In the Matter of Trevor A. Reid, a suspended attorney: Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Trevor A. Reid, Respondent.
proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary
Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent,
Trevor A. Reid, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New
York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court
for the Third Judicial Department on January 17, 1979.
Dopico, Chief Attorney, Attorney Grievance Committee, New
York (Vitaly Lipkansky, of counsel), for petitioner.
appearance for respondent.
Tom, Justice Presiding, Rolando T. Acosta, Rosalyn H.
Richter, Karla Moskowitz, Sallie Manzanet-Daniels, Justices.
Trevor A. Reid was admitted to the practice of law in the
State of New York by the Third Judicial Department on January
17, 1979. At all times relevant herein, respondent maintained
an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial
about October 23, 2015, the Departmental Disciplinary
Committee (now the Attorney Grievance Committee) served
respondent with a notice and statement of charges alleging
that he committed nine acts of professional misconduct; this
was later amended to eight charges. The charges stemmed from
respondent's improper use of his attorney trust account,
and alleged that he misused his trust account to shield his
personal funds from seizure by New York State tax
authorities, commingled client funds with business and
personal funds, testified falsely at an examination under
oath (i.e., deposition) before the Committee, and failed to
cooperate with the Committee's investigation in violation
of New York Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0)
rules 1.15(a), 1.15(b)(1), 8.4(c), 8.4(d), and 8.4(h).
order and decision entered January 14, 2016, upon motion of
the Attorney Grievance Committee, this Court suspended
respondent, pursuant to former 22 NYCRR 603.4(e)(1)(i), for
failure to cooperate with the Committee's investigation
of two complaints filed against him and a sua sponte
investigation regarding his trust account (137 A.D.3d 25');">137 A.D.3d 25 [1st
hearings on liability and sanctions, which respondent was
notified of but ignored, a Referee appointed by this Court
sustained all the charges alleged against respondent. He
recommended that respondent should be disbarred. The Referee
predicated his recommendation upon a finding that respondent
engaged in serious misconduct, disregarded the
Committee's proceedings and defaulted as to the charges.
a Hearing Panel heard oral argument despite respondent's
nonappearance. The Hearing Panel issued its written report
adopting the Referee's report in full, including his
recommendation of disbarment.
Committee now seeks an order confirming the Hearing
Panel's report in full and disbarring respondent; or in
the alternative, confirming the Referee's report in full
and disbarring respondent. Respondent defaulted in the
proceeding below and has not submitted a response to the
instant motion to disbar despite having been served.
we note the Committee served respondent with the charges at
his registered address, which is also his home address, by
first class mail and certified mail return receipt requested,
but he did not submit an answer. On January 12, 2016, the
Committee wrote respondent advising him that he was in
default under 22 NYCRR 605.12(c)(4), that any allegation or
charge would, therefore, be deemed admitted, his failure to
appear at the hearing could be deemed an aggravating factor
which could result in his disbarment, and noted the date of
the hearing. The letter was sent to respondent by email,
first class mail, and certified mail return receipt
requested. The Committee received back a signed return
receipt with a signature that appears to be that of
respondent. By letter dated January 15, 2016, the Committee
again advised respondent of the date and time of the hearing
and the possible consequences if he failed to appear; the
letter was emailed to respondent and mailed to his
registered/home address by express mail, which was delivered
on January 16, 2016. By January 19, 2016 email, respondent
was again advised of the date and time of the Referee
January 20, 2016, the Referee found that respondent had
received sufficient notice of the hearing and proceeded in
his absence, finding that respondent defaulted with respect
to the charges, and thus they were deemed admitted.
evidence presented at the hearing established that from at
least June 2010 through March 2013 respondent misused his
trust account to shield his personal funds from being seized
by New York State tax authorities based on tax warrants filed
against him for failure to pay unemployment tax. In addition
to client funds, respondent deposited personal funds into his
trust account (i.e., commingled funds) out ...