IN THE MATTER OF MICHAEL OSBORNE AN ATTORNEY AT LAW
Docket No. VIII-2015-0055E
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 certification of default filed by
the District VIII Ethics Committee (DEC), pursuant to R.
1:20-4(f). h one-count complaint charged respondent with
violations of RPC 1.15(b) (safekeeping property) and RPC
8.1(b) (failure to cooperate with an ethics investigation).
We determine to impose a censure.
was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1999.
Court Order effective March 3, 2016, respondent was
temporarily suspended for failure to comply with a fee
arbitration determination. In re Osborne, 22 4 N.J.
248 (2016). He remains suspended to date. We recently
determined to impose a censure for respondent's failure
to comply with R. 1:20-2 0, governing suspended attorneys.
In the Matter of Michael Osborne, Docket No. DRB
17-183. That matter currently is pending with the Court.
of process was proper in this matter. On February 24, 2017,
the DEC sent respondent, by certified and regular mail, a
copy of the complaint at his last known home address listed
in the attorney registration records. The certified mail
receipt was returned, having been signed on March 11, 2017,
but the signature is illegible. The regular mail was not
March 27, 2017, the DEC sent a second letter to respondent,
also by certified and regular mail, to the same home address,
notifying him that, unless he filed an answer to the
complaint within five days of the date of the letter, the
allegations of the complaint would be deemed admitted; that,
pursuant to R. 1:20-4(f), the record in the matter would be
certified directly to us for imposition of sanction; and that
the complaint would be amended to include a charge of a
violation of RPC 8.1(b).
second certified mailing to respondent was not claimed. The
regular mail was not returned.
time within which respondent may answer the complaint has
expired As of April 27, 2017 date of the certification of the
record, respondent had not filed an answer.
allegations of the complaint are as follows. Respondent
represented Maria Mignone in 2012 for an undisclosed legal
matter. In early 2015, Mignone terminated the representation
and retained subsequent counsel, D.M., the grievant
herein. Thereafter, D.M. made numerous attempts,
by various methods, to obtain Mignone's client file, but
respondent did not comply with those requests.
complaint charged respondent with a violation of RPC
1.15(b) for his failure to turn over the client file to
subsequent counsel upon termination of the representation.
Presumably, the DEC intended to cite RPC 1.16(d),
which addresses an attorney's failure to return property,
such as the client's file, upon termination of the
February 15, 2016 and February 2, 2017, investigators
assigned to the case sent respondent a total of six letters
requesting his written reply to the grievance. Respondent did
not reply to any of those ...