In the Matter of Ronald W. Spevack
J. BOYER, ESQ. HON. MAURICE J. GALLIPOLI THOMAS J. HOBERMAN
REGINA WAYNES JOSEPH, ESQ. EILEEN RIVERA ANNE C. SINGER, ESQ.
ROBERT C. ZMIRICH
A, BRODSKY CHIEFCOUNSEL PAULA T. GRANUZZO DEPUTY CHIEF
COUNSEL MELISSA URBAN FIRST ASSISTANT COUNSEL TIMOTHY M.
ELLIS LILLIAN LEWIN BARRY R. PETERSEN, JR. COLIN T. TAMS
KATHRYN ANNE WINTERLE ASSISTANT COUNSEL
REGULAR MAIL AND E-MAIL RONALD W. SPEVACK, ESQ. C/O PAMELA
LYNN BRAUSE, ESQ. BRAUSE, BRAUSE & VENTRICE, LLC
C. FROST, ESQ., CHAIR, BRUCE W. CLARK, ESQ., VICE-CHAIR
Disciplinary Review Board has reviewed the motion for
discipline by consent (reprimand or such lesser discipline as
the Board may deem warranted), filed by the District VIII
Ethics Committee in the above matter, pursuant to R. 1:20-10.
Following a review of the record, the Board determined to
grant the motion and to impose an admonition for your
violation of RPC 1.1(a) (gross neglect),
RPC 1.3 (lack of diligence), RPC 1.4(b)
(failure to communicate with the client), and RPC
l.5(b) (failure to communicate in writing the basis or rate
of the fee).
on September 9, 2013, Charles Logan, your client and the
grievant in this matter, underwent heart surgery. In June
2014, you agreed to represent Mr. Logan in a medical
malpractice action arising from the procedure. Although this
was your first representation of Mr. Logan, you did not
communicate to him, in writing, the basis or rate of your
fee, a violation of RPC 1.5(b).
24, 2014, you informed Mr. Logan that an expert physician
should review the matter and collected $1, 350 from him to
cover the cost of an evaluation by Second Opinion, Inc.
(Second Opinion). For more than a year thereafter, you did
not communicate with your client, a violation of RPC
1.4(b). Mr. Logan learned of the status of his case in July
2015, when he went to your office. At that time, the statute
of limitations was due to expire in two months.
15, 2015, you wrote a letter to Mr. Logan, declining to
pursue his case because the issues of deviation and
negligence were "not clear." In the letter, you
recommended that Mr. Logan seek a second opinion from another
attorney, informed him of the two-year statute of limitations
period for a medical malpractice action, and explained that,
if a complaint were not filed within that period, his claim
would be "forever barred."
point, however, you had not received a conclusion from Second
Opinion in respect of liability. Indeed, the record in this
matter demonstrates that, between June 30, 2014 and July 15,
2015, you did very little to obtain an affidavit of merit,
which is required in a medical malpractice lawsuit, thus
violating RPC 1.1(a) and RPC 1.3. Second
Opinion's time summary of its work on the file, between
June 2014 and August 12, 2015, totaled sixty-five minutes,
forty-five of which comprised its initial review of limited
records and correspondence.
30, 2014, you sent a "portion" of Mr. Logan's
medical records to Second Opinion, so that one of its doctors
could evaluate the case. On July 8, 2014, a Second Opinion
representative informed you that the records were
"insufficient" and identified the additional
records required by the company. Although you issued a
subpoena to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital (RWJ) on July 21,
2014, RWJ did not comply with the demand, and you did not
take any further action. On February 25, 2015, a Second
Opinion representative talked to you about the incomplete
records. On March 20, 2015, you issued another subpoena to
RWJ. Once again, RWJ did not comply with the subpoena, but
you took no further action.
then terminated the representation, on July 15, 2015.
Thereafter, Mr. Logan was unable to retain new counsel, and
threatened to file a grievance against you if a complaint
were not filed on his behalf. On August 14, 2015, despite
your opinion that his claim lacked merit, you agreed to file
a complaint in order to provide Mr. Logan with more time to
find another lawyer. You also informed Mr. Logan that, after
the defendant filed an answer to the complaint, he would have
ninety days within which to file an affidavit of merit or
risk dismissal of the case.
refunded Mr. Logan the unearned portion of Second
Opinion's fee, and, on September 1, 2015, filed in the
Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County
a complaint identifying Mr. Logan as a pro se
litigant. Ultimately, by letter dated October 19, 2015,
Second Opinion informed you that both a cardiologist and a
cardiothoracic surgeon had reviewed Mr. Logan's medical
records and concluded that his case was meritless.
Consequently, you advised Mr. Logan to "simply not
appear, and the matter would be dismissed." On an
unidentified date, Mr. Logan's lawsuit was dismissed.
Thus, because Mr. Logan's suit was not sustainable on
liability, the Board determined to dismiss the admitted
violations of RPC 1.1(a) and 1.3, which were based
on your delay in providing an expert report to your client,
and on your advice to him that he allow his complaint to be
Board also dismissed the admitted violation of RPC
8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice)
because you neither violated a ...