In the Matter of James N. Hulme, admitted as James Norton Hulme, an attorney and counselor-at-law. Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District, petitioner; James N. Hulme, respondent. (Attorney Registration No. 2098820)
DISCIPLINARY proceeding instituted by the Grievance Committee for the Tenth 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 December 10, 1986, under the name James Norton Hulme. By decision and order of this Court dated July 29, 2011, the Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District was authorized to institute and prosecute a disciplinary proceeding in this Court, as the petitioner, against James N. Hulme, admitted as James Norton Hulme, as the respondent, based upon the acts of professional misconduct set forth in a petition dated April 8, 2011, and the issues raised by the petition and any answer thereto were referred to the Honorable James P. Gowan, as Special Referee to hear and report.
Robert A. Green, Hauppauge, N.Y. (Robert H. Cabble of counsel), for petitioner.
McDonough & McDonough, Garden City, N.Y. (Chris McDonough of counsel), for respondent.
RANDALL T. ENG, P.J., WILLIAM F. MASTRO, REINALDO E. RIVERA, PETER B. SKELOS, MARK C. DILLON, JJ.
OPINION & ORDER
The Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District (hereinafter the Grievance Committee) served the respondent with a petition dated April 8, 2011, containing three charges of professional misconduct. Following a hearing, the Special Referee sustained all three charges. The Grievance Committee now moves to confirm the Report of the Special Referee and impose such discipline upon the respondent as the Court deems just and proper. The respondent joins in the Grievance Committee's motion insofar as it moves to confirm the Referee's report relative to the charges, and requests a lenient sanction.
The charges, as amended, emanate from a common set of facts, as follows:
At all relevant times from in or around 1986 through in or around 2007, the respondent and/or his law firm had, as clients, Loreto Carnevale and Josephine Carnevale (hereinafter together the Carnevales) and the Carnevales' wholly-owned business entities, Speonk Materials Corp. (hereinafter Speonk Materials) and J.R.C. Land Co. (hereinafter J.R.C. Land).
At all relevant times, commencing in or around 1978, Josephine Carnevale and/or the Carnevales' entities—Speonk Materials and/or J.R.C. Land—owned premises located on Hazelwood Avenue in Westhampton Beach (hereinafter the Hazelwood Avenue premises), at which they operated a cement manufacturing business.
Alanson N. Rogers and Isabel J. Rogers (hereinafter together the Rogerses) were predecessors in interest to the Carnevales' ownership of the Hazelwood Avenue premises. By deed dated December 28, 1931, the Rogerses conveyed to the Village of Westhampton Beach a portion of the Hazelwood Avenue premises. The portion conveyed to the Village was specified by a metes and bounds description, and consisted of an approximately 23-foot-wide strip of land along the easterly side of the Hazelwood Avenue premises (hereinafter the Hazelwood Avenue strip). The December 28, 1931, deed also recited that the Village, as party of the second part, was:
"TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the premises herein granted to the party of the second part and its successors for public highway uses and purposes as long as the same shall be used for highway purposes by the party of the second part or its successors."
The December 28, 1931, Rogers deed, which conveyed the Hazelwood Avenue strip, was not recorded with the Suffolk County Clerk. It was, however, on file with the Village Clerk.
By deed dated March 3, 1966, and recorded with the Suffolk County Clerk, the Rogerses conveyed the Hazelwood Avenue premises to Anthony Barone. The deed contained a metes and bounds description of the premises that included the Hazelwood Avenue strip, but also recited "EXCEPTING HOWEVER, that portion of the premises as described conveyed by Alanson N. Rogers and Isabel J. Rogers to the Village of Westhampton Beach by unrecorded deed dated December 28, 1931, and on file in the office of the Clerk of said Village of Westhampton Beach."
By deed dated November 30, 1972, and recorded with the Suffolk County Clerk, Barone conveyed the Hazelwood Avenue premises to Tod-Hampton Ready Mix Corp. (hereinafter Tod-Hampton). This deed contained the same metes and bounds description as the March 3, 1966, deed between the Rogerses and Barone, and also recited "EXCEPTING, however, that portion of the premises as described conveyed by Alanson N. Rogers and Isabel J. Rogers to the Village of Westhampton Beach by ...