On Tuesday, October 10, 2023, the New Jersey Supreme Court disbarred attorney Christopher Michael Manganello for multiple violations of the rules of professional conduct, including gross neglect, lack of diligence, and dishonesty. Manganello, who was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1998, has been suspended since May 2022.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Christopher Michael Manganello,” with case number DRB 23-021.
According to the filing, Manganello violated the following New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct:
RPC 1.1(a) – Gross neglect (four instances)
RPC 1.3 – Lack of diligence (two instances)
RPC 1.4(b) – Failure to communicate with a client (three instances)
RPC 1.4(c) – Failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions about the representation (two instances)
RPC 1.16(d) – Failure to return the client’s file upon termination of the representation
RPC 8.1(b) – Failure to cooperate with disciplinary authorities (six instances)
RPC 8.4(c) – Conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation (four instances)
In a May 18, 2023 decision, the Disciplinary Review Board reviewed consolidated formal ethics complaints against Manganello in four client matters.
In the Matthews matter (District Docket No. IV-2021-0017E), Manganello was retained in October 2018 for a wrongful death lawsuit. He filed a complaint in February 2019 but failed to serve the defendants, resulting in dismissal in September 2019. Manganello reinstated the complaint in October 2020 but again failed to serve the defendants, leading to a second dismissal in March 2021. He did not inform his client of the dismissals.
In the Guarente matter (District Docket No. IV-2022-0001E), Manganello filed a civil complaint for a client in July 2018. The case was dismissed in November 2020 for lack of service to the defendants. Manganello falsely told the client in May 2021 that the case had been settled.
In the Siegel matter (District Docket No. IV-2021-0010), Manganello was retained in June 2020 for a divorce case but never filed the complaint, despite assuring the client he had done so. The client’s spouse filed for divorce instead.
In the Calas matter (District Docket No. IV-2021-0027E), Manganello agreed in February 2020 to file a breach of contract case but never did so, despite telling the client it had been filed.
Manganello also failed to cooperate with disciplinary investigations in all matters. The Review Board found Manganello violated rules of professional conduct for lack of diligence, failure to communicate with clients and dishonesty. Given his extensive disciplinary history for similar misconduct and failure to reform, the Board recommended Manganello’s disbarment.
The Supreme Court agreed, ordering Manganello be permanently disbarred and enjoined from practicing law in New Jersey.
The order reads:
“It is ORDERED that Christopher Michael Manganello be disbarred, effective immediately, and that respondent’s name be stricken from the roll of attorneys; and it is further ORDERED that Christopher Michael Manganello be and hereby is permanently restrained and enjoined from practicing law.”
According to Avvo, Mr Manganello practiced as an entertainment attorney in Pitman, New Jersey prior to his disbarment. He attended Rutgers University School of Law, graduating in 1998.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.