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In re Valvano

Supreme Court of New Jersey

October 22, 2019

In the Matter of James Valvano, II

          District Docket No. VC-2017-0009E

          Bruce W. Clark, Esq., Chair Hon. Maurice J. Gallipoli, Vice-Chair Peter J. Boyer, Esq. Thomas J. Hoberman Regina Waynes Joseph, Esq. Peter Petrou, Esq. Eileen Rivera Anne C. Singer, Esq. Robert C. Zmirich

          Ellen A. Brodsky CHIEF COUNSEL

          Barry R. Petersen, Jr. DEPUTY COUNSEL

          Rocco J. Carbone, III Timothy M. Ellis

          Elizabeth L. Laurenzano Colin T. Tams Kathryn Anne Winterle assistant counsel

          Ellen A. Brodsky Chief Counsel

         Dear Ms. Baker:

         The Disciplinary Review Board has reviewed the motion for discipline by consent (censure or such lesser discipline as the Board deems appropriate) filed by the District VC Ethics Committee (DEC) in the above matter, pursuant to R. l:20-10(b). Following a review of the record, the Board granted the motion and determined to impose a censure for respondent's violation of RPC 5.5(a)(1) (unauthorized practice of law; practicing while ineligible), RPC 8.4(b) (criminal conduct), and RPC 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation).

         Specifically, Magdy Mahmoud, the chief executive officer of Everest UCC Wayne, LLC, and Garfield Urgent Care Center (GUCC), filed two ethics grievances against respondent for his conduct during his representation of Daniel J. Edwards, DO, in contentious civil and criminal litigation between Mahmoud and Edwards, which have since concluded.

         Between November 22, 2016 and April 4, 2017, respondent was ineligible to practice law for failure to comply with Continuing Legal Education requirements. During the ineligibility period, respondent continued to practice law, including in litigation between Mahmoud and Edwards, an admitted violation of RPC 5.5(a). The record contains no evidence that respondent was aware of his ineligibility at the time.

         The remaining charges involve respondent's role in an apparent dispute between Mahmoud and Edwards. Mahmoud maintained a locked, private office within the GUCC facility for which he held the only key. On October 17, 2016, on advice from respondent, Edwards hired a locksmith to change the locks at GUCC's main entrance and Mahmoud's private office. According to the stipulation, respondent knew "or should have known" that his client was not authorized to change the locks.

         The following day, respondent retained an individual identified as John Doe to block Mahmoud's entry to GUCC, and to intimidate him or threaten him with harm, while respondent and Edwards entered and exited Mahmoud's private office space, several times, without Mahmoud's permission to do so. The stipulation characterized respondent's actions as trespassing.

         Although the stipulation alleged violations of RPC 8.4(b), (c), and (d), based on the above conduct, the stipulation refers only to trespass as the specific criminal conduct applicable. However, respondent's conduct, in addition to trespass, implicates potential charges of assault[1] and harassment. Thus, respondent clearly violated RPC 8.4(b). In addition, respondent's involvement in the changing of the locks at GUCC, knowing that Mahmoud ...


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