On Wednesday, April 5, 2023, the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department suspended attorney Christopher A. Bacotti from the practice of law. The case is entitled “In the matter of Christopher A. Bacotti” with case no. 2019-13490.
The investigation against the respondent stemmed from a November 21, 2018 grievance complaint following an overdraft in the respondent’s Connecticut IOLA account. It was alleged that the respondent committed multiple violations of the Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct, specifically for commingling his personal funds with client funds, maintaining the client in the State of Connecticut where the respondent did not maintain an office, and without the client’s consent, failing to maintain the required records for his IOLA account, failing to respond to a lawful demand for information by Connecticut grievance authorities, failing to properly identify his trust account, and failing to provide requested records when notified of the IOLA account overdraft.
Due to the said violations, the Connecticut Superior Court suspended the respondent from the practice of law. Additionally, the court-appointed a trustee to take control of the respondent’s clients’ funds, his IOLA account, and all other fiduciary accounts held by the respondent.
The filing states:
“By order dated August 31, 2021, the Connecticut Superior Court found by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent violated counts one through four of the third amended presentment and determined that it may find by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent violated count five. The court reached a different disposition as to each count.”
Despite the respondent’s attempt to make a motion setting aside Conneticut’s suspension, the New York Supreme Court decided to impose the same as a form of reciprocal discipline.
According to the court, it found that the respondent has failed to meet his burden in establishing his defenses. First, the respondent’s assertion of lack of due process is inapposite to the record before the court. According to the court, he was provided notice and participated in the Connecticut proceeding, which was ultimately resolved by his knowing and voluntary execution of a stipulation that states that the OCDC and the respondent engaged in negotiations that produced a disposition acceptable to all parties. Moreover, while not a requirement for finding that due process has been provided, the respondent had the benefit of defense counsel throughout the proceeding.
Based on these foregoing reasons, the court decided to suspend the respondent.
The Disposition states:
“ORDERED that pursuant to 22 NYCRR 1240.13, the respondent, Christopher A. Bacotti, admitted as Christopher Bacotti, a suspended attorney, is suspended from the practice of law for a period of three years, effective immediately, without credit for the time the respondent has already served under the interim suspension imposed by this Court by opinion and order dated June 2, 2021, and continuing until further order of this Court.”
Mr. Bacotti attended the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. He practices in Melville, New York. He is licensed in New York. His info can be found on lawyersjustia.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.