Legal Ethics

Threat to Sue Ethics Grievant Held Improper

A lawyer’s strongly worded letter to a client who filed an ethics grievance against him has resulted in a recommendation for a reprimand.

The New Jersey Disciplinary Review Board says Harry Levin of Levin & Cyphers in Toms River, N.J., violated ethics rules requiring courtesy to participants in the justice system, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. The intent of the letter, the board said, was to “frighten or bully” the client into abandoning her grievance.

The client’s grievance had contended Levin misused escrow funds. The complaint was later dismissed as without merit, but Levin’s problems didn’t end there because of the letter he fired off.

“As soon as the complaint is dismissed by the ethics committee, which it is sure to be, I will file suit against you and your husband,” Levin wrote.

“It is obvious to me that there is something wrong with you,” he said. “I do not know if it’s a function of some medical condition you have or some other emotional limitation, but I am not going to stand by while you try to blemish my reputation.”

“I am also exploring seeking court intervention to have you examined by a physician and psychiatrist. If you are suffering from some ailment that is affecting your thinking, I want that known by the ethics committee as well.”

Levin’s lawyer said he would ask the state supreme court to reverse the decision.

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