IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT J. BEENOT AN ATTORNEY AT LAW
Docket No. XIV-2016-0091E
A. Brofisky Chief Counsel
C. FROST, CHAIRMAN
Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme
Court of New Jersey.
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)
and R. 1:20-20(b)(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 set forth
below, we determined to impose a two-year suspension.
was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1982.
2, 2012, respondent received a reprimand for violating RFC
1.4(c) (failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably
necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions
regarding the representation) and RPC 1.5(b) (failure to
communicate in writing the basis or rate of the fee). In re
Bernot, 210 N.J. 117 (2012).
April 3, 2013, respondent was temporarily suspended by the
Court, effective May 3, 2013, for failing to pay disciplinary
costs assessed in his May 2, 2012, disciplinary matter.
In re Bernot, 213 N.J. 541 (2013). On October 4,
2013, respondent was reinstated, having paid in full the
monies owed. In re Bernot, 215 N.J. 634 (2013).
October 22, 2012, the Court declared respondent
administratively ineligible to practice law, pursuant to R.
1:28A-2(d), based on his failure to comply with the
Court's Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts requirements.
On November 17, 2014, the Court declared him ineligible to
practice law, for failure to satisfy his continuing legal
education requirements. He remains ineligible pursuant to
the Court entered an Order, effective September 12, 2016,
declaring respondent ineligible to practice law for failure
to pay the annual attorney assessment to the New Jersey
Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection. He remains
ineligible to date.
of process in this matter was proper. On May 25, 2017, the
OAE sent a copy of the complaint to respondent at his last
known office address by regular and certified mail, return
receipt requested. The regular mail was not returned. On May
30, 2017, respondent signed the certified mail receipt.
August 23, 2017, the OAE sent respondent a letter, to the
same address, 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 five-day 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). On
August 29, 2017, respondent signed the certified mail receipt
for that letter.
time within which respondent may have answered has expired.
As of the date of the certification of the record, no answer
had been filed by or on behalf of respondent.
turn to the allegations of the complaint. In 2011, respondent
represented grievant, Penelope Barsky (Penelope), in a
post-judgment matrimonial matter. In August 2011, Penelope
entered into a property ...