In the Matter of Kevin J. McNeely (admitted as Kevin James McNeely), an attorney and counselor-at-law: Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Kevin J. McNeely, Respondent.
Dopico, Chief Attorney, Attorney Grievance Committee, New
York (Yvette A. Rosario, of counsel), for petitioner.
Friedman Justice Presiding, John W. Sweeny, Jr. Troy K.
Webber Marcy L. Kahn Jeffrey K. Oing, Justices.
proceedings instituted by the Attorney Grievance Committee
for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Kevin J.
McNeely, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at
a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the
First Judicial Department on September 15, 1997.
Kevin J. McNeely was admitted to the practice of law in the
State of New York by the First Judicial Department on, under
the name Kevin James McNeely. At all times relevant to this
proceeding, respondent's registered business address has
been in Washington, D.C. At all times relevant, he has also
been a member of the bar of the District of Columbia. This
Court retains jurisdiction over respondent as the Judicial
Department in which he was admitted to practice (Rules for
Attorney Discipline Matters [22 NYCRR] § 1240.7[a]).
Attorney Grievance Committee (the Committee) seeks an order,
pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(2) and 22 NYCRR 1240.13,
imposing reciprocal discipline on respondent in light of a
sanction imposed on him by the District of Columbia.
16, 2017, the District of Columbia Disciplinary Counsel (DC
Disciplinary Counsel) filed a petition for negotiated
discipline with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Board of Professional Responsibility. The petition was based
on respondent's representation of two joint clients who
retained him in May 2015 to file patent applications. After
he filed the patent applications, and the clients paid the
associated fees and costs, respondent deposited the funds in
an account that held other funds, and did not pay the filing
fee for either patent. When the clients could no longer
contact respondent, they retained new counsel. Eventually,
when the clients located respondent, he admitted his
omissions and worked with their new counsel to restore the
Disciplinary Counsel's petition stated that, at the time
of his misconduct, respondent was suffering from severe
depression, alcohol abuse and insomnia. However, the DC
Disciplinary Counsel averred that respondent, after he
received treatment in 2016, was "significantly
rehabilitated" and unlikely to engage in future
misconduct. The petition proposed a 30-day suspension,
stayed, and three years of probation on the condition that
respondent comply with certain requirements. By affidavit,
respondent acknowledged the truth of the material facts in
the petition and stated that he could not successfully defend
against the disciplinary proceedings. The District of
Columbia Court of Appeals accepted the DC Disciplinary
Counsel's recommendation and imposed the negotiated
discipline by order dated December 14, 2017 (In re
McNeely, 174 A.3d 865');">174 A.3d 865 [DC Ct App 2017]).
noted, the Committee now seeks an order, pursuant to
Judiciary Law § 90(2) and 22 NYCRR 1240.13, finding that
respondent has been disciplined by a foreign jurisdiction,
and imposing a public censure on respondent as reciprocal
discipline. Respondent has submitted an affidavit consenting
to the relief sought by the Committee's motion and
waiving any defenses to the imposition of reciprocal
discipline under 22 NYCRR 1240.13.
New York has no sanction equivalent to that imposed by the
District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the misconduct for
which respondent was disciplined constitutes misconduct in
New York . As a general rule in matters of
reciprocal discipline, this Court gives significant weight to
the sanction imposed by the jurisdiction in which the charges
were initially brought (see Matter of Cardillo, 123
A.D.3d 147 [1st Dept 2014]). Thus, based on respondent's
consent to the relief sought by the Committee, and the
findings of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the
imposition of the reciprocal discipline sought by the
Committee is warranted (see Matter of Bogard, 149
A.D.3d 224 [1st Dept 2017]).
the Committee's motion should be granted, and respondent
motion is granted, and respondent is censured ...