Kanowitz v. Statewide Grievance Committee
An attorney who allegedly misrepresents the price of construction to his client engages in conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorney Edward Kanowitz allegedly represented both the bank and the homeowners at the closing on a loan. Although the homeowners' construction contract for their new home indicated that the cost of construction was $1.77 million, the bank documents allegedly indicated that the contract price was $1.58 million. The homeowners' contractor, Robert Paltauf, filed a grievance against Attorney Kanowitz. The Statewide Grievance Committee found, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent attorney allegedly misrepresented to the bank the price of the construction, in violation of Rule 8.4(3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The respondent attorney appealed to the Superior Court. Rule 8.4(3) provides, "It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to . . . [e]ngage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." The Statewide Grievance Committee reasonably could have found that the respondent attorney failed to inform the bank about the price of construction. The committee's conclusion that the respondent engaged in conduct that involved dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation was not clearly wrong, and the court denied the respondent attorney's appeal.