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In re John P. Russell an Attorney-At-Law

April 25, 1988

IN THE MATTER OF JOHN P. RUSSELL AN ATTORNEY-AT-LAW

ORDER

The Disciplinary Review Board having filed a report with the Supreme Court recommending that JOHN P. RUSSELL, of JERSEY CITY, who was admitted to the Bar of this State in 1965, be publicly reprimanded for violations of DR. 2-110(A)(2) by improperly withdrawing as counsel for his client and DR. 7-101(A)(2) and (3) in failing to carry out a contract of employment and improperly withdrawing from representing his client resulting in prejudice or damage to the client, thereby engaging in conduct that adversely reflected on his fitness to practice law, in violation of DR. 1-102(A)(6), 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 JOHN P. RUSSELL as an attorney at law of the State of New Jersey; and it is further

Ordered that JOHN P. RUSSELL reimburse the Ethics Financial Committee for appropriate administrative costs.

APPENDIX

Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board

This matter is before the Board based on a presentment filed by the District VI (Hudson County) Ethics Committee.

In June 1977, respondent represented Carmine L. Trangone in a civil trial for malicious prosecution and false arrest filed against Mr. Trangone's employer. On June 14, 1977, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Trangone in the amount of $82,000 ($75,000 in damages plus $7,000 in pre-judgment interest). Following the entry of the verdict, Mr. Trangone's employer filed a motion for a judgment n.o.v. Respondent filed a brief in opposition and engaged in oral argument on July 8, 1977. The trial court granted the motion at the conclusion of oral argument and entered a formal order to that effect on July 18, 1977.

Upon hearing the Court's decision granting the motion, respondent agreed to file an appeal on Mr. Trangone's behalf. On or about August 10, 1977, after having received his client's check in the amount of $675 to cover transcript costs, respondent filed a notice of appeal and the transcript with the Clerk of the Appellate Division. However, after conducting some initial research and discussing the matter with several other attorneys,

respondent concluded that the appeal was without merit. Consequently, no brief was ever filed.

During the course of the next ten months, Mr. Trangone called respondent approximately ten to fifteen times. The parties disagree as to whether or when respondent informally advised Mr. Trangone that he did not wish to pursue the matter any further. It is clear, however, that respondent failed to convey formally this decision in writing to the court, his adversary, or client. In any event, the deadline for the filing of the brief passed and on May 12, 1978 the Appellate Division filed a motion to dismiss the appeal for lack of prosecution. ...


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