IN THE MATTER OF JAMES R. LANGIONE AN ATTORNEY AT LAW
Argued: October 19, 2017
Review Board District Docket No. XIV-2016-0272E
Adler appeared on behalf of the Office of Attorney Ethics.
Respondent waived appearance for oral argument.
A. Brodsky, Chief Counsel.
C. Frost, Chair
Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme
Court of New Jersey.
matter was before us on a motion for reciprocal discipline
filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), pursuant to
R.1:20-14(a)(4), based on respondent's six-month
suspension in New York, effective July 24, 2015, for failure
to monitor his attorney trust account and to properly
supervise an employee who stole trust funds. We determine to
impose a prospective, six-month suspension.
was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1987 and the New York
bar in 1982. He has no prior discipline; however, on August
28, 2014, the Court entered an Order declaring respondent
ineligible to practice, based on his failure to pay his
annual registration fee to the Lawyers' Fund for Client
Protection (CPF). He remains ineligible to date.
did not notify the OAE of his six-month suspension in New
York, R. 1:20-14(a)(1) requires.
December 21, 2012, the Grievance Committee for the Ninth
Judicial District of New York filed a Petition containing
twelve ethics charges against respondent. On April 19, 2013,
respondent filed an answer.
13 and October 17, 2013, a hearing was held before a special
referee, after which he filed a report, dated March 25, 2014,
sustaining all of the charges against respondent. On June 25,
2015, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division,
Second Judicial Part, rendered its opinion and order,
confirming charges one through five, and seven through
twelve. Charge nine was partially sustained, while charge six
was dismissed as duplicative.
and his law partner, Peter Galasso (Galasso), failed to
supervise Anthony Galasso (Anthony), their bookkeeper/office
manager and Galasso's brother. Anthony stole in excess of
$4.5 million of client funds held in two attorney escrow
accounts. New York disciplinary authorities suspended Galasso
for two years for violating his fiduciary obligations to the
clients whose funds were stolen.
respondent's matter, the Appellate Division quoted an
excerpt from the Court of Appeals decision in Galasso's
case, which summarized the underlying facts as follows:
Anthony Galasso, in his capacity as office manager, deposited
the funds into an escrow account at Signature Bank (the Baron
escrow account). [Peter Galasso] and fellow partner James
Langione were the only authorized [signatories] on the
account application. However, Anthony Galasso apparently
altered the application to permit electronic fund transfers
and to include himself a - [nonlawyer] - as a [signatory].
Between June 23, 2004, and January 1, 2007, Anthony Galasso
transferred approximately $4, 501, 571 from the Baron escrow
account into six other firm accounts maintained at Signature
Bank through the use of roughly 90 Internet transfers. It
seems that the Baron funds were used to replace money that
Anthony Galasso had already removed from [other] firm
accounts. Transferred funds from the Baron escrow account
were then disbursed to [Peter Galasso], firm employees and
other entities in the course of business, all without the
knowledge of the firm's principals or the consent of the
Barons. In particular, approximately $360, 000 in funds
transferred from the Baron escrow account were used to
finance the purchase of the firm's office condominium. To