STATEWIDE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE

Mia Griffin, Complainant vs. Irving J. Pinsky, Respondent

Grievance Complaint #95-0215

PROPOSED DECISION

Pursuant to Practice Book 2-35, the undersigned, duly-appointed reviewing committee of the Statewide Grievance Committee, conducted a hearing at the Superior Court, 1061 Main Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 11, 2000. The hearing addressed the record of the complaint filed on September 12, 1995, and the probable cause determination filed by the New Haven Judicial District, Geographical Area 6 Grievance Panel on February 9, 1996, finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent violated Rule 1.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The hearing also addressed the probable cause determination rendered by a reviewing committee of the Statewide Grievance Committee on June 24, 1996 finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent Rules 1.8(e), (j) and (h) and 8.4(d) (now 8.4(4)) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Notice of the hearing was mailed to the Complainant and to the Respondent on June 5, 2000. The Complainant and the Respondent appeared and testified before this reviewing committee.

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

In or around 1989 the Complainant's father engaged the Respondent to represent the Complainant in connection with injuries sustained in a 1989 bus accident. At the time the Respondent was engaged, the Complainant was a minor. During the course of the representation, the Complainant approached the Respondent for financial assistance. The Respondent provided the Complainant with funds totaling approximately $6,000.00. The Complainant requested information from the Respondent regarding the status of the case. The Respondent did not comply with the Complainant's request for information. The Respondent did not keep the Complainant reasonably informed regarding the status of the case. The Respondent attempted to limit his liability to the Complainant by having the Complainant sign a general release dated September 16, 1994. The Respondent did not advise the Complainant to consult with independent counsel before signing the general release. After the filing of the grievance complaint, the Respondent contacted the Complainant and requested that the Complainant write a letter dated December 22, 1995 indicating that she had no complaint with the Respondent.

This reviewing committee also considered the following:

At the hearing before this reviewing committee, the Respondent claimed that he gave money to the Complainant after the expiration of the statue of limitations because he felt sorry for the Complainant. The Respondent denied having contact with the Complainant after the grievance complaint was filed.

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

This reviewing committee concludes that the Respondent engaged in misconduct in connection with his representation of the Complainant in a personal injury matter. The Respondent failed to comply with the Complainant's reasonable requests for information and failed to keep the Complainant reasonably informed regarding the status of the case in violation of Rule 1.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent provided financial assistance to the Complainant in connection with contemplated or pending litigation in violation of Rule 1.8(e) and (j) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent attempted to limit his liability to the Complainant by having the Complainant signed a general release dated September 16, 1994 in violation of Rule 1.8(h) and 8.4(4) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(4) by contacting the Complainant after the grievance complaint was filed and requesting the Complainant to write a letter dated December 22, 1995 indicating that she had no complaint with the Respondent. Since we conclude that the Respondent violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and in consideration of the seriousness of the misconduct, we order that a presentment against the Respondent be filed in the Superior Court for the imposition of whatever discipline the court deems appropriate.

Attorney Salvatore DePiano

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Attorney Lewis Hurwitz

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Mr. Thomas McKiernan