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In re Block

Supreme Court of New Jersey

March 23, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF ADAM KENNETH BLOCK AN ATTORNEY AT LAW

         District Docket No. XIV-2016-0470E

          DECISION

          EDNA Y. BAUGH, VICE-CHAIR

         To the Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

         This matter was before us by way of default filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), pursuant to R. 1:20-4(f). The complaint charged respondent with violations of RPC 5.5(a)(1) (engaging in the unauthorized practice of law), RPC 8.1(b) (failing to cooperate with disciplinary authorities), and RPC 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). For the reasons detailed below, we determine to impose no further discipline.

         Respondent was admitted to the New Jersey and New York bars in 1993.

         From September 26, 2005 to June 12, 2006; September 24, 2007 to December 11, 2012; September 30, 2013 to May 30, 2014; and August 25 to October 9, 2015, respondent was ineligible to practice law for failure to pay the annual attorney assessment to the Mew Jersey Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection (the Fund).

         Respondent has an extensive ethics history. On March 7, 2013, he received a reprimand for practicing while ineligible. In re Block, 213 N.J. 8 (2013). That matter proceeded on a default basis.

         On February 14, 2014, respondent was censured for again practicing while ineligible. In re Block, 217 N.J. 21 (2014). That matter also proceeded by way of default.

         On November 20, 2014, respondent received a second censure. In that case, we determined not to impose additional discipline for his underlying conduct of practicing while ineligible, because that misconduct took place during the same timeframe as the prior matter for which he was censured. However, based on the fact that respondent had defaulted for the third time, he received an additional censure for multiple failures to cooperate with disciplinary authorities. In re Block, 220 N.J. 33 (2014).

         On October 9, 2015, respondent was suspended for six months, also in a default matter, for gross neglect, lack of diligence, and failure to communicate in one client matter. Further, while representing that client, respondent was ineligible to practice law. He also failed to cooperate with disciplinary authorities. In re Block, 222 N.J. 609 (2015).

         Most recently, on February 9, 2018, the Court entered an Order suspending respondent for one year, for practicing while ineligible, practicing while suspended, and failing to cooperate with disciplinary authorities. That matter also proceeded by way of default. In re Block, D-206 September Term 2016. The specifics of respondent's conduct underlying this matter are discussed in more detail below.

         Service of process in this matter was proper. On June 29, 2017, the OAE sent a copy of the complaint to respondent at the last known home address listed in the records of the Fund, by both regular and certified mail, return receipt requested. On August 4, 2017, the certified mail was returned unclaimed; the regular mail was not returned.

         On August 23, 2017, the OAE sent respondent another letter, to the same address listed with the Fund, by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, informing him that, if he failed to file a verified answer to the complaint within five days of the date of the letter, the allegations of the complaint would be deemed admitted, the entire record would be certified directly to us for the imposition of discipline, and the complaint would be deemed amended to include a violation of RPC 8.1(b). Neither the regular mail nor the certified mail was returned. Rather, the United States Postal Service tracking indicates "Notice Left (No Authorized Recipient Available) on August 26, 2017."

         The time within which respondent may have answered has expired. As of the date of the certification of the record, no answer ...


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