In The Matter Of Christopher Corsi An Attorney At Law
Docket No. IIIB-2017-0035E
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 certification of the record filed
by the District IIIB Ethics Committee (DEC), pursuant to R,
1:20-4(f). The formal ethics complaint charged respondent
with violating RPC 1.2(a) (failure to abide by the
client's decisions concerning the scope and objectives of
the representation); RPC 1.3 (lack of diligence);
RPC 1.4 (presumably (b)) (failure to communicate
with the client); RPC 3.3 (presumably (a)(1)) (false
statement of material fact or law to a tribunal);
RPC 8.1(b) (failure to cooperate with disciplinary
authorities); and RFC 8.4(c) (conduct involving
dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation).
reasons set forth below, we determine to impose a three-month
was admitted to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bars in 2009,
He was ineligible to practice law from August 25, 2014
through May 25, 2016 for his failure to pay the annual
assessment to the New Jersey Lawyers' Fund for Client
Protection (the Fund). On August 28, 2017, respondent again
became ineligible to practice law for his failure to pay the
Fund and remains ineligible to date.
of process was proper in this matter. On May 14, 2018, the
DEC sent a copy of the complaint to respondent at his address
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by regular and certified mail.
According to the DEC investigator's certification,
respondent's former employer provided the Philadelphia
address, and the presenter successfully had served respondent
at that address during the investigation. Neither the regular
mail nor the certified mail was returned. The DEC did not
receive a "green card" for the certified mail.
15, 2018, the DEC sent a letter to respondent, to the same
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania address, by certified mail, return
receipt requested, and by regular mail stating that, if he
failed to file a verified answer to the complaint within five
days of the date of the letter, the allegations of the
complaint would be deemed admitted, the entire record would
be certified directly to us for the imposition of discipline,
and the complaint would be deemed amended to include a
violation of RPC 8.1(b). The regular mail was not
returned, and the certified mail was returned unclaimed.
time within which respondent may answer has expired. As of
the date of the certification of the record, no answer had
been filed by or on behalf of respondent.
turn to the allegations of the complaint.
respondent was an associate with Berkowitz & Associates,
P.C. (Berkowitz), he was assigned to represent the plaintiff
in the matter of Ivory Beach Condominium Association v.
Windowrama, et al. (the Ivory Beach matter). Steven
Berkowitz was the attorney of record, however. The Honorable
Joseph Marczyk, P.J. Cv., set February 21, 2017 as a firm
trial date for the Ivory Beach matter. Although that date was
communicated clearly to respondent, neither he nor his client
appeared for trial. Instead, on February 21, 2017, respondent
contacted the court, claiming that he was sick. The court
directed him to provide a physician's note, which he
failed to do. Respondent had previously failed to appear for
a telephonic pretrial conference on February 16, 2017, due to
a claimed illness, and also had canceled, at the last minute,
a mediation scheduled before a retired judge because of an
alleged illness. The trial was rescheduled for April 24,
April 23, 2017, respondent informed counsel for Windowrama
that Ivory Beach had accepted its last settlement offer. The
parties reported the settlement agreement to Judge Marczyk in
a series of text messages in which respondent participated.
On April 24, 2017, the court entered an order of settlement.
respondent's supervising attorney, Berkowitz, filed a
motion to vacate the settlement on behalf of Ivory Beach. An
investigation in support of that motion revealed that
respondent had not discussed the alleged settlement with his
client, had no authority from his client to settle the case
under the reported terms, and continued to ...