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In re Goldsmith

Supreme Court of New York, First Department

March 1, 2018

In the Matter of Matthew H. Goldsmith, (admitted as Matthew Harris Goldsmith), an attorney and counselor-at-law: Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Matthew H. Goldsmith, Respondent.

         Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Matthew H. Goldsmith, 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 February 11, 2004.

          Jorge Dopico, Chief Attorney, Attorney Grievance Committee, New York, (Yvette A. Rosario, of counsel), for petitioner.

          Respondent pro se.

          Peter Tom, Justice Presiding, Rosalyn H. Richter, Barbara R. Kapnick, Cynthia S. Kern, Peter H. Moulton, Justices.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         Respondent Matthew H. Goldsmith was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the Second Judicial Department on February 11, 2004, under the name Matthew Harris Goldsmith. At all times relevant to this proceeding, respondent maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department.

         The Attorney Grievance Committee (Committee) seeks an order pursuant to the Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR) § 1240.9(a)(1), (3) and (5), immediately suspending respondent from the practice of law until further order of the Court, due to his failure to appear pursuant to subpoena and to comply with lawful demands of the Committee, and other uncontroverted evidence of professional misconduct. Specifically, the Committee's motion is based on uncontested evidence that respondent converted/misappropriated and commingled client funds and failed to cooperate with the Committee's investigation of two complaints.

         On or about November 4, 2016, a client of respondent's filed a complaint against him alleging that in April 2012, he retained respondent to represent him in a breach of contract action against a company. In November 2012, a judgment was entered against the defendant company for $15, 603.44 plus interest but respondent was unable to locate the company to collect the funds. In July 2016, respondent emailed his client stating that he had collected half of the funds by freezing the defendant's bank account, anticipated recovering the remainder, and would update the client further in the following weeks.

         In August 2016, respondent emailed his client that he had recovered the entire judgment, but that the defendant was attempting to contest the levy. Respondent further informed his client that he hoped to resolve the issue quickly and would know more later that week. The client alleged that numerous phone calls to respondent's office and cell phone went unanswered and respondent's secretary informed the client that she had relayed all his messages to respondent. In mid-September, the client emailed respondent requesting an update on the funds but respondent did not reply.

         On December 1, 2016, the client received a check from respondent for $16, 512.59 but it was returned for insufficient funds. On January 11, 2017, the client received a second check for the same amount that was also returned for insufficient funds.

         On January 19, 2017, the client emailed a paralegal at respondent's firm, requesting a cashier's check. The paralegal replied that respondent had instructed her to inform the client that if he withdrew his complaint, a bank check would be sent to him. That same day, respondent emailed his client directly:

"Stop contacting my paralegal and contact me directly. If you want a cashier's check for the amount fine, but then discontinue your proceedings. If they are open, then I'll deal with the court directly and will seek to reopen your case... since they claim that you should be paid less, it's really up to you. Do not contact my paralegal again, and cease your threats or you will be looking at a lawsuit against you - DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?"

         In March 2017, the client notified the Committee that he had received a cashier's check from respondent for the full amount.

         On December 19, 2016, the Committee received a complaint from a woman alleging that her son had retained respondent on her behalf regarding her illegal eviction. Court documents reflect that after the defendant failed to appear in the action, the court awarded respondent's client a total of $224, 339.81 in damages. The client believes that respondent received "a judgment" without informing her. Since ...


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