Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Thomas

Supreme Court of New York, First Department

January 23, 2018

In the Matter of Leslie Jones Thomas, (admitted as Leslie R. Jones), an attorney and counselor-at-law: Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Leslie Jones Thomas, (OCA Atty. Reg. No. 1984178) Respondent.

         Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Leslie Jones Thomas, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the Second Judicial Department on March 20, 1985.

          Jorge Dopico, Chief Attorney, Attorney Grievance Committee, New York (Orlando Reyes, of counsel), for petitioner.

          Sarah Diane McShea, Esq. for respondent.

          Marcy L. Kahn, Justices.

          PER CURIAM

         Respondent Leslie Jones Thomas was admitted to the practice of law by the Second Judicial Department on March 20, 1985, under the name Leslie R. Jones. At all times relevant to this proceeding, respondent maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department.

         In 2016, the Attorney Grievance Committee (Committee) brought nine charges against respondent alleging violations of neglect, failure to promptly comply with a client's reasonable requests for information, prohibition against collecting a legal fee in a domestic relations matter absent a written retainer agreement, failure to provide a Statement of Client's Rights and Responsibilities in a domestic relations matter, conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and other conduct adversely reflecting on fitness as a lawyer.

         A hearing before a Referee was commenced in January 2017, and concluded in February 2017. By report dated April 5, 2017, the Referee sustained charges one through three, dismissed charges four through nine, and recommended that respondent be publicly censured. The Committee argued that respondent should receive no less than a public censure and respondent urged an Admonition.

         Now, the Committee asks this Court, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 603.8-a(t)(4) and the Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR) 1240.8(b)(2), to affirm the Referee's findings of fact and conclusions of law sustaining charges one through three; disaffirm the Referee's findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect to charges four, five and nine and instead sustain these charges; and affirm the Referee's sanction recommendation of a public censure.

         By cross motion, respondent opposes the Committee's motion insofar as it seeks to have charges four, five and nine sustained and requests this Court affirm the Referee's liability findings in full, as well as his sanction recommendation of a public censure, but disaffirm the Referee's finding that respondent lacked remorse.

         In or about June 1996, respondent was retained to represent Jacqueline L., plaintiff spouse in a divorce action. In or about February 1999, following an inquest, the parties agreed to settle the matter. Respondent was directed to file the necessary documents to finalize the divorce within three weeks of February 26, 1999, but failed to do so. Fifteen years later, in or about June 2014, Jacqueline L.'s estranged husband, Charles C., contacted respondent to inquire about the status of the divorce action. Respondent advised Charles C. that she had to locate and review her file in order to respond to his inquiry. Respondent admits that she did not start looking for her file in earnest until in or about January 2015, by which time Charles C. had filed a disciplinary complaint against her. After ultimately finding the file in her home, in or about November 2015, respondent filed the necessary documents with the court and the divorce was finalized in January 2016.

         At her deposition before the Committee, respondent testified that after drafting the divorce documents she had difficulty finding her client. She acknowledged however, that it was her fault that the necessary paperwork to finalize the divorce was not filed in a timely manner. [1]

         The Referee found that prior to and after April 1, 2009, respondent neglected a legal matter in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility DR 6-101(a)(3) (22 NYCRR 1200.30[a][3]) and Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.00) rule 1.3(b) (charges one and three respectively) by failing to complete Jacqueline L.'s and Charles C.'s divorce matter in a timely manner. He also found respondent's failure to meet her professional responsibilities in connection with the divorce, prior to April 1, 2009, violated former DR 1-102(a)(7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a][7]) (conduct that adversely reflects on fitness as a lawyer) and, therefore, sustained charge two. Respondent does not contest these findings.

         Charge four alleged that respondent failed to respond in a timely manner to the Committee's directives that she submit a written answer to Charles C.'s complaint and provide information related thereto in violation of rule 8.4(d). Respondent received the complaint in January 2015 and after several extensions submitted her answer in July 2015. She delayed in providing the Committee with other information for several months. The Referee took notice of the fact that much of the delay was due to communication issues with respondent's first attorney by virtue of his continuing medical issues. He noted that respondent ultimately answered Charles C.'s complaint and provided the required information. The Referee found that her ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.