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In re Lin

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

May 10, 2017

In the Matter of Andrew Y. Lin, admitted as Andrew Youngson Lin, an attorney and counselor-at-law. Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts, petitioner; Andrew Y. Lin, respondent. (Attorney Registration No. 2811859)

         DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING instituted by the Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts. The respondent was admitted to the Bar at a term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department on April 12, 2000, under the name Andrew Youngson Lin. By decision and order on application dated July 6, 2016, this Court authorized the Grievance Committee to institute and prosecute a disciplinary proceeding against the respondent based upon a verified petition dated March 14, 2016, and referred the issues raised to the Honorable Jerome M. Becker, as Special Referee, to hear and report.

          Diana Maxfield Kearse, Brooklyn, NY (Colette M. Landers of counsel) for petitioner.

          RANDALL T. ENG, P.J. WILLIAM F. MASTRO REINALDO E. RIVERA MARK C. DILLON SANDRA L. SGROI, JJ.

          OPINION & ORDER

          PER CURIAM.

         The Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts (hereinafter the petitioner) served the respondent with a petition dated March 14, 2016, containing five charges of professional misconduct. After a hearing conducted on September 21, 2016, the Special Referee, in a report dated November 14, 2016, sustained all charges. The petitioner now moves to confirm the Special Referee's report and to impose such discipline as the Court deems just and proper. Although served with a copy of the petitioner's motion, the respondent has neither submitted any papers in response nor requested additional time in which to do so.

         Charge one alleges that the respondent failed to timely cooperate with the petitioner in the investigation of three complaints of professional misconduct in violation of rule 8.4(d) and (h) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0) as follows:

The first complaint was filed by Kan.Tak Lew in May 2014 (hereinafter the Lew complaint). By letter dated May 23, 2014, the petitioner advised the respondent of the Lew complaint, and requested the respondent to provide his written answer within 10 days. He failed to do so. By letter dated June 19, 2014, sent to the respondent via certified mail, the petitioner requested a response from the respondent by July 2, 2014. After the respondent failed to respond, counsel to the petitioner left voicemail messages for the respondent on July 30, 2014, and August 26, 2014, seeking his answer to the Lew complaint. No response was forthcoming. A third letter was sent by the petitioner on October 15, 2014, by certified mail to the respondent's office and home addresses. Therein, the respondent was directed to submit an answer to the Lew complaint by November 3, 2014. He failed to do so.

         The second complaint stems from a dishonored check notice received by the petitioner from the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection. By letter dated October 15, 2014, the petitioner advised the respondent of the dishonored check complaint, and directed him to produce certain bank records for his escrow account, along with his answer, within 10 days. No response was received from the respondent.

         Also by letter dated October 15, 2014, the petitioner advised the respondent that a third complaint had been opened based upon his failure to re-register as an attorney with the Office of Court Administration. Therein, the respondent was directed to submit a written answer within 10 days, and provide proof of his re-registration within 45 days. No response was received from the respondent.

         The petitioner's investigator hand delivered a letter dated November 18, 2014, to the respondent directing him to appear at the petitioner's office on December 5, 2014, for an examination under oath. The respondent failed to appear on December 5, 2014, as directed. Staff counsel to the petitioner left voicemail messages, on both the respondent's office and cell phones, which requested him to return the calls forthwith.

         On Monday, December 8, 2014, the respondent telephoned staff counsel, and claimed that he "got the date mixed up." He promised to provide his answers and the bank records by December 12, 2014, and to appear for an examination under oath on December 22, 2014. The respondent submitted an answer addressing all three complaints on December 15, 2014, but did not provide his bank records. He appeared on December 22, 2014, for his examination under oath.

         Charge two alleges that respondent neglected a legal matter in violation of rule 1.3(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0) as follows:

The respondent was retained in October 2013 by Kan.Tak Lew to probate his mother's will. The respondent was paid $1, 500 towards his fee and the court filing fees. On or about January 15, 2014, the respondent filed a petition for probate and letters testamentary in the Surrogate's Court, Queens County, in the Lew matter. He thereafter failed to take any further action, and was discharged by Lew in or about July 2014.

         Lew, appearing pro se, filed documents with the Surrogate's Court to probate the will. On August 22, 2104, the court ...


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