DISCIPLINARY proceeding instituted by the Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District. The respondent was admitted to the Bar at a term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department on February 4, 1987, under the name William Michael Joyce. By decision and order on motion of this Court dated June 11, 2007, the respondent was suspended from the practice of law, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 691.4(l)(1)(i), the Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District was authorized to institute and prosecute a disciplinary proceeding against the respondent, and the issues raised were referred to the Honorable Fred L. Shapiro, as Special Referee to hear and report. The respondent has been publicly censured twice as a result of previous disciplinary proceedings (see Matter of Joyce, 3 AD3d 178; Matter of Joyce, 282 AD2d 84).
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, STEVEN W. FISHER and MARK C. DILLON, JJ.
The Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District (hereinafter the Grievance Committee) served the respondent with a petition dated January 4, 2007, containing 12 charges of professional misconduct.
After a preliminary conference on November 14, 2007, and hearings on March 10, 11, 12, and 13, 2008, the Special Referee sustained charges one, two, seven, and eight through twelve, but declined to sustain charges three and four. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Grievance Committee withdrew charges five and six. The Grievance Committee now moves to confirm the Special Referee's report with respect to the charges that were sustained, and to disaffirm the report with respect to the charges that were not sustained. The respondent has neither cross-moved nor submitted any papers in response to the Grievance Committee's motion.
Charge one alleges that the respondent has been guilty of conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and conduct adversely reflecting on his fitness to practice law by failing to submit a written answer to a complaint of professional misconduct, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility DR 1-102(a)(5), (7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a], ).
The Grievance Committee provided the respondent with a copy of the complaint against him, filed by Owen Peterson and Judith Peterson (hereinafter the Petersons) and dated February 19, 2006, and, by letter dated February 28, 2006, and certified letters dated April 4 and July 26, 2006, directed him to submit a written answer. The Grievance Committee advised the respondent that failure to cooperate constituted professional misconduct independent of the merits of the complaint, and could provide the basis for an application for the immediate suspension of his license to practice law in New York.
By fax correspondence transmitted on August 17, 2006, the respondent acknowledged that he had received the complaint, and advised that he would submit an answer. Despite additional communications in which he indicated that he was preparing his answer for submission, the respondent failed to submit an answer.
Charge two alleges that the respondent engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and adversely reflecting on his fitness to practice law by failing to comply with a lawful demand of the Grievance Committee in connection with its investigation, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility DR 1-102(a)(5), (7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a], ).
On August 17, 2006, the Grievance Committee requested that the respondent produce a copy of his file referable to his representation of the Petersons no later than August 28, 2006. As of the date of the petition, the respondent failed to provide that file to the Grievance Committee.
Charge seven alleges that the respondent neglected a legal matter entrusted to him, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility DR 6-101(a)(3) (22 NYCRR 1200.30[a]).
In or about 2003, the respondent agreed to represent Judith Peterson in her defense of a claim asserted against her by MBNA America. In or about 2005, MBNA America obtained a judgment against Ms. Peterson in the Supreme Court, Putnam County. Although the respondent prepared ...