July 10, 2013
In the Matter of Randi K. Franco, admitted as Randi Kern Franco, an attorney and counselor-at-law. Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District, petitioner; Randi K. Franco, respondent. (Attorney Registration No. 2098630)
RANDALL T. ENG, P.J., WILLIAM F. MASTRO, REINALDO E. RIVERA, PETER B. SKELOS, MARK C. DILLON, JJ.
OPINION & ORDER
Application by the Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District, pursuant to section 691.3 of the Rules Governing the Conduct of Attorneys (22 NYCRR 691.3), to impose such discipline upon the respondent as this Court deems appropriate, based upon the respondent's three-month suspension from the practice of law by order of the Supreme Court of New Jersey dated December 4, 2012. The respondent was admitted to the New York Bar at a term of the Supreme Court in the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, on January 14, 1987, under the name Randi Kern Franco. Gary L. Casella, White Plains, N.Y. (Antonia Cipollone of counsel), for petitioner. Randi K. Franco, Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, respondent pro se.
The instant matter is predicated upon an order of the Supreme Court of New Jersey dated December 4, 2012, which suspended the respondent from the practice of law in that state for a period of three months, commencing January 14, 2013, and continuing until further order of the court. The respondent's suspension emanated from a finding that she violated New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5(d) (commingling of funds and charging a non-refundable retainer), 1.7(a) (conflict of interest), 1.8(a) (impermissible business transaction with a client), 1.15(d) (record keeping violations), and 1.15(a) (negligent misappropriation of escrow funds).
A notice pursuant to 22 NYCRR 691.3 was served upon the respondent on February 4, 2013, "according [her] the opportunity, within twenty days... to file a verified statement setting forth any defense... enumerated under subdivision (c) of this section, and a written demand for a hearing" and advising that "in default of such filing... this court will impose such discipline or take such disciplinary action as it deems appropriate" (22 NYCRR 691.3[b]).
In a verified statement dated February 12, 2013, the respondent waived her right to a hearing. However, she stated that the imposition of reciprocal discipline would be "unjust" (22 NYCRR 691.3[c]), citing mitigating circumstances.
Inasmuch as the respondent waived her right to a hearing before this Court, there is no impediment to the imposition of reciprocal discipline.
Under the totality of the circumstances, the application of the Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District is granted, and the respondent is publicly censured.
ENG, P.J., MASTRO, RIVERA, SKELOS and DILLON, JJ., concur.
ORDERED that the application of the Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District to impose discipline in New York is granted; and it is further,
ORDERED that the respondent is publicly censured.