A. Brodsky, Chief Counsel
C FROST, CHAIR
Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme
Court of New Jersey.
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.
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).
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
recommend respondent's disbarment.
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).
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).
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.
DRB 18-095 - District Docket No XIII-2017-0012E
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).
certified mail receipt was returned, indicating delivery,
having been signed on September 9, 2017. The signature is
illegible. The regular mail was not returned.
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.
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
to the facts alleged in the complaint. In April 2013, Jessica
Marinaccio retained respondent in connection with a contract
dispute with her former roommate.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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."
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).
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 ...