In the Matter of Michael Frants, a suspended attorney: Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Michael Frants, Respondent.
Dopico, Chief Attorney, Attorney Grievance Committee, New
York (Lance E. Philadelphia, of counsel), for petitioner.
Respondent pro se.
Friedman, Justice Presiding, Troy K. Webber, Marcy L. Kahn,
Anil C. Singh, Peter H. Moulton, Justices.
proceedings instituted by the Attorney Grievance Committee
for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Michael
Frants, 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 September 18, 2002.
Michael Frants was admitted to the practice of law in the
State of New York by the Second Judicial Department on
September 18, 2002. Respondent's last registered address
listed with the Office of Court Administration (OCA) was
within the First Judicial Department. Respondent currently
lives in Minnesota.
order of April 2, 2009, respondent was suspended from the
practice of law, as part of a mass suspension proceeding, for
failure to file attorney registration statements and pay
biennial registration fees (Matter of Attorneys in
Violation of Judiciary Law § 468-a, 64 A.D.3d 187');">64 A.D.3d 187
[1st Dept 2009]). To date, respondent has not registered nor
has he been reinstated in New York.
Minnesota Supreme Court, on or about September 17, 2009,
disbarred respondent for, inter alia, intentional
misappropriation of client funds in excess of $10, 000.
the Attorney Grievance Committee (Committee) seeks an order,
pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(2) and the Rules for
Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR) § 1240.13 and
the doctrine of reciprocal discipline, disciplining
respondent predicated upon the discipline imposed by the
Minnesota Supreme Court and directing him to demonstrate why
discipline should not be imposed for the underlying
misconduct and granting such other and further relief as is
just and proper. Respondent was served with the
Committee's motion, but he has not submitted a response.
December 2008 and March 2009, respectively, the Minnesota
Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility (OLPR) filed a
Petition for Disciplinary Action and Supplemental Petition
for Disciplinary Action charging respondent with
misappropriation of funds from multiple clients in an amount
exceeding $10, 000, failure to maintain required attorney
trust account records, and failure to produce requested
documentation to the OLPR, which included various trust
account books and records, in violation of Minnesota Rules of
Professional Conduct 1.15(a) (requirement that client funds
be maintained in a special attorney trust account separate
from the lawyer's personal funds), 1.15(h) (failure to
maintain required bookkeeping records), 8.1(b) (failure to
respond to a lawful demand for information from a
disciplinary authority); and 8.4(c) (conduct involving
dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation).
September 2009, respondent, represented by counsel, entered
into a stipulation with the OLPR in which he withdrew his
answers to the complaints and admitted the allegations of the
Petition and Supplementary Petition for Disciplinary Action,
waived his right to a hearing, and agreed that disbarment was
the appropriate sanction for his misconduct.
noted above, on or about September 17, 2009, the Minnesota
Supreme Court, based on an independent review of the record,
approved the parties' stipulation and disbarred
Committee asserts that respondent failed to promptly notify
the Committee of his discipline in Minnesota as he was
obligated to do under both former Rule 603.3(d) and its
successor 22 NYCRR 1240.13(d). The Committee was first
informed of respondent's 2009 Minnesota disbarment in
2016 by an OCA employee.
noted, the Committee seeks an order finding that respondent
has been disciplined by a foreign jurisdiction and directing
him to demonstrate to this Court why discipline should not be
imposed in New York for the underlying conduct (22 NYCRR
1240.13[a]) because respondent's misconduct in Minnesota
would constitute misconduct in New York in violation of
former Code of Professional Responsibility 1-102(a)(4) (22
NYCRR 1200.3 [a]) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud,
deceit, or misrepresentation), 1-102(a)(5) (22 NYCRR 1200.3
[a])(conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of
justice), 9-102(a) (22 NYCRR 1200.46 [a]) (prohibition
against misappropriation of client funds and commingling),
9-102(b) (22 NYCRR 1200.46 [b]) (obligation to maintain
client and/or third-party funds in an attorney special
account), 9-102(c)(3) (22 NYCRR 1200.46 [c]) (obligation
to maintain complete records of client and/or third-party
funds and to render appropriate accounts concerning such),
9-102(c)(4) (22 NYCRR 1200.46 ...