Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Gleason

Supreme Court of New Jersey

August 7, 2018

In the Matter of Martin Albert Gleason

          Ellen A. Brodsky, Chief Counsel

          DECISION

          BONNIE C FROST, CHAIR

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

         These matters were before us on separate certifications of the record filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) (DRB 18-049), and the District XIII Ethics Committee (DEC) (DRB 18-095), pursuant to R. 1:20-4(f), which we determined to consolidate for disposition.

         In DRB 18-049, a one-count complaint charged respondent with violations of RPC 1.4(b) (failure to communicate with the client), RPC 1.15(a) (knowing misappropriation/failure to safeguard funds), and the principles of In re Wilson, 81 N.J. 451');">81 N.J. 451 (1979) and In re Hollendonner, 102 N.J. 21 (1985), RPC 1.15(b) (failure to promptly deliver funds), RPC 1.15(d) and R. 1:21-6 (recordkeeping), RFC 8.1(a) (lying to ethics authorities), and RPC 8.1(b) (failure to cooperate with an ethics investigation).

         In DRB 18-095, a one-count complaint charged respondent with violations of RPC 1.1(a) (gross neglect), RPC 1.3 (lack of diligence), RFC 1.4(b) (failure to communicate with the client), RPC 1.5(b) (failure to set forth in writing the rate or basis of the fee), and RPC 8.1(b) (failure to cooperate with an ethics investigation)

         We recommend respondent's disbarment.

         Respondent was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1992. He received a reprimand in 2011 for negligent misappropriation of client funds, failure to communicate in writing the basis or rate of his fee, and failure to comply with recordkeeping requirements. In re Gleason, 206 N.J. 139 (2011).

         On February 3, 2015, respondent received an admonition for failure to communicate with the client and to cooperate with the ethics investigation. In the Matter of Martin Albert Gleason, DRB 14-139 (February 3, 2015), In re Gleason, 220 N.J. 350 (2015).

         By Court Order dated June 9, 2017, respondent was temporarily suspended for his failure to cooperate with the OAE's investigation in DRB 18-049. In re Gleason, 229 N.J. 327 (2017).

         I. DRB 18-095 - District Docket No XIII-2017-0012E

         Service of process was proper in this matter. On September 5, 2017, the DEC sent a copy of the complaint by certified and regular mail to respondent's office address, which was also his home address, in Bound Brook, New Jersey, 08805, in accordance with R. 1:20-7(h).

         The certified mail receipt was returned, indicating delivery, having been signed on September 9, 2017. The signature is illegible. The regular mail was not returned.

         On November 25, 2017, the DEC sent a second letter to respondent, to the same office address, also by regular and certified mail, informing him that if he did not answer the complaint within five days of the date of the letter, the allegations of the complaint would be deemed admitted; that, pursuant to R. 1:20-4(f) and R. 1:20-6 (c) (1), the record in the matter would be certified directly to us for imposition of sanction; and that the complaint would be amended to include a charge of a violation of RPC 8.1(b). The certified mail receipt was returned indicating delivery on November 30, 2017, but the signature is illegible. The regular mail was not returned.

         The time within which respondent may answer has expired. As of January 16, 2018, respondent had not filed an answer. Thus, the matter was certified directly to us for the imposition of discipline.

         We turn to the facts alleged in the complaint. In April 2013, Jessica Marinaccio retained respondent in connection with a contract dispute with her former roommate.

         According to the complaint, no progress was made in the matter, until it was scheduled for mediation in March 2014. Inclement weather, however, forced a postponement. Respondent thereafter failed to reschedule the mediation.

         Although respondent told Marinaccio that a complaint had been filed, he failed to provide her with a copy of it. Marinaccio later learned that there was no record that a complaint had been filed. Moreover, despite Marinaccio's requests for a copy of her file, respondent never provided her with any documentation about the matter, alleged violations of RPC 1.1(a) and RPC 1.3.

         On several occasions between November 22, 2015 and June 2, 2016, Marinaccio called respondent and e-mailed him with requests for: (1) information and guidance; (2) status updates; (3) replies to questions; and (4) a meeting. Respondent failed to reply to all of her requests.

         Respondent also took no affirmative steps to keep Marinaccio informed about her matter. Rather, she had to initiate communications with respondent to obtain information about her case. For example, on December 2, 2014, she sent respondent an e-mail inquiring about- trial costs. Respondent did not reply. Similarly, on September 14, 2015, she e-mailed respondent with concerns about the "lack of direction" that he had given her, and "the legitimacy" of information about negotiations, settlement offers, and mediation. Once again, respondent failed to reply. The complaint alleged that respondent's actions violated RPC 1.4(b).

         Respondent and Marinaccio's first meeting took place in April 2013. At that time, she told respondent that, because she had limited financial resources, she needed to know about his legal fees and the costs associated with the representation. Respondent gave her no specifics, only that "they would square up once the matter was resolved."

         On December 2, 2014, and almost a year later, on November 2, 2015, Marinaccio e-mailed respondent to inquire about his fees and any outstanding balance due, but he never replied. Ultimately, respondent never provided her with a retainer agreement or any writing that addressed his fees and costs, an alleged violation of RPC. 1.5(b).

         By letters dated May 25 and June 13, 2016, the DEC notified respondent of the grievance, and requested his written reply. Respondent received both letters, but never replied. On June 29, 2016, the DEC investigator placed a call to respondent's office. Another attorney answered, telling the investigator that respondent was retiring from the practice of law, and stating that he was taking over respondent's law practice. The ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.