On Tuesday, January 10, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey reprimanded attorney Donald M. McHugh over the case of dishonesty.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Donald M. McHugh” with case no. 086982.

The charges cited violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct 3.3(a)(1), 3.49(c),8.1(a), 8.4(c) and 8.4(d) which states:

Making a false statement of material fact to a tribunal.

Knowingly disobeying an obligation under the rules of a tribunal.

Knowingly making a false statement.

of material facts to disciplinary authorities.

Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

Engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

The Rules of Professional Misconduct can be found here.

On February 17, 2022, in a Decision, it was discussed that the respondent, McHugh had a partnership and agreement with Macri to form their law partnership in 1979. In the said agreement neither of the gentlemen would receive a salary for services rendered to the partnership, but rather, the parties maintained. The agreement also stipulates that “all funds of the partnership shall be deposited in its name in the national community Bank, in suitable accounts or in such other bank or banks as agreed upon by the parties.” Eventually, the partnership broke down sometime In 2018 and resulted in Macri suing his partner for “usurping the assets of McHugh and Macri for his personal use.”

The filing states:

“In 2017, McHugh retaliated. Following his work as an executor on an estate case opened by the Firm, he received a $33,499.93 executor’s commission. He did not deposit the commission in the Firm’s ABA but, instead, claimed it as personal income on his 2017 taxes. Moreover, McHugh did not advise Macri that he had received the executor’s commission. In May 2018, after he reviewed e-mails between McHugh and the Firm’s accountant, on which he had been copied, Macri learned that McHugh had not deposited the executor’s commission in the Firm’s ABA, which Macri viewed as a violation of the Agreement. In turn, McHugh claimed that Macri had paid himself significantly more in T&E expenses and other perquisites, in violation of the Agreement.”

The filing continues:

“On November 22, 2018, Macri discovered that McHugh had taken the $31,800, and Mclugh refused to return the funds to the ABA. Consequently, on November 27, 2018, Macri filed a motion to enforce the litigant’s rights, seeking to address McHugh’s taking of the funds.”

The filing further states:

“The next day, Maeri discovered that McHugh had electronically transferred $15,200 from the Firm’s ABA. In turn, Macri issued himself a $25,000 ABA check as a distribution and issued a second, $15,200 ABA check 11 to the new law firm he had created, Macri & Associates, LLC. The memo line for the $15,200 check stated, “equalization for 3 wire transfers.” Macri asserted that the $25,000 check was the usual monthly distribution he paid himself and McHugh. Macri further asserted that, after consulting with his attorney, he made these payments to himself and his new law firm to protect the Firm’s ABA from McHugh. Macri also asserted that the payments to himself would ensure he could pay Firm bills, employee payroll, and bonuses because he did not believe Judge Brennan would find the transfers to be a violation of the court orders. On December 19, 2018, McHugh and Macri spoke about the ABA transfers McHugh made immediately following the mediation. On the same date, McHugh wired $9,625 and $2,500 from his personal account back to the Firm’s ABA but did not return the $3,075 he had used to pay his American Express credit card bill.”

Finding clear evidence of the misconduct, the court asserted that due to the serious nature of the respondent’s misconduct, the strong mitigating factors justify the imposition of reprimand.

The Disposition states:

“The Disciplinary Review Board having filed with the Court its decision in DRB 21-233/246, concluding that Donald M. McHugh, formerly of East Hanover, who was admitted to the bar of this State in 1973, should be reprimanded for violating RPC 3.3 (a) () (making a false statement of material fact to a tribunal), RPC 3.4 (c) (knowingly disobeying an obligation under the rules of a tribunal), RPC 8.1 (a) (knowingly making a false statement of material fact to disciplinary authorities), RPC 8.4 (c) (engagıng in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation) and 8.4 (d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice); And good cause appearing It is ORDERED that Donald M. McHugh is hereby reprimanded; and it s further.”

As of today, Mr. McHugh is listed on the website of the firm of Mchugh & Macri as his latest employment as a practicing attorney. His info can be found on lawyerdigs.com. He practices in East Hanover, New Jersey, and is licensed in the same state with license #007991973.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.