Wednesday, July 07, 2004

In local news...

I'd never heard of the guy, but this Star-Ledger story is about a Maplewood lawyer gone bad:
Maplewood lawyer Emanuel Needle, who has been practicing in this state for 47 years, was permanently disbarred for putting as much as $935,000 in an out-of-state T.Rowe Price account in Maryland, in violation of the rules of professional conduct that require New Jersey lawyers to keep all clients' funds in an in-state bank.

Despite the disbarment order, Frederick J. Dennehy, the lawyer representing Needle, said the matter is not finally resolved. He filed a motion with the state's high court and obtained a stay of the disbarment order to give him a chance to give the court additional information.

"There was a vast amount of material that was not presented," said Dennehy.

The Disciplinary Review Board, the body that reviews ethics complaints and makes recommendations to the state Supreme Court, said Needle overcharged clients for his work, failed to promptly pay doctors or others owed money in connection with cases and secured loans for clients without telling them he was the lender.

At one point he had settlement funds for 47 clients in an account and took excessive fees in 34 cases, according to the report.

Calling Needle's treatment of his clients "reprehensible," the review board said, "He took advantage of clients by routinely taking excessive fees from them. He also misrepresented to clients that he was assisting them in obtaining loans from a third party, when, in fact, he was the lender. He charged one client 18 percent interest and another 12 percent."

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