Thursday, October 2, 2008

No-Fault Attorneys Suspended for Six Months

NO-FAULT – ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT – DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS
Matter of Edward Shapiro
Matter of Jason Adam Moroff

(2nd Dept., decided 9/16/2008)


In per curiam opinions dated September 16, 2008, the Second Department suspended Nassau County no-fault attorneys Edward Shapiro and Jason Moroff from the practice of law for a period of six months effective October 16, 2008, with leave to apply for reinstatement at the end of their suspensions.

Edward Shapiro, PC , attorneys Shapiro and Moroff were found to have filed affirmations, verifications and attestations bearing their signatures that they had not actually signed in approximately 4,600 Suffolk County District Court no-fault medical provider recovery actions and 27,729 New York City Civil Court matters. For the false and fraudulent signatures, the firm was sanctioned $35,000 and $40,000 by those courts, respectively, which the Second Department's opinions indicate the firm promptly paid.

In confirming the eight charges of misconduct against Shapiro, the Second Department ruled:

Inasmuch as the respondent has accepted full responsibility for this matter, the Special Referee properly sustained the charges and the Grievance Committee's motion to confirm the report of the Special Referee is granted. The respondent's cross motion to confirm in part and disaffirm in part the report of the Special Referee, and to impose a sanction no greater than a public censure, is denied.

In determining an appropriate measure of discipline to impose, the respondent asks the Court to consider his unblemished history, the absence of venal intent, his expressed remorse, the absence of actual harm to clients, and the remedial measures undertaken.

Under the totality of circumstances, we find that the respondent's misconduct warrants his suspension from the practice of law for a period of six months.
In confirming the six charges of misconduct against Moroff, the Second Department ruled:

Based on the evidence adduced, the Grievance Committee's motion to confirm the report of the Special Referee is granted, the respondent's cross motion is granted to the extent that so much of the report of the Special Referee as indicates that additional character affirmations were not provided on the respondent's behalf is disaffirmed, and the cross motion is otherwise denied.

In view of the self-reporting of the defects, the respondent's lack of venality, the prompt remedial actions undertaken, his expressed remorse, the full cooperation with both the Grievance Committee and the courts, the respondent's relative youth and inexperience, and the absence of any disciplinary history, the respondent is suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months.
The New York Law Journal reports that the name of Shapiro's law firm has been changed to Rapuzzi, Palumbo & Rosenberger.

1 comment:

Hugh Fustercluck said...

300 to 500 lawsuits a week is a lot of signing. One could get writer's cramp. Why not have a staff of trained monkeys signing your name with your approval?

Besides, sanctioning a plaintiff's no-fault attorney for having employees sign his name is like sanctioning Osama bin Laden for engaging in the demolition business without a license.