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 March 27, 2012
SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISIONFirst Judicial Department
Luis A. Gonzalez, Presiding Justice, Angela M. Mazzarelli Richard T. Andrias John W. Sweeny, Jr.
Sallie Manzanet-Daniels, Justices.
Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Steven S. Greenberg, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the Second Judicial Department on October 20, 1971. Jorge Dopico, Chief Counsel, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York (Kathy Wu, of counsel), for petitioner. Michael S. Ross, for respondent. M-3845 M-4127 September 19, 2011 MATTER OF STEVEN S. GREENBERG, AN ATTORNEY
Respondent Steven S. Greenberg was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the Second Judicial Department on October 20, 1971. At all times relevant to this proceeding, respondent has maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Department.
In March 2007, respondent met with a client he was to represent in a personal injury action and requested that she re-enact the circumstances under which her accident occurred. During the demonstration, respondent inserted his hand beneath the client's clothing and touched her breast, and moved her hand over his groin area (outside of his trousers) in a sexual manner, without the client's permission or consent. Respondent then told the client not to tell anyone.
In June 2007, respondent was charged in a misdemeanor complaint with one count of forcible touching in violation of Penal Law § 130.52 and two counts of sexual abuse in the third degree in violation of Penal Law § 130.55. On September 22, 2008, he pled guilty to disorderly conduct (Penal Law § 240.20), a violation, and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge.
In June 2010, the Departmental Disciplinary Committee (the Committee) served respondent with charges alleging that he engaged in illegal conduct that adversely reflects on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer, in violation of DR 1-102(A)(3)(charge 1), and conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness as a lawyer, in violation of DR 1-102(A)(7)(charge 2). In his answer and a pre-hearing stipulation, respondent admitted to both charges, although he disputed some details of the event.
In April 2011, the Referee issued a report in which she sustained both charges and recommended a public censure. While describing respondent's improper sexual touching of his client, in the course of a legal consultation, as appalling, the Referee took into account respondent's admission to the charges, his personal and professional reverses, including, periods of mental illness and the ...