Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert which will discuss the recent reprimand of a New Jersey lawyer who, inter alia, told a Bar official to GO F**K YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”. The case is In the Matter of Michael Rychel, Docket No. DRB 16-250, District Docket No. IIA-2014-0007E. The April 10, 2017 OAE disciplinary report is here: http://drblookupportal.judiciary.state.nj.us/DocumentHandler.ashx?document_id=1082359 and the February 9, 2018 discipline Order is here: http://drblookupportal.judiciary.state.nj.us/DocumentHandler.ashx?document_id=1094024
The lawyer was admitted to practice in New Jersey in 1992. According to the April 10, 2017 OAE report, the lawyer sent e-mails to the director of the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) and an OAE investigator on November 7, 2012. The e-mails were sent within minutes of each other.
The lawyer’s first e-mail to the OAE investigator stated: “Do me a big favor and tell Director Centinaro, THANKS FOR THE BACK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really appreciate his f*****g lack of concern. THIS IS A F*****G ATROCITY THAT AN HONEST LAW ABIDING ATTORNEY SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS S**T!!!!!! TELL CHARLES CENTINARO THAT I SAID TO GO F**K HIM SELF [sic]!!!!!!!! QUOTE ME IN YOUR REPORT!!!!!! NO OFFENSE AGAINST YOU, I KNOW YOU’RE A DECENT HONEST GUY. mIKE RYCHEL”
In the second e-mail to the OAE director, the lawyer stated: “Hey Charlie, here’s an example of what you’re [sic] f*****g AMBULANCE CHASING attorneys and their minions do to honest hardworking attorneys who comport their conduct to the RPC’s, 2C and the IRS code. Thanks so much for the back up [sic]. Look personally between me and you GO F**K YOURSEL ELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mike Rychel”
The lawyer testified that the reason that he was so upset and sent the e-mails was that he perceived system-wide corruption by ethics officials who handled his claims of misconduct against others, and was “troubled that his grievances had been dismissed.” He said that he sent the second e-mail to the OAE director because he was afraid the investigator would not convey his message.
The lawyer also admitted that his e-mail was “emotive, that it was discourteous, it lacked civility. Any further inquiry, whether or not it is abusive, whether it’s lewd, whether it’s obscene, I believe is superfluous and goes beyond the parameters of the Rule in terms of proving the necessary — the necessary proofs of a violation of a 3.2.”
The discipline Order reprimanded the lawyer and required the payment of the disciplinary costs and dismissed the grievance filed by the lawyer against the OAE since that was “no reasonable prospect of proving unethical conduct by clear and convincing evidence.”
Bottom line: This lawyer apparently was so upset that he completely lost his ability to think clearly and he also failed to follow the very simple rule to think before sending an e-mail communication (or text message) which is instantaneous and permanent and cannot be taken back.
Be careful out there.
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Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
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