On December 30, 2022, the Supreme Court of New Jersey censured attorney Angelo Bagnara for Commingling funds. This case is entitled “In the matter of Angelo Bagnara” with Case no. 086297.

The charges cited Rules of Professional Conduct 1.7(a)(2), 1.8(a), 1.15(a) and 1.15(d) which state:

A concurrent conflict of interest. 

Improper business transactions with a client. 

Negligent misappropriation of client funds and commingling of fun. 

Failure to maintain financial records required by Rule 1:21-.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

In a letter dated September 28, 2021, it was stated that the respondent failed to adhere to the recordkeeping requirements of R. 1:21 – 6, and his violations resulted in the negligent misappropriation of clients’ entrusted funds. Specifically, it was said that clients’ funds were invaded due to the respondent’s commingling of personal funds in his attorney trust account (ATA), and his negligence in issuing a client’s check from his ATA, after he mistakenly had deposited the funds in his attorney business account. 

The filing states:

“However, the facts support a theory of negligent, as opposed to knowing, misappropriation, because there was no evidence in the record to suggest that the respondent intended to invade his client’s funds. Rather, from the facts presented, the respondent failed to adhere to the recordkeeping Rules and promptly corrected his errors once he was made aware of them. There was no evidence that he utilized client funds for his own purposes. Nonetheless, the respondent’s negligent misappropriation, commingling, and failure to adhere to the R. 1:21-6 recordkeeping requirements resulted in his violation of RPC I.15(a) (nine instances negligent misappropriation; one instance commanding) and RPC 1.15(d), respectively.”

The filing continues:

“In this case, respondent’s conduct, and the resulting conflicts of interest, were nearly identical to the misconduct of the attorney in Drachman. Respondent failed to disclose his employment with the title company, failed to secure his client’s written consent to the disclosure, and failed to alert his clients that they could purchase title insurance elsewhere, In Drachman, the Board imposed a reprimand, despite the attorney’s lack of prior discipline. Here, the respondent not only engaged in a conflict of interest, but he also did so nineteen times, compared to the eight times addressed in Drachman, over the span of fifteen months.”

According to the Board, considering the number of instances and client accounts affected by the respondent’s misconduct, in the aggregate, the Board determined that discipline in the range of censure to a short-term suspension was appropriate.

The Disposition states:

“It is ORDERED that Angelo Bagnara of Morristown is hereby censured, and it is further ORDERED that the entire record of this matter be made a permanent part of respondent’s file as an attorney at law of this State; and it is further ORDERED that respondent reimburse the Disciplinary Oversight Committee for appropriate administrative costs and actual expenses incurred in the prosecution of this matter, as provided in Rule 1:20-17.”

As of today, Mr. Bagnara’s info can be found on Linkedin. He attended Seton Hall University School of Law, graduating in 2001. Bagnara practices in Florham Park, New Jersey with license #12402001.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.