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In re Bancroft

March 18, 1986

IN THE MATTER OF DON X. BANCROFT, AN ATTORNEY AT LAW

ORDER

The Disciplinary Review Board having filed a report with the Supreme Court recommending that DON X. BANCROFT, of KINNELON, who was admitted to the Bar of this State in 1968, be publicly reprimanded for his violation of DR 6-101(A)(1), neglecting a legal matter, DR 7-101(A)(2), failing to carry out a contract of employment, and DR 7-101(A)(3), knowingly prejudicing or damaging his client, and good cause appearing;

It is ORDERED that the findings of the Disciplinary Review Board are hereby adopted and respondent is publicly reprimanded; and it is further

Ordered that the Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board, together with this order and the full record of the matter, be added as a permanent part of the file of said DON X. BANCROFT as an attorney at law of the State of New Jersey; and it is further

Ordered that DON X. BANCROFT reimburse the Ethics Financial Committee for appropriate administrative costs.

Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board

This matter is before the Board based upon a presentment filed by the District X (Morris County) Ethics Committee recommending that a public reprimand be issued.

The Board makes the following findings of fact:

In 1973, Respondent was retained by Edward Dwyer, Sr., to represent him and his sons in a civil action wherein they were charged by a neighbor with assault and battery. On July 14, 1975, a trial court, sitting without a jury, held the Dwyers liable and entered judgment against them for $8,500. Respondent believed the amount of the judgment was excessive and, upon his advice, the Dwyers decided to appeal.

A notice of appeal was filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court, Appellate Division, on October 21, 1975. Respondent received the transcript of the trial proceedings on December 11, 1975. In January 1976, he filed a motion with the Appellate Division to extend the time to file the brief. This was granted, with the new deadline being March 5, 1976. By letter dated March 12, 1976, Respondent's adversary advised the Clerk's Office that he had not received a copy of Respondent's brief, or a copy of the trial transcript and suggested that the appeal be dismissed by the court. On its own motion, the Appellate Division on March 17, 1976, notified Respondent the appeal would be dismissed unless good cause was shown on April 6, 1976. On that date, the Appellate Division entered an order dismissing the appeal. On April 27, 1976, Respondent forwarded to his clients a bill for $1,289.40 for costs of printing, binding and covers for the appellate brief, appendix and copies of the exhibits.

On May 11, 1976, Respondent filed a motion to vacate the dismissal and to reinstate the appeal. By letter dated May 19, 1976, the Clerk's Office informed Respondent that his notice of motion was deficient because there was no supporting brief and no acknowledgment of proof of service. These legal papers had to be filed no later than May 26, 1976, with answering papers filed by June 2, 1976. After Respondent forwarded the necessary papers to the Clerk, the Appellate Division, by order dated June 17, 1976, vacated the order dismissing the appeal and reinstated it on condition that Respondent pay a personal sanction of $150. However, the money was not forthcoming from Respondent and the case remained dismissed. By letter dated July 16, 1976, Respondent informed his clients that:

I am sorry to repeatedly bother you with this but I have to have an answer or I will be forced to request a dismissal of the appeal which will make you immediately subject to entry of a Judgment for $8,500.00. I feel like I am in the middle with this appeal and it is not a very comfortable position and you have not ...


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