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 December 13, 2012
Luis A. Gonzalez, Presiding Justice, David B. Saxe James M. Catterson Sheila Abdus-Salaam Sallie Manzanet-Daniels, Justices.
Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Jenee M. Gadsden, 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 June 14, 1997. Jorge Dopico, Chief Counsel, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York (Naomi F. Goldstein, of counsel), for petitioner. No appearance for respondent. M-3079 (August 6, 2012) IN THE MATTER OF JENEE M. GADSDEN, A SUSPENDED ATTORNEY
Respondent Jenee M. Gadsden was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the First Judicial Department on July 14, 1997, under the name Jenee Moreen Gadsden. At all times relevant to this proceeding, respondent maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department. On April 2, 2009, this Court suspended respondent (as part of a mass suspension), pursuant to Judiciary Law § 468-a for failure to pay attorney registration fees (64 AD3d 187 [1st Dept. 2009]). According to the office of Court Administration's database, respondent failed to pay her fees for the following registration periods: 2005-2006; 2007-2008; 2009-2010; and 2011-2012.
The Departmental Disciplinary Committee (Committee) now seeks a further order suspending respondent, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 603.4(e)(1)(I), based upon her willful failure to cooperate with the Committee's investigation into allegations that she practiced law while suspended. The Committee received an affirmation from a Bronx Supreme Court judge, which respondent had allegedly submitted in support of a litigant's motion for reargument. In the affirmation, respondent claims to be "an attorney duly authorized to practice law in the state of New York".
By letter dated November 1, 2011, the Committee advised respondent that it had initiated a sua sponte investigation based upon her apparent unauthorized practice of law, and requested that she submit a written answer within 20 days explaining her conduct. The Committee's letter enclosed a copy of the quoted affirmation. The Committee's letter was sent to respondent at her last registered business address, and the address she included in the affirmation she submitted to the Supreme Court. Respondent did not respond to this letter.
By letter dated February 15, 2012, also sent to respondent's business address, the Committee made a second request for a written response and advised that failure to do so could result in disciplinary action. Respondent did not reply to this letter. On March 1, 2012, the Committee wrote to Gregory Harmon, Esq., the named principal of the firm at which respondent maintained her office, inquiring as to, among other things, whether respondent had a forwarding address. Harmon immediately called Committee staff and provided respondent's home address. He indicated that respondent had been away from the office, but did not confirm her status with the firm.
The Committee then sent a letter, with copies of the letters sent to the firm, to respondent's home directing her to submit a written answer within 14 days. Respondent did not submit the requested answer, nor did she respond to this letter.
On March 21, 2012, the Committee sent another letter to respondent's home directing her to submit an answer within 10 days, and advising her that her failure to do so could result in the Committee making "an appropriate application to the Appellate Division," and citing to interim suspension cases from this Court. Again, respondent failed to respond.
On April 5, 2012, the Committee served respondent by first class and certified mail with a judicial subpoena requiring her to appear before the Committee on April 20, 2012 (see 22 NYCRR 605.11[d]). The certified mailing was returned as "unclaimed", but the first class mailing was not returned. Respondent did not appear before the Committee on April 20, 2012. In response to respondent's failure to appear, the Committee adjourned her scheduled appearance to May 10, 2012. A Committee investigator attempted to personally serve respondent ...