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Grievance Complaint #99-0432


Order (published censure) entered by the Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee.

Massachusetts reciprocal reprimand entered March 28, 2001.


Winifred T. Gordon Complainant
Noah Starkey,


Pursuant-to Practice Book §2-35, the undersigned, duly-appointed reviewing committee of the Statewide Grievance Committee, conducted a hearing at the Superior Court, 1 Court Street. Middletown, Connecticut on May 11, 2000. The hearing addressed the record of the complaint filed on November 12, 1999, and the probable cause determination filed by the New Britain-Hartford Judicial District, Geographical Areas 12 and 16 Grievance Panel on February 28, 2000. finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent violated Rules 1.3 and 1.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Notice of the May 11, 2000 hearing was mailed to the Complainant and to the Respondent on March 23, 2000. The Complainant appeared and testified before this reviewing committee The Respondent did not appear.

This reviewing committee finds the following facts by clear and convincing evidence:

In 1988, the Respondent was appointed as co-executor, along with the Complainant, of the Complainant's mother's estate. The Respondent failed to close the estate. Since at least the Fall of 1998, the Complainant has had little or no contact with the Respondent, The Complainant made numerous efforts to contact the Respondent, but over the last year had received only one telephone message from him. The Respondent was removed as co-executor by the Probate Court in September of 1999. Since that time, the Respondent has failed to return the file.

The committee also considered the following:

In his answer to the complaint, the Respondent claimed that most of the work in closing out the estate was completed, but that it could not be finalized due to tax issues arising out of a related estate in New York. The Complainant did testify that the Respondent contacted her just recently and stated to her that he would drop off the file shortly.

It is the conclusion of this committee that there is clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent failed to act with reasonable diligence by failing to close out the estate over a number of years, in violation of Rule 1.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and that the Respondent failed to adequately communicate with the Complainant by failing to sufficiently respond to her attempts at contacting him since the fall of 1998, in violation of Rule 1.4(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Accordingly, it is the decision of this committee that the Respondent he reprimanded.

Attorney Kerry A. Tarpey
Attorney Karl Fortuna, Jr.
Ms. Mary Ellen Smith

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