STATEWIDE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE

 

Linda OíNeill, Complainant vs. Ridgley W. Brown, Respondent

 

Grievance Complaint #02-0128

 

DECISION

 

Pursuant to Practice Book ß2-35, the undersigned, duly-appointed reviewing committee of the Statewide Grievance Committee, conducted a hearing at the Superior Court, 235 Church Street, New Haven, Connecticut on February 5, 2003.The hearing addressed the record of the complaint filed on August 6, 2002, and the probable cause determination filed by the Fairfield Judicial District Grievance Panel on November 18, 2002, finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent violated Rule 8.4(3) and (4) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

Notice of the hearing was mailed to the Complainant and to the Respondent on December 30, 2002. The Respondent did not appear at the hearing.The Complainant appeared and testified before this reviewing committee.Reviewing committee member Attorney Raymond B. Rubens recused himself from this matter.The Complainant waived the participation of the second attorney in this matter. Accordingly, this matter was heard and decided by the undersigned.

 

This reviewing committee finds the following facts by clear and convincing evidence:

 

In November of 2001, the Respondent ordered a transcript from the Complainant, a court monitor, in connection with a housing court proceeding in New Haven Superior Court.On or about November 18, 2001, the Respondent received the transcript from the Complainant along with the Complainantís billin the amount of $136.35 for services rendered in preparation of the transcript.On December 18, 2001, the Respondent assured the Complainant that a check was in the mail for payment of the Complainantís bill.When the Complainant did not receive the check, she telephoned the Respondent again on December 30, 2001.The Respondent informed the Complainant that he would mail the check on December 30, 2001.The Complainant made numerous subsequent requests for payment, but the Respondent failed to pay the Complainantís bill for the transcript.

 

On or about May 22, 2002, the Complainant filed a small claims action against the Respondent. On June 21, 2002, a default judgment entered against the Respondent in the amount $136.35.The Respondent was ordered to the pay Complainant $35.00 in weekly payments beginning on July 20, 2002.

 

As of the date of this reviewing committee hearing, the Respondent had failed to make any payments pursuant to the small claims judgment that had entered against him.

 

This reviewing committee also considered the following:

 

In his answer to the complaint, the Respondent claimed that the Complainantís bill was forwarded to the client for payment, but the client did not pay the bill.

 

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

 

The Respondent engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(4) of the Rules of Professional Conduct by failing to honor the small claims judgment. The Respondent engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, deceit and misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct by ordering a transcript from the Complainant, indicating on several occasions that payment was being forwarded to the Complainant, and then ultimately failing to do so.Accordingly, this reviewing committee reprimands the Respondent for his violation of Rule 8.4(3) and (4) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

 

 

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Attorney Tracie Molinaro

 

 

 

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Professor Paul Hawkshaw