A New York real estate lawyer was suspended for four months and ordered to undergo up to one year of counseling for aggressive litigation techniques.
A state appeals court ordered the sanctions for Adam L. Bailey because he failed to apologize for his actions and because he had twice previously been admonished by the state attorney grievance committee for “excessively aggressive behavior while representing a client.”
The court said Bailey engaged in inappropriate behavior several times in 2016.
In one instance, according to filings, he barged into an arbitration hearing at his law firm—a small firm that he owned—started taking pictures with his phone, and said: “This will be in the newspaper when I put this in there after we kick your asses.”
The second time, filings said, Bailey threatened a resident of a building owned by a firm client after the resident accused the owner of overcharging tenants in an online post. Bailey demanded the resident take down the post because it was defamatory. When this didn’t happen, he texted the resident that he’d use “all means necessary” to protect his client.
Bailey later called the resident, who recorded the conversation. Bailey said that the resident should kill himself because he was worthless and that he’d have him arrested. He also told him: “Now you’re my bitch. . . . you’re gonna be paying for this heavily for the rest of your life.”
The grievance committee held a hearing on the incidents and recommended Bailey be suspended for three months, but the state court rejected the sanction.
Bailey’s conduct violated several state professional conduct rules, including threatening criminal charges solely to obtain an advantage in a civil matter and conduct that adversely reflects on counsel’s fitness as a lawyer, the court said.
It also denied Bailey’s request for a public censure instead of suspension because of his failure to apologize for his actions and because he’d been admonished in 2011 and 2014 for aggressive behavior and failing “to conduct himself within the bounds of propriety.”
The case is Matter of Bailey, 2019 BL 115844, N.Y. App. Div., No. M-6219 CM-293, 4/2/19.
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