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In re Gorman

Supreme Court of New Jersey

April 5, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF MATTHEW M. GORMAN AN ATTORNEY AT LAW

         District Docket No. XIV-2016-0433E

          DECISION

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

         This matter was before us on a certification of default, filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) pursuant to R. l:20-4(f). The complaint charged respondent with violations of RFC 8.1(b) (failure to reply to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority) and RPC 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). The OAE filed a memorandum recommending the imposition of a censure. For the reasons expressed below, we agree with the recommendation and determine to impose a censure.

         Respondent was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 2012. He was temporarily suspended for failure to comply with fee arbitration determinations in three matters. In the Matter of Matthew M. Gorman, 224 N.J. 449 (2016) (suspension effective May 11, 2016); In the Matter of Matthew M. Gorman, 224 N.J. 450 (2016) (suspension also effective May 11, 2016); and in the Matter of Matthew M. Gorman, 227 N.J. 3 (2016) (suspension effective October 28, 2016). He remains suspended to date.

         Service of process was proper in this matter. On May 23, 2017, the OAE sent a copy of the complaint by regular and certified mail to respondent's last known post office box address listed in the attorney registration records. On June 26, 2017, the Valley Cottage, New York, United States Postal Service branch informed the OAE that respondent had not picked up his mail in some time and that both the regular and certified mail remained in respondent's post office box.

         Thereafter, the certified mail was returned marked "Unclaimed," and, as of the date of the certification of the record, September 28, 2017, the regular mail had not been returned.

         On June 29, 2017, the OAE effected notice of the complaint by publication in Bergen County, in The Record and, on July 3, 2017, in the New Jersey Law Journal.

         As of the date of the certification of the record, September 28, 2017, respondent had not filed an answer to the ethics complaint.

         We now turn to the allegations of the complaint. Following respondent's temporary suspensions, the OAE's investigation revealed that he was no longer at his last known office address in Hackensack, New Jersey.

         Pursuant to the Court's Orders of temporary suspension, filed on April 1, 2016 and September 28, 2016, respondent was ordered to comply with R. 1:20-20. The Rule requires, among other things, that, within thirty days of an Order of suspension, an attorney file with the Director of the OAE, a detailed affidavit, specifying how the attorney complied with each of the provisions of R. 1:20-20 and the Court's Orders.

         Respondent failed to file the affidavit. Therefore, by letter dated August 5, 2016, sent by certified and regular mail to respondent's last known office address, his New Jersey home address, and an out-of-state address, the OAE informed respondent that he was required to file the affidavit, and instructed him to reply by August 19, 2016.

         The regular and certified mail sent to respondent's office address was returned marked "Not Deliverable as Addressed." The regular and certified mail sent to respondent's New Jersey home address was returned marked "Moved Left No Address." The certified mail sent to the out-of-state address was returned marked "Attempted Not Known"; the regular mail was not returned.

         A national records search of the CLEAR database, [1] through Thomson Reuters, did not uncover any other addresses for respondent.

         As of the date of the complaint, May 10, 2017, respondent had not filed the required affidavit. The complaint thus charged respondent with willfully violating the Court's Orders and failing to take the steps required of all suspended or disbarred attorneys, including notifying clients ...


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