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.
Decided on January 31, 2012
SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION First Judicial Department Luis A. Gonzalez,Presiding Justice, Richard T. Andrias David B. Saxe David Friedman James M. Catterson,Justices.
Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Michael M. Milchman, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department on August 22, 1983. Jorge Dopico, Chief Counsel, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York (Naomi F. Goldstein, of counsel), for petitioner. Respondent pro se. M-2744 July 11, 2001 In the Matter of Michael M. Milchman, A Suspended Attorney
Respondent, Michael M. Milchman, was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the First Judicial Department on August 22, 1983. At all times relevant to this petition, respondent has maintained an office for the practice of law in Florida.
By order entered December 14, 2006, this Court granted the reciprocal discipline petition of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee (Committee) and censured respondent based upon an order issued by the Supreme Court of Florida, on September 1, 2005 (912 So2d 319 [Fla 2005]), which approved an uncontested Referee's report and consent judgment, reprimanded respondent and placed him on probation for three years based upon a finding that there were shortages in his trust and operating accounts resulting from his inadequate record keeping (Matter of Milchman, 37 AD3d 77 ). By order entered November 10, 2009, this Court suspended respondent as a result of his failure to register with the Office of Court Administration ("OCA") since the biennial period 1991-1992, violating Judiciary Law § 468-a.
In August 2008, a proceeding was commenced by the Florida Bar based on respondent's failure to comply with the terms of his probation. Following a hearing, the Florida Supreme Court issued an order on October 28, 2008, holding respondent in contempt and suspending him for 91 days, effective November 27, 2008 (996 So2d 214 [Fla 2008]). Prior to the commencement of that proceeding, the Florida Bar had served respondent with a complaint charging him with failing to cooperate, making a material misrepresentation to the Bar, neglecting two criminal matters, and submitting his first quarterly report under the terms of his probation which showed trust account shortages and incomplete trust account records.
On June 23, 2009, respondent tendered his guilty plea to the charges and a consent judgment agreeing to an 18-month suspension from the practice of law, to be entered nunc pro tunc to November 27, 2008 (the effective date of his 91-day suspension). On June 29, 2009, a Referee signed a report recommending that the plea and judgment be approved. By order entered July 16, 2009, the Florida Supreme Court suspended respondent for 18 months effective nunc pro tunc to November 27, 2008 (14 So 3d 1004 [Fla 2008]).
On June 23, 2009, the Florida Bar learned that on November 4, 2008, respondent accepted a retainer fee to represent an individual in a criminal matter, which was in contravention of the October 28, 2008 suspension order, which had directed respondent to immediately cease accepting new business. In September 2009, respondent was served with a petition and an order to show cause why he should not be held in contempt and disbarred for his willful violation of the October 2008 order.
On December 9, 2010, a hearing was conducted before a Referee during which respondent, represented by counsel, entered a guilty plea to the charges and agreed to accept a three-year suspension nunc pro tunc to September 23, 2009, the date on which the Florida Bar filed its petition for contempt. The Referee accepted the guilty plea and authorized the Bar to enter into the plea agreement. On February 10, 2011, respondent executed a guilty plea and consent judgment. On February 14, 2011, the Referee issued a report recommending approval of both. By order dated May 24, 2011, the Supreme Court of Florida approved the Referee's report and suspended respondent from the practice of law for three years, effective nunc pro tunc September 23, 2009, plus costs (64 So 3d 119 [Fla 2011]).
The Departmental Disciplinary Committee now seeks an order pursuant to 22 NYCRR 603.3 imposing reciprocal discipline upon respondent, suspending him from the practice of law for a period of three years based upon similar discipline imposed on him by an order of the Supreme Court of Florida dated May 24, ...