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In re Losier

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

June 7, 2017

In the Matter of Picard Losier, an attorney and counselor-at-law. Attorney Registration No. 1944438

         The respondent was admitted to the Bar at a term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department on August 1, 1984, and admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar on December 9, 1981. By order to show cause dated February 24, 2017, this Court directed the respondent to show cause why discipline should or should not be imposed upon him in this State pursuant to 22 NYCRR 1240.13, based on the misconduct underlying the discipline imposed by an order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania dated January 3, 2013.

          Faith Lorenzo, Hauppauge, NY (Ian P. Barry of counsel), for Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District.

          RANDALL T. ENG, P.J., WILLIAM F. MASTRO, REINALDO E. RIVERA, MARK C. DILLON, JOSEPH J. MALTESE, JJ.

          OPINION & ORDER

          PER CURIAM.

         By order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania dated January 3, 2013, the respondent's resignation was accepted, and he was disbarred on consent from the practice of law in that State. At the time that the respondent tendered his resignation, there was a pending disciplinary proceeding against him based upon a petition for discipline filed with the office of the Secretary for the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (hereinafter the Board) on December 22, 2010, docketed at 256 DB 2010. After a hearing held on April 27, 2011, July 19, 2011, and August 29, 2011, the Board issued its report and recommendations (hereinafter the Board report), which unanimously recommended to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that he be disbarred.

         As reflected in the Board report, the facts, briefly summarized, are as follows:

         The Howell Matter

         The respondent represented Harry Howell in connection with his claim for workers' compensation benefits. Howell had been awarded benefits through the early part of 1997. On July 24, 1997, the respondent filed a reinstatement petition alleging that Howell became re-disabled as of May 3, 1997. By decision dated August 27, 2002, the reinstatement petition was granted. An appeal filed on behalf of Howell's employer was denied by order dated October 16, 2002.

         From November 2002 through April 2003, the respondent received eight checks payable to "Harry Howell, " which totaled $101, 131.33. The respondent deposited those checks into an escrow account (hereinafter the escrow account), for which he was the sole signatory. The respondent also received counsel fees totaling $25, 210.29.

         On April 11, 2003, Gayle Frink Johnson, the attorney representing Howell's employer and the workers' compensation insurance carrier (hereinafter PMA), spoke with the respondent and advised him that PMA had recently learned that Howell had died on October 16, 2001. By letter dated May 2, 2003, Johnson forwarded Howell's death certificate to the respondent. After learning of his client's death, the respondent did not take any reasonable steps to locate Howell's heirs.

         The respondent admitted that from November 21, 2003, through April 1, 2005, he misappropriated the sum of $86, 400 from the Howell escrow funds. In September 2005, the respondent was contacted by, and met with, a special agent with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Insurance Fraud Section. Sometime in February 2007, the respondent established a new account on behalf of Howell's estate, and deposited the sum of $82, 454 into that account.

         On or about February 1, 2007, PMA filed a petition for review, seeking to recover the overpayments made to the respondent and Howell. In October 2007, acting on behalf of himself and Howell's estate, the respondent paid to PMA $16, 892.57 from the escrow account, and $4, 150.38 from his own funds. By order dated December 13, 2007, the Workers' Compensation Judge approved a stipulation entered into between PMA, the respondent, and Howell's estate, and the petition for review was dismissed.

         The remaining funds in the escrow account, including interest, were delivered to the attorney for the administrator of the Howell estate in December 2007.

         Pattern of Misconduct in Relation to Maintenance and ...


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