STATEWIDE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE
Amy L. Barrett, Complainant vs. Jeffrey A. Rozen, Respondent
Grievance Complaint #05-0196
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 January 4, 2006. The hearing addressed the record of the complaint filed on February 28, 2005, and the probable cause determination filed by the New Haven Judicial District Grievance Panel for the towns of Bethany, New Haven and Woodbridge on October 28, 2005, finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent violated Rules 1.1, 1.3 and 1.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and Practice Book §2-32(a)(1).
Notice of the January 4, 2006 hearing was mailed to the Complainant, to the Respondent and to the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel on December 2, 2005. Both the Complainant and the Respondent appeared at the hearing. Pursuant to Practice Book §2-35(d), Assistant Disciplinary Counsel Frank Blando pursued the matter before this reviewing committee. The Respondent was represented by Attorney Ira Grudberg. An exhibit was admitted into evidence.
Reviewing committee member William Murphy was not present for the hearing. Since the Assistant Disciplinary Counsel and the Respondent’s counsel waived Mr. Murphy’s participation, this decision was rendered by the undersigned.
This reviewing committee finds the following facts by clear and convincing evidence:
The Complainant retained the Respondent in October of 2001 regarding a civil claim arising out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on August 27, 2001. Beginning in 2004, the Respondent stopped returning the Complainant’s telephone calls. The Respondent thereafter failed to reply to certified letters sent by the Complainant in early 2005. The statute of limitations for the Complainant’s claim expired without the Respondent initiating suit.
The Respondent did not file a timely answer to the grievance complaint. In a letter to the Grievance Panel dated April 15, 2005, the Respondent did not offer an explanation for his inaction in the matter.
This reviewing committee also considered the following:
In his April 15, 2005 letter, the Respondent referred to the matter as an “unfortunate” situation, and sought to resolve the matter to the Complainant’s satisfaction. Through counsel, the Respondent expressed his regret at what happened, and noted that the Respondent has had no prior disciplinary history in over thirty years of practice. It was indicated that the Respondent is not currently practicing and that the Respondent has no objection to the entry of the sanction recommended by Disciplinary Counsel.
This reviewing committee concludes by clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent engaged in unethical conduct. The Respondent allowed the Complainant’s civil claim to expire, which constitutes a lack of competence and a lack of diligence, in violation of Rules 1.1 and 1.3, respectively of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent failed to adequately communicate with the Complainant regarding the status of her matter, and failed to respond to inquiries from the Complainant, in violation of Rule1.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Respondent failed to file a timely answer to the grievance complaint, in violation of Practice Book §2-32(a)(1). The Respondent is reprimanded.
DECISION DATE: __3/3/06_____________
Attorney Rita A. Steinberger
Attorney Randy L. Cohen