August 13, 2013
In the Matter of Philip M. Manger, an attorney and counselor-at-law: Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Philip M. Manger, Respondent.
Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Philip M. Manger, 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 19, 1978.
Jorge Dopico, Chief Counsel, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York (Naomi F. Goldstein, of counsel), for petitioner.
Respondent pro se.
Angela M. Mazzarelli, Justice Presiding, John W. Sweeny, Jr., Karla Moskowitz, Sallie Manzanet-Daniels, Judith J. Gische, Justices.
Respondent Philip M. Manger was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the First Judicial Department on June 19, 1978. He does not maintain an office in New York.
The Departmental Disciplinary Committee (Committee) now seeks an order pursuant to the Rules of the Appellate Division, First Department (22 NYCRR) 603.11, accepting respondent's affidavit of resignation from the practice of law and striking his name from the roll of attorneys.
Respondent co-founded and operated Credit Collections Defense Network (CCDN), an entity which purportedly offered debt relief services and legal assistance to consumers in connection with credit card debt and collection matters. By decision dated March 25, 2011, respondent was found by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, to have made false and deceptive statements in violation of the federal Credit Repair Organizations Act (15 USC § 1679b), and the Illinois Credit Service Organizations Act (815 ILCS 605/5). By decision dated March 7, 2011, CCDN was found to have repeatedly violated West Virginia's Consumer Credit and Protection Act (W Va Code § 46A-1-101 et seq.) by, inter alia, engaging in unfair and deceptive practices by failing to disclose material information about their services and misleading consumers into entering into contracts. Respondent was also found to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in West Virginia.
Respondent acknowledges, in his affidavit of resignation, that he is aware that the Committee has alleged in its pending collateral estoppel petition that he has engaged in fraudulent or deceptive business practices and the unauthorized practice of law, in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, DR 1-102(a)(4), (5) and (7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a],  and ),  and states that he cannot defend himself against the allegations of misconduct described in the petition (see Matter of Thillet, 100 A.D.3d 223 [1st Dept 2012]; Matter of Bristol, 94 A.D.3d 85 [1st Dept 2012]).
Inasmuch as respondent's affidavit of resignation conforms with 22 NYCRR 603.11, the Committee's motion should be granted to the extent of accepting respondent's resignation from the practice of law, and striking his name from the roll of attorneys nunc pro tunc to April 24, 2013, the date the affidavit was sworn to. The Committee's petition to accord collateral estoppel effect to certain decisions of the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and the West Virginia Circuit Court of Kanawha County, finding respondent guilty of professional misconduct (M-2249), should be denied as moot.
Accordingly, the Committee's motion should be granted, respondent's resignation from the practice of law accepted, and respondent's name stricken from the roll of attorneys, effective nunc pro tunc to April 24, 2013 (M-2425).