United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING PETITION FOR
matter is presently before this panel of the Court on the
Petition of Lennox Emanuel for the reinstatement of his
license to practice law before the United States District
Court and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern
District of Michigan. Mr. Emanuel was suspended from the
practice of law in the Michigan state courts for a period of
30 days, effective January 28, 2016. As a result of the State
Bar suspension, pursuant to E.D. Mich. L.R. 83.22, on
February 10, 2016, a reciprocal Order of Suspension from the
practice of law in the U.S. District Court and U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan was
entered. Emanuel was reinstated to state court practice on
March 7, 2016. He thereafter filed the instant Petition for
Reinstatement to practice law in the federal courts within
the Eastern District of Michigan.
three-judge panel was appointed to hear and decide the
matter. The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission was
appointed to serve as “of counsel” and the
Grievance Administrator was directed to prepare and file an
investigative report. A hearing on the matter was thereafter
commenced on June 6, 2016 and concluded on September 6, 2016.
had the opportunity to review and consider the hearing
transcripts, the Grievance Administrator's reports, and
the responses and replies thereto, the panel is now prepared
to rule on this matter. This Memorandum Opinion and Order
sets forth the panel's decision.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Emanuel's State Bar suspension arose out of a formal
complaint filed by the Grievance Administrator of the
Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission charging Emanuel with
professional misconduct arising from a dispute regarding the
allocation of attorney fees between Emanuel and his
predecessor counsel after settlement of a client's
personal injury claim. An evidentiary hearing on the matter
was held before a panel of the Michigan Attorney Discipline
Board. The Attorney Discipline Board found that Mr. Emanuel
had engaged in the misconduct charged. Specifically, the
Board found that Emanuel failed to deposit the settlement
funds in an IOLTA or MRPC-compliant non-IOLTA account, in
violation of MRPC 1.15(d), and failed to hold the disputed
funds separate until the dispute was resolved, in violation
of MRPC 1.15(c).
result of the State Bar suspension, pursuant to E.D. Mich.
L.R. 83.22, on February 10, 2016, a reciprocal Order of
Suspension from the practice of law in the U.S. District
Court and U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of
Michigan was entered by U.S. District Chief Judge Denise Page
Michigan Attorney Discipline Board issued a Notice of
Emanuel's Automatic Reinstatement to state court practice
on March 7, 2016. Emanuel thereafter filed the instant
Petition for Reinstatement to practice law in the federal
courts within the Eastern District of Michigan. Pursuant to
E.D. Mich. L.R. 83.22(g)(1), this three-judge panel was
appointed to hear the matter, and the Michigan Attorney
Grievance Commission was appointed to serve as “of
counsel.” The Grievance Administrator, thereafter,
submitted a Federal Reinstatement Report on March 31, 2016,
and a hearing was convened on the matter on June 6, 2016.
Grievance Administrator's report raised several
significant issues concerning Petitioner's veracity and
temperament. In particular, the Grievance Administrator noted
a number of misrepresentations that Mr. Emanuel had made,
under oath, in a deposition of him taken in connection with a
Section 1983 action Emanuel brought on his own behalf,
Emanuel v. Turfe, et al., EDMI No. 13-13175. The
Section 1983 action arose out of Petitioner's September
2011 arrest on charges of “receiving and admitting a
person for an act of prostitution, ” in violation of
Detroit City Code §38-9-4(b), and the contemporaneous
seizure of his car pursuant to the provisions of
Michigan's nuisance-abatement statutes, M.C.L.
deposition in the Section 1983 action, Emanuel unequivocally
testified that, other than the 2011 matter, he had never been
a criminal defendant in any other case nor had he ever before
ticketed for any act involving solicitation of
prostitution. However, court records establish that in
September 2004, Petitioner was issued a citation and charged
with “Offer to Engage the Services of Another for the
Act of Prostitution, ” and that charge remained open
and pending for a number of years -- during which time Mr.
Emanuel made several court appearances -- until it was
finally dismissed on the motion of the City Attorney just the
year before Emanuel's deposition was taken. Wayne County
records further indicate that the 2011 seizure of
Petitioner's car was his fourth vehicle seizure for
violation of Michigan's nuisance abatement laws
forbidding lewdness, assignation, or prostitution. See
id., Dkt. # 29-8.
Grievance Administrator further reported at the June 6, 2016
hearing that she had then only recently discovered some new
information relevant to Mr. Emanuel's petition for
reinstatement -- specifically, a series of other
non-disclosures and/or misrepresentations by Mr. Emanuel in
other courts with regard to, and during the period of, his
suspension -- and, therefore, requested additional time
within which to investigate and file a supplemental report to
address the newly discovered information. After hearing the
Grievance Administrator's concerns, the panel agreed that
a supplemental report was needed. Therefore, the hearing was
adjourned and ordered continued after the Grievance
Administrator's filing of the supplemental report and Mr.
Emanuel's response thereto.
supplemental report, and response and reply memoranda were
thereafter filed, and the hearing on Mr. Emanuel's
petition was continued on September 6, 2016.
Grievance Administrator's Supplemental Reinstatement
Report detailed the non-disclosures/misrepresentations which
had raised the concerns she had voiced at the June
6th hearing, to-wit,
(1) that Petitioner had failed to notify the clerks of the
other U.S. District Courts where he is admitted and has
practiced of this Court's suspension;
(2) that Petitioner failed to disclose in his Chapter 7
bankruptcy petition then-pending U.S. District Court cases
for which he and/or his firm had contingent fee agreements
and/or were otherwise owed money or had been paid
(3) that despite having been reprimanded and suspended for
the “commingling” of client funds, evidence
discovered during the Bankruptcy Trustee's asset
investigation disclosed that Petitioner once again commingled
client funds with his own funds in his business checking
account, which forced the Bankruptcy Trustee to recover from
Petitioner's bank the fee portion of the settlement in
DeLeon v. Kalamazoo Cty. Road Comm'n, WDMI No.
11-cv-539 (the “DeLeon case”) which
properly belonged to the bankruptcy estate.
Grievance Administrator's Supplemental Report further
brought to light Petitioner's unprofessional litigation
conduct in the DeLeon case -- conduct for which he
was sanctioned by U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in the
Western District of Michigan. Judge Maloney found that
Petitioner's conduct during his client Robert
DeLeon's deposition was wholly unprofessional. In
relevant part, Judge Maloney stated in his Opinion and Order
Granting Defendant's Motion for Sanctions:
. . . The Court has read the deposition transcript and
listened to the audio recording. Generally, the Court finds
plaintiffs' counsel conducted himself unprofessionally.
Counsel for the Commission, Mr. Dedarian, displayed patience
and restraint in the face of an obviously frustrating
situation. At the deposition, Mr. Emanuel described Mr.
Dedarian's conduct with colorful language choices: twice
Mr. Dedarian was “being anal”, twice Mr. Dedarian
was “being asinine”, and twice Mr. Dedarian was
told that his “questions are a joke.” Mr. Emanuel
told Mr. Dedarian to “just be quiet” and to
“shut up.” Mr. Emanuel insisted that Mr. Dedarian
was “being so unreasonable” and “being
ridiculous.” Mr. Emanuel also claimed Mr. Dedarian was
“so insulting, ” “so condescending to the
witness, ” and “so over the top and
Mr. Emanuel also interfered with Mr. Dedarian's ability
to ask questions of Mr. Deleon. Over the first six-and-a-half
minutes of the deposition, Mr. Dedarian managed to ask a
total of nine questions of Mr. Deleon, with five of those
questions occurring in the first forty seconds and a sixth
was answered by Mr. Emanuel. Mr. Emanuel interrupted so often
and argued with Mr. Dedarian so frequently that Mr. Dedarian
was not able to ask any other questions during those initial
minutes. At six-and-a-half minutes into the deposition, Mr.
Emanuel accused Mr. Dedarian of “badgering my
witness.” During the next three minutes and forty-five
seconds, Mr. Dedarian only managed to ask one more question
of Mr. Deleon because of Mr. Emanuel's continued
interruptions. Nevertheless, ten minutes and fifteen
second[s] into the deposition, Mr. Emanuel again accused Mr.
Dedarian of badgering Mr. Deleon. The transcript is replete
with instances where Mr. Emanuel would answer questions posed
to Mr. Deleon. At least three times, Mr. Emanuel instructed
Mr. Deleon not to answer a question. No less than eight
times, Mr. Dedarian commented that Mr. Emanuel was answering
the questions or Mr. Dedarian asked Mr. Emanuel to allow Mr.
Deleon to answer the question.
[See 8/25/15 Opinion and Order Granting
Defendant's Motion for Sanctions, Grievance
Administrator's Supp. Report, Ex. 25, pp.
upon all of the foregoing, the Grievance Administrator
declined to recommend Petitioner for reinstatement to this
requirements for reinstatement of a suspended or disbarred
attorney are set forth in Eastern District of Michigan Local
Rule 83.22(i)(2), which provides:
The attorney seeking reinstatement must prove by clear and
convincing evidence that --
(A) the attorney has complied with the orders of discipline
of this court, and all other disciplinary authorities.
(B) the attorney has not practiced in this court during the
period of disbarment or suspension and has not practiced law
contrary to any other order of discipline.
(C) the attorney has not engaged in any other professional
misconduct since disbarment or suspension.
(D) the attorney has the moral qualifications, competency and
learning in the law required for admission to practice before
this court, and that his or her resumption of the practice of
law will not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of
the bar or to the administration of justice, or subversive of
the public interest.
E.D. Mich. L.R. 83.22(i)(2).
panel finds that Petitioner Emanuel has failed to ...