated November 7, 2007: (1) the respondent was suspended from the practice of law, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 691.4(l)(1)(i), upon a finding that she was guilty of misconduct immediately threatening the public interest in that she failed to submit written answers to complaints of professional misconduct filed against her; (2) the Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts (hereinafter the Grievance Committee) was authorized to institute and prosecute a disciplinary proceeding against her based upon the allegations set forth in a petition dated May 23, 2007, which was served on the respondent by substituted service, along with a copy of the order to show cause; (3) the respondent was directed to answer the petition, and (4) the issues raised by the petition and any answer interposed thereto were referred to the Honorable Herbert Altman, a retired Acting Supreme Court Justice, as Special Referee to hear and report.
The Grievance Committee now moves for an order adjudicating the respondent in default, based upon her failure to answer the petition within the time frame set forth by the Court in its order of November 7, 2007, to deem the charge set forth in the petition established, and to impose discipline on the respondent. The petition contains one charge against the respondent, namely, that she failed to cooperate with the petitioner in legitimate investigations into complaints of her professional misconduct.
On June 4, 2007, the respondent was served by substituted service with the Grievance Committee's motion by order to show cause for an immediate suspension, along with the petition, and accompanying papers. An order to show cause, permitting substituted service of the respondent at her home address, 3708 Oceanic Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y., 11224, was signed by Presiding Justice Prudenti on May 30, 2007. The respondent did not submit a response.
On November 16, 2007, the Grievance Committee's investigator, Louis Romaine, served the respondent with a copy of the decision and order dated November 7, 2007, in the same manner as set forth in the order to show cause dated May 30, 2007, which consisted of affixing a copy of the decision and order to the door of respondent's personal residence, as then listed with the Office of Court Administration, and mailing a copy of the same to the same address.
The respondent failed to submit an answer to the petition or make an application for an extension of time in which to answer.
The United States Postal Service returned to the Grievance Committee the unopened envelope containing the decision and order, mailed to the 3708 Oceanic Avenue address. The envelope bore a notation "Not at this address."
Since there was some uncertainty that the respondent actually had received the decision and order dated November 7, 2007, the Grievance Committee made additional attempts to locate the respondent and personally serve her. After those additional attempts failed, the Grievance Committee made another application to the Court for substituted service, detailing its efforts to locate the respondent and providing the respondent's latest contact information.
In an order dated November 13, 2008, Presiding Justice Prudenti authorized substituted service of the decision and order dated November 7, 2007, by mailing it to respondent at 1374 Dean Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, N.Y., 11216, by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, and by affixing a copy of the order to the door of the respondent's residence at the same address.
On November 19, 2008, the respondent was served with the decision and order dated November 7, 2007, by substituted service in the manner set ...