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In the Matter of Monaghan

Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, Second Department
295 A.D.2d 38 (2002)


Facts

Monaghan (defendant) represented Patricia Parsons at depositions conducted by the United States Department of Labor (the department). Gail Perry, a black woman, conducted the depositions on the department’s behalf. Monaghan taunted Perry continuously, claiming that she mispronounced words during the depositions. Based on this conduct, the department moved in May 1996 to request sanctions against Monaghan in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). At a June 1996 hearing, Monaghan continued his attempts to justify his conduct despite warnings from the judge that he would be referred to the disciplinary committee. After he was ordered to pay a $500 fine, Monaghan wrote an apology letter to Monaghan, admitting that his actions were inappropriate. In January 2001, Monaghan conceded by written stipulation that his conduct violated New York Code of Professional Responsibility DRs 1-102(a)(5)-(6), which prohibits an attorney from engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and unlawfully discriminating in the practice of law on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation. Monaghan acknowledged that public censure would be an appropriate sanction for his conduct. In a March 2001 order, the chair of the SDNY Committee on Grievances (plaintiff) directed Monaghan’s public censure for his race-based discrimination against Perry. Monaghan appealed to the New York Supreme Court, contending that there was insufficient proof to establish misconduct. Following a hearing, a Special Referee concluded that Monaghan’s conduct was more likely motivated by gender rather than race, and so found insufficient evidence to support the grievance committee’s order. Monaghan moved to confirm the Referee’s report.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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