Torrington Lawyer Suspended Over Handling Of Paralegal's Will
Rozbicki's behavior, Upson wrote, "indicates an intentional manipulation of the estate for his own benefit."
Rozbicki insisted he did nothing wrong, arguing that he was looking out for the best interests of his long-time employee and friend. "These people never gave her anything," he told the Law Tribune last week. "Who was the one who helped her buy a house? I was."
In deciding punishment, Upson said Rozbicki's pattern of behavior was serious enough to warrant suspension. He suspended Rozbicki from the practice of law for two years.
Although Rozbicki will not be required to apply for readmission to the bar after that suspension, he will have to pass a Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam before returning to practice.
Suzanne Sutton, the assistant disciplinary counsel who pursued the grievance case for the state, said Rozbicki's mistep was getting too personally involved in a legal matter. "As soon as your personal involvement overrides the best interest of your client, or in this case, your fiduciary duties, you need to get out of the case," Sutton said.
She said attorneys must maintain an objective position when handling all legal matters. Although Rozbicki didn't violate any rules by loaning his employee money or handling her slip and fall case, said Sutton, he failed in his professional duty to the beneficiaries of her will.
"This is a serious offense," she said.
Rozbicki said he has appealed the decision denying him the $20,000. He also intends to appeal the disciplinary action. "This is ridiculous," he said. "I didn't take anything I wasn't entitled to."