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In re Brady

Supreme Court of New Jersey

September 13, 2019

In the Matter of James D. Brady An Attorney at Law

         District Docket No. XIV-2017-0474E

          Ellen A. Brodsky, Chief Counsel

          DECISION

          BRUCE W. CLARK, CHAIR

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

         This matter was before us on a certification of the record filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), pursuant to R. 1:20-4(f). The formal ethics complaint charged respondent with knowing misappropriation of "funds entrusted to his care," a violation of RPC 1.15(a) (failure to safeguard funds), and the principles set forth in In re Wilson, 81 N.J. 451 (1979); RPC 1.15(b) (failure to promptly deliver funds that the client is entitled to receive); RPC 8.4(b) (criminal act that reflects adversely on a lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice in other respects), and RPC 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation). The complaint also charged respondent with having violated RPC 1.5(c) (upon conclusion of a contingent fee matter, failure to provide the client with a written statement of the outcome of the matter and, if there was a recovery, showing the remittance to the client and the method of its determination) and RPC 8.1(b) (failure to cooperate with disciplinary authorities).

         For the reasons set forth below, we recommend respondent's disbarment for the knowing misappropriation of $8, 999.67 in client funds.

         Respondent was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1980 and to the New Jersey bar in 1982. At the relevant times, he maintained an office for the practice of law in Merchantville.

         In 2003, respondent was admonished for misconduct in two client matters, including lack of diligence, failure to surrender his client's file to subsequent counsel, and recordkeeping violations. In the Matter of James D. Brady, DRB 03-176 (September 26, 2003).

         In 2009, respondent received a censure, in a default matter, for his violation of RPC 1.15(a) (commingling personal and trust funds), RPC 1.15(d) (failure to comply with the recordkeeping requirements set forth in R. 1:21-6), and RPC 8.1(b). In re Brady, 198 N.J. 5 (2009).

         On October 26, 2018, in another default matter, the Court imposed a three-month suspension on respondent for his violation of RPC 1.4(b) (failure to communicate with the client), RPC 1.5(c), RPC 1.15(a) (commingling), RPC 7.3(d) (giving something of value to a person for recommending the lawyer's services), and RPC 8.1(b). In re Brady, 235 N.J. 221 (2018). Respondent has not sought reinstatement.

         Service of process was proper. On October 23, 2018, the OAE sent a copy of the formal ethics complaint to respondent's Merchantville address, by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested. The certified mail was returned to the OAE, marked "unclaimed." The regular mail was not returned.

         On December 11, 2018, the OAE sent a letter to respondent, at the same address, by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested. The letter informed respondent that, if he failed to file an answer within five days, the allegations of the complaint would be deemed admitted, the record would be certified directly to us for the imposition of discipline, and the complaint would be deemed amended to include a charge of a violation of RPC 8.1(b). The certified letter was returned to the OAE, marked "return to sender insufficient address unable to forward." The letter sent by regular mail was not returned.

         As of January 28, 2019, respondent had not filed an answer to the complaint, and the time within which he was required to do so had expired. Accordingly, ...


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