Ob Tuesday, May 30, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey suspended attorney Kendal Coleman for failing to provide the required certificate of insurance to the clerk of the Supreme Court.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Kendal Coleman,” with case no. 087705.

The charges cited New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 5.5(a)(1) and 8.1(b) which states:

Unauthorized practice of law – failure to maintain liability insurance while practicing as a professional corporation.

Failure to cooperate with disciplinary authorities.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

According to the complaint, the respondent failed to maintain the required liability insurance and failed to provide the required certificate of insurance to the clerk of the Supreme Court, despite the clerk’s repeated requests. The respondent failed to offer a reasonable explanation for his failure to file an answer to the formal ethics complaint. He does not deny having received the complaint or the OAE’s May 25, 2022 letter.

The decision states:

“As previously mentioned, on September 28, 2022, the respondent filed an MVD in this matter, supported by his two-page certification and three pages of exhibits. The OAE did not file an opposition brief. In order to successfully vacate a default, a respondent must meet a two-pronged test by offering both a reasonable explanation for the failure to answer the ethics complaint and asserting meritorious defenses to the underlying charges. Here, we determined that the respondent failed to satisfy either prong.”

The decision continues:

“Specifically, as to the first prong, the respondent failed to offer a reasonable explanation for his failure to file an answer to the formal ethics complaint. Importantly, the respondent does not deny having received the complaint or the OAE’s May 25, 2022 letter. Instead, he contends that he was ill on three occasions, in 2020 and 2021, circumstances of which he claims to have notified the Clerk of the Court. Further, in January 2021, the respondent’s paralegal passed away and, according to the respondent, the resulting loss caused him to suffer anxiety.”

The decision contin

“Respondent failed, however, to correlate his illness or anxiety with his inability to file an answer that was due, at the very latest, on May 30, 2022, more than a year following his paralegal’s death. Moreover, if his anxiety interfered with his ability to submit a verified answer, he should have contacted the OAE. He does not claim to have done so.”

According to the court, the respondent’s failure to conform his conduct to the rules, despite his heightened awareness of this obligation, reflects a willful decision on his part to ignore the previous decision and the court’s disciplinary order and to place his own financial interests above those of his clients. In lieu of this, the court decided to suspend the respondent from the practice of law.

The Disposition states:

“It is ORDERED that Kendal Coleman is suspended from the practice of law for a period of three months and until the further Order of the Court, effective June 19, 2023; and it is further ORDERED that as a condition precedent to reinstatement, is required to submit proof to the Office of Attorney Ethics that he has filed his certificate of insurance with the Clerk of the Supreme Court or, alternatively, proof that he is no longer obligated to comply with the provisions of Rule 1:21-1.”

Mr. Coleman attended the Rutgers Law School. He practices in Clifton, New Jersey. He is licensed in New Jersey. His info can be found on Linkedin.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.