In the Matter of Lawrence W. Lindsay
C. Frost, Esq.,, Chair Edna Y. Baugh, Esq.,, Vice-Chair Peter
J, Boyer, Esq., Bruce W. Clark, Esq., Hon. Maurice J.
Galupoij Thomas J. Hoberman Eileen Rivera Anne C Singer, Esq.
Robert C.Zmi rich
A Brodsky Chief Counsel
T. Granuho deputy Chief Counsel
Melissa Urban First Assistant Counsel
Timothy M. Ellis Lillian Lewin Baery R. Petersen, Jr Colin T.
Tams Kathrtn Anne Winterle assistant counsel
REGULAR MAIL AND E-MAIL Lawrence W. Lindsay c/o Teri S.
LETTER OP ADMONITION
Disciplinary Review Board has reviewed your conduct in the
above matter and has concluded that it was improper.
Following a review of the record, the Board determined to
impose an admonition.
on December 8, 2014, Giovanni Esposito and grievant Alfio
Sorbello retained you to form a limited liability home
improvement company, naming them equal partners. On December
11, 2014, they signed a retainer agreement that outlined the
scope of your services. Thereafter, in November 2015, the
partners had a disagreement over business operations. Mr.
Esposito represented to you that Mr. Sorbello had taken
substantially all of the company's funds for his personal
use; and that, after Mr. Esposito froze the company account,
Mr. Sorbello removed company equipment, books, and records,
prompting Mr. Esposito to lock Mr. Sorbello out of the
office. Thereafter, Mr. Esposito reported that Mr. Sorbello
broke into the office to remove the remaining computers and
on this information, you believed that, unless you acted
immediately, the company would collapse; company contracts
would be lost, making it impossible to service customers; and
customer deposits would be irretrievably lost, exposing the
partners and the company to civil lawsuits and possibly
criminal prosecution. As a result, on November 18, 2015,
without consulting or warning Mr. Sorbello, you filed a
complaint in Superior Court Chancery Division, alleging
theft, conversion, and breach of fiduciary duty, and seeking
Mr. Sorbello's expulsion from the company, and the return
of the property and money he had taken.
November 20, 2015, the court issued an order to show cause
with temporary restraints, enjoining and restraining Mr.
Sorbello from destroying company records or documents, and
requiring him to surrender immediately such documents to the
company's accountant. Thereafter, you failed to return
Mr. Sorbello's calls. As you were leaving the state for
the Thanksgiving holiday, you instructed your staff to direct
Mr. Sorbello to put all communications to you in writing.
December 11, 2015, prior to the return date of the order to
show cause, the parties met in your office to settle the
matter. Mr. Esposito appeared with independent legal counsel;
Mr. Sorbello appeared pro se. You prepared the
settlement agreement, which the parties signed, and,
thereafter, the litigation was dismissed.
Board found that your representation of Mr. Esposito was
directly adverse to Mr. Sorbello's interests, a violation
of RPC 1.7(a); and that your failure to return Mr.
Sorbello's telephone calls, after you filed the
complaint, violated RPC 1.4(b).
imposing only an admonition, the Board considered, in
substantial mitigation that: (1) your legal career of
thirty-seven years previously was unblemished; (2) you fully
cooperated with ethics authorities and readily admitted
wrongdoing; (3) you held a good faith belief that immediate
action was necessary to protect the business and its
customers from imminent and financial harm; (4) you also held
a good faith belief that Mr. Esposito would be unable to
obtain alternate counsel, around the holidays, in sufficient
time to prevent irreparable harm to the company; (5) your
conduct was not motivated by pecuniary benefit; (6) Mr.