IN THE MATTER OF JOHN ANDREW KLAMO AN ATTORNEY AT LAW
Argued: May 17, 2018
Johanna Barba Jones appeared on behalf of the Office of
Respondent appeared pro se.
A. Brodsky Chief Counsel.
C. Frost, Chair.
Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme
Court of New Jersey.
matter was before us on a motion for reciprocal discipline,
filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) pursuant to R.
l:20-14(a). The motion was based on respondent's
six-month suspension in Pennsylvania, retroactive to October
12, 2013, for violations equivalent to RPC 8.1(a)
(knowingly making a false statement of material fact in
connection with a disciplinary matter), RPC 8.1(b)
(failure to cooperate with disciplinary authorities),
RPC 8.4(a) (violating or attempting to violate the
Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assisting
or inducing another to do so, or doing so through the acts of
another), RPC 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty,
fraud, deceit or misrepresentation), and RPC 8.4(d)
(conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice), for
failure to comply with the Pennsylvania equivalent of R.
reasons expressed below, we recommend that respondent be
was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1982 and the
Pennsylvania bar in 1981. At the relevant time, he maintained
a law office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
has an extensive ethics history.
1996, respondent was reprimanded for delegating his
recordkeeping responsibilities to an employee whom he never
supervised or instructed on recordkeeping practices. As a
result, the employee misappropriated client funds. Respondent
was guilty of gross neglect, negligent misappropriation of
client trust funds, commingling fees and trust account funds,
and recordkeeping violations. In re Klamo, 143 N.J.
2013, respondent was suspended for three months for charging
improper expenses in contingent fee matters (photocopying,
postage, and telephone calls); failing to promptly deliver
funds belonging to clients and third parties by amassing
approximately $100, 000 in his trust account and failing to
disburse deductibles and co-pays, in some instances for as
long as thirteen years, until the OAE began
its investigation and instructed him to disburse the funds;
recordkeeping violations; engaging in conduct involving
dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation; making
material misstatements of fact to ethics authorities; and
failing to maintain malpractice insurance. In re
Klamo, 213 N.J. 494 (2013).
was reinstated to practice law, effective September 25, 2013,
and was ordered to practice under the supervision of an
OAE-approved proctor for a two-year period and to submit to
the OAE, for a two-year period, on a quarterly basis, monthly
reconciliations of his attorney accounts, prepared by an
accountant. In re Klamo, 215 N.J. 520 (2013).
2016, respondent was censured, in two consolidated matters,
for failure to abide by the client's decisions concerning
the scope of the representation, lack of diligence, failure
to communicate with the client, failure to expedite
litigation, and misrepresentation by silence. Although we
concluded that respondent had failed to maintain malpractice
insurance, we did not impose discipline for this violation
because he had been found guilty of that infraction for the
same timeframe in a prior disciplinary matter. In re
Klamo. 225 N.J. 331 (2016).
this year, on January 10, 2018, respondent received a
three-month suspension, in a default, for misconduct that
included gross neglect, lack of diligence, and failure to
communicate with clients. Respondent's failure to answer
interrogatories resulted in the dismissal of his clients'
complaint. He also failed to obtain his client's
permission before retaining an entity to prepare an appellate
brief, in violation of RPC 1.2(a); violated RPC 5.5(a) by
failing to submit certificates of insurance to the Clerk of
the Court from 1998 to 2010, as required by R. 1:21-1A(b);
and misrepresented the status of the case to his clients by
telling them that their case was proceeding properly, thereby
violating RPC 8.4(c). In re Klamo, 231 N.J. 395
was disciplined again, on May 30, 2018, when he received a
two-year suspension for failing to safeguard funds, lying to
ethics authorities, and engaging in conduct involving
dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, when
settling a fire insurance claim. Instead of depositing
settlement funds in his trust account and disbursing them to
all interested parties, respondent released the funds to the
contractor he had hired to make the repairs. He then lied to
the OAE about the disposition of the settlement check and his
involvement in retaining the contractors for the property
restoration, and made misrepresentations to his client, by
preparing a settlement statement that did not accurately
reflect the disposition of the settlement funds and a letter
that misrepresented that he had given the check to her.
decision, we considered, as aggravating factors,
respondent's serious ethics history, as well as his
proclivity for dishonesty, both in respect of his
misrepresentations to his clients and to ethics authorities.
In addition, we considered the extreme harm suffered by the
client. Specifically, the individuals to whom respondent
released the funds to make the repairs appeared to have
absconded with them. As of the date of the hearing before us,
virtually none of the repairs had been made to the
client's property, which was vacant and boarded up.
In re Klamo, 233 N.J. 352 (2018); In the Matter
of John Andrew Klamo, DRB 17-127 (October 24, 2017).
on February 20, 2018, we determined to impose an additional
two-year suspension for respondent's misconduct based on
two consolidated complaints comprising two client matters. In
the first matter, respondent was guilty of improperly
requesting a client to withdraw his ethics grievance in
exchange for attempting to reopen the client's