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Veteran Attorney Breaks the Rules

 Veteran Attorney Admits Misappropriating Client Funds, Resigns:



The New York Appellate Division's 2nd Department last week accepted the resignation of a veteran New York City personal injury attorney who admitted mishandling the funds that a client had received in settling a workers' compensation claim.


The case was Matter of Durst, No. 2013-10006.


Cirro Rodriguez retained attorney John E. Durst Jr. to represent him in a workers' compensation matter which settled in June 2005.


Durst received a payment of $500,000 for the purpose of purchasing an annuity for Rodriguez. This annuity was supposed to provide Rodriguez with a stream of fixed payments on a monthly basis for the life of the annuity.


Rather than purchase the annuity, Durst admitted using the money for other purposes.

Durst made monthly payment to Rodriguez for more than three years, and then made scattered payments between 2008 and 2012. He stopped making payments to Rodriguez in 2012.


Rodriguez then hired a new attorney who demanded an accounting. When Durst failed to provide one, Rodriguez filed a complaint against him with the Attorney Grievance Committee for the 10th Judicial District.


Durst failed to respond to a series of letters from the committee or comply with two subpoena requests.


Durst was then informed that he would be charged with six violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct.


Durst responded by tendering the resignation of his law license, along with an acknowledgement that he could not defend himself against the merits of the charges of misconduct.


The Appellate Division's 2nd Department accepted his resignation last Wednesday and ordered that Durst be immediately disbarred.


Durst was admitted to practice in 1980.


According to his firm biography, he worked for Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg and then the law firm of O'Dwyer & Bernstein where he represented the Government of Iran in their lawsuit against the Shah of Iran − a matter involving the constitutionality of the Iran-US Hostage Agreement that was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. He then became the head of the products liability department at Queller Fisher.


Durst founded the Durst Law Firm in 1990.


A former board member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and a life member of the Multimillion Dollar Advocates Forum, Durst has published more than 17 law review articles on trial practice and was the managing editor of the New York State Trial Lawyers Quarterly for 10 years.


He has lectured for the New York State Bar Association, New York State Trial Lawyers Association, American Bar Association and the Nassau County Lawyers Association.


Durst is also the author of multiple books on the practice and development of New York law.


To read the decision, click here.


Source: WorkCompCentral

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