The Disciplinary Review Board having filed a report with the Supreme Court recommending that PETER F. SUCHANOFF of AVALON be disciplined for violations of DR. 1-102(A)(4) and (6) arising out of his improper utilization of an escrow account of the title company where he was employed, and good cause appearing;
It is ORDERED that the report of the Disciplinary Review Board is hereby adopted and that, substantially for the reasons appearing in that report, PETER F. SUCHANOFF is suspended from the practice of law for a period of three years and until the further order of this Court, effective March 26, 1981; and it is further
ORDERED that respondent reimburse the Administrative Office of the Courts for the administrative costs incurred in this matter, including the production of transcripts; and it is further
Ordered that respondent continue to be restrained and enjoined during the period of his suspension and that he continue to comply with all the regulations of the Disciplinary Review Board governing suspended, disbarred or resigned attorneys.
Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board
To the Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of New Jersey:
This matter is before the Board based upon a presentment, captioned "Report of the Findings of Hearing Panel" filed by the District I Ethics Committee. The presentment details four instances of improper utilization of an escrow account of the Jersey Commonwealth Abstract Company, where respondent was employed as "settlement clerk".
Respondent began his employment in 1973 following graduation from law school. His employer, the complainant herein, maintained a law office in Avalon, New Jersey and simultaneously acted as agent for Chelsea Title and Guaranty Company, trading as Jersey Commonwealth Abstract Company (hereinafter Commonwealth). Respondent received limited training prior to assuming the bulk of the responsibility for settlements involving Commonwealth, although his employer was available for consultation when necessary.
Over time, respondent's workload increased to a point where he handled between ten and twenty settlements per week. This required that he work about twelve hours per day, six days a week. In 1978, he became a partner in his employer's law firm, and in the title company, although he continued to work exclusively on title company matters.
The four transactions which form the basis for the ethics complaint may be summarized as follows: