On Friday, February 2, 2024, the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, Fourth Department suspended attorney William Howard Getman from practicing law for one year due to misconduct including neglecting a client’s legal matter and making a false statement to a judge.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of William Howard Getman.”

According to the court order, Getman was accused of several Rules of Professional Conduct violations related to his representation of the Village of Earlville in Madison County. Specifically, the court found Getman violated rules regarding diligence toward a client, communication with a client, withdrawal from representation, honesty before a tribunal, and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

The charges stem from Getman agreeing in 2016 to represent the village as the defendant in a civil suit. However, in 2018 the judge ruled Getman could not serve as trial counsel due to potentially being a witness, which Getman admittedly failed to notify the village of for over two years, in violation of rules governing diligence and communication.

In late 2021, as the trial date approached, Getman falsely told the judge that replacement counsel had been retained, violating rules on honesty before a tribunal. He also sent potential attorneys paperwork on short notice, resulting in them being unable to take over the case and the village receiving an $85,000 default judgment.

Through a joint motion, Getman accepted a one-year suspension for misconduct including neglecting the legal matter and a false statement. The Fourth Department agreed and imposed the sanction while considering character references submitted on Getman’s behalf.

According to avvo.com, Mr. Getman is a family attorney in Waterville, New York. He attended Albany Law and acquired his law license in New York in 1977.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.