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In re Stuart

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

June 28, 2017

In the Matter of Pamela Bruce Stuart, an attorney and counselor-at-law. (Attorney Registration No. 1206044)

          Faith Lorenzo, Hauppauge, NY (Carolyn Mazzu Genovesi of counsel), for Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District.

          Pamela Bruce Stuart, Washington, DC, respondent pro se.

          RANDALL T. ENG, P.J. WILLIAM F. MASTRO REINALDO E. RIVERA MARK C. DILLONROBERT J. MILLER, JJ.

          OPINION & ORDER

          PER CURIAM.

         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 24, 1974. 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 on her 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 Florida dated January 5, 2017.

         By order dated January 5, 2017, the Supreme Court of Florida suspended the respondent from the practice of law for one year, effective 30 days from the date of the order. The order was predicated on a document entitled "Conditional Guilty Plea for Consent Judgment" (hereinafter the consent judgment) dated November 15, 2016.

         As revealed in the consent judgment, the respondent was appointed by her father as trustee of his trust. As trustee, and pursuant to the terms of the trust and Florida law, the respondent loaned herself money from the trust to: (1) assist her in carrying out the trust's responsibilities, (2) pay part of the carrying costs of a failed real estate investment, and (3) support her own living and medical expenses. The terms of the trust required the loans to be secured by collateral and at an adequate interest rate. A promissory note prepared by the respondent properly secured repayment of the loans.

         In a civil suit involving the trust commenced in Florida, a judge found that the respondent breached her fiduciary duties by failing to provide the required accountings and loaning herself substantial monies from the trust, and denied the respondent's request for payment of trustee fees and repayment of trust expenses advanced by the respondent.

         The following mitigation was noted: the respondent (1) had no prior disciplinary history, (2) experienced many personal problems and setbacks over the time period of the misconduct, (3) displayed a cooperative attitude during the disciplinary proceeding, (4) faced civil penalties for her misconduct, and (5) expressed remorse. Aggravating factors were also noted, namely, that the respondent had substantial experience in the practice of law, and had engaged in a pattern of misconduct.

         The plea was approved by the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar and the Supreme Court of Florida. Accordingly, the Supreme Court of Florida, by order dated January 5, 2017, suspended the respondent from the practice of law for one year.

         Response to the Order to Show Cause

         In an 18-page response filed with this Court on March 28, 2017, the respondent contends that reciprocal discipline is inappropriate. Alternatively, the respondent requests, inter alia, that in the event this Court were to impose reciprocal discipline, this Court's order be made nunc pro tunc to the effective date of the Florida order of suspension.

         The respondent is admitted to the Bar in the following jurisdictions: Washington, D.C., New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. She practices law in Washington, D.C., with an office in Vero Beach, Florida, and is also of counsel to the law firm of Simon & Partners, LLP, in New York.

         With regard to the facts underlying her suspension in Florida, the respondent underscores the fact that the charges of misconduct do not involve a client or any aspect of her law practice, but rather, a bitter family dispute ...


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