STATEWIDE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE

Daniel B. Horwitch, Statewide Bar Counsel, Complainant vs. Stephen J. Duffy, Respondent :

Grievance Complaint #00-0375

DECISION

Pursuant to Practice Book §2-35, the undersigned, duly-appointed reviewing committee of the Statewide Grievance Committee, conducted hearings at the Superior Court, 300 Grand Street, Waterbury, Connecticut on May 1, 2001 and July 3, 2001. The hearings addressed the record of the complaint filed on November 2, 2000, and the probable cause determination filed by the New Britain/Hartford Judicial District, Geographical Areas 12 and 16 Grievance Panel on January 17, 2001, finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent violated Rules 1.15 and 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and Practice Book §2-32(a)(1).

Notice of the hearing on May 1, 2001 was mailed to the Complainant and to the Respondent on March 28, 2001. The Respondent appeared at the hearing and requested a continuance due to the unavailability of his counsel, Attorney John R. Donovan. This reviewing committee granted the Respondent’s continuance request. Notice of the continued hearing date on July 3, 2001 was mailed to the Complainant and to the Respondent on May 22, 2001. Neither the Respondent nor his counsel appeared at the July 3, 2001 hearing. An exhibit was received into evidence.

This reviewing committee makes the following findings of fact by clear and convincing evidence:

Check number 3830 in the amount of Eight-hundred fifty-five dollars ($855.00) from the Respondent’s clients’ funds account, number 10-4061032587 at Webster Bank, was presented on September 25, 2000 against insufficient funds. Check number 3831 in the amount of five-hundred and five dollars and sixteen cents ($505.16) was presented on September 28, 2000 against insufficient funds in the Respondent’s clients’ fund account. By letters dated October 3, 2000 and October 7, 2000, the Complainant requested the Respondent’s written explanation of the overdrafts. The Respondent did not provide a written explanation.

This reviewing committee finds the following violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Practice Book by clear and convincing evidence:

By issuing checks from his clients’ funds account without sufficient funds to cover those checks, the Respondent engaged in conduct in violation of Rules 1.15 and 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent’s failure to file a response to this grievance complaint, without good cause shown, constitutes a violation of Practice Book §2-32(a)(1). Accordingly, this reviewing committee orders that the Respondent by presented to the Superior Court for the imposition of whatever discipline the court deems appropriate.

 

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Attorney M. Katherine Webster-O’Keefe

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Attorney Fredrick W. Krug

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Ms. Johanna Kimball