In The Matter Of John Joseph Garagozzo An Attorney At Law
Argued: November 15, 2018
District Docket No. XIV-2017-0643E
A. Racz appeared on behalf of the Office of Attorney Ethics.
Respondent failed to appear, despite proper notice.
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 IL
1:20-14(a), following an order from the Supreme Court of
Pennsylvania suspending respondent for two years, effective
October 6, 2017. Respondent was found guilty of violating the
equivalents of New Jersey RPC 5.5(a)(1)
(unauthorized practice of law); RPC 7.1(a) (false or
misleading communication about the lawyer, the lawyer's
services, or any matter in which the lawyer has or seeks a
professional involvement); RPC 8.1(a) (knowingly
making a false statement of material fact in connection with
a disciplinary matter); RPC 8.4(c) (conduct
involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation);
and RPC 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the
administration of justice).
alleges that respondent is further guilty of violating the
equivalents of New Jersey RPC 1.4(d) (failure to
advise a client of the limitations of the lawyer's
conduct, when a client expects assistance not permitted by
the Rules); RPC 1.16(a)(1) (failure to
withdraw when the representation will result in a violation
of the RPCs); and RPC 7.5(a) (improper use of a
professional designation that violates RPC 7.1).
recommends the imposition of a censure. Respondent made no
submission for our consideration. For the reasons set forth
below, we determine to impose a censure.
earned admission to the New Jersey bar in 1983, the
Pennsylvania bar in 1982, and the Arizona bar in 1994. He has
no prior discipline in New Jersey. On September 12, 2016,
however, the Court entered an Order declaring respondent
ineligible to practice, based on his failure to pay his
annual registration fee to the New Jersey Lawyers' Fund
for Client Protection (CPF). On November 21, 2016, he also
became ineligible to practice for failure to comply with New
Jersey continuing legal education (CLE) requirements. He
remains ineligible, on both counts, to date.
Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
issued a report (DBR), dated August 8, 2017, on which the
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania relied in determining to
suspend respondent. The facts of the case are as follows.
January 8, 2014, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued an
order suspending respondent from the practice of law for
noncompliance with Pennsylvania CLE
requirements. During the six months prior to the
effective date, the Pennsylvania CLE Board had twice warned
respondent, in writing, of his impending suspension. Despite
receiving the warning letters, respondent failed to correct
his CLE deficiency. Subsequently, the Pennsylvania Attorney
Registrar served respondent with a copy of his suspension
order, along with copies of the applicable Pennsylvania
rules, guidance on complying with his administrative
suspension, and instructions on rectifying his CLE status.
Respondent received the Attorney Registrar's letter, and,
thus, knew of his suspended status.
that knowledge, respondent (i) failed to comply with
Pennsylvania's rules governing suspended attorneys; (ii)
continued to maintain an office for the practice of law;
(iii) continued to hold himself out as eligible to practice
law, through the use of attorney letterhead; and (iv)
practiced law, while ineligible to do so, in at least four
matters, on behalf of three clients.
in October 2014, Reynaldo Cruz retained respondent in
connection with a Philadelphia Municipal Court matter.
Respondent appeared in that court on behalf of Cruz on
December 4, 2014, and March 4, April 15, and May 21, 2015,
resulting in a guilty plea by Cruz and admission into a
April 2015, James Jones retained respondent in connection
with a Philadelphia Municipal Court matter. Respondent
appeared in that court on behalf of Jones on April 16, May 1,
and June 3, 2015, resulting in a ...