By Jessica Dye
NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - New York's chief judge has
stayed a Long Island lawyer's two-year suspension while the
state's highest court weighs whether to take up his latest
Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman gave the Grievance Committee
for the 9th Judicial District until Jan. 14 to respond to a
motion for leave to appeal the suspension by Peter Galasso,
founding partner of Galasso Langione Catterson & Lofrumento in
In the meantime, Galasso's suspension will be stayed,
Lippman said in the Jan. 7 order.
Galasso's brother, Anthony, pleaded guilty in 2007 to
diverting more than $4 million in escrow money from his
brother's firm, where he worked as a bookkeeper, according to
court papers. Galasso faced 10 charges of professional
misconduct by the Grievance Committee, which said he had failed
to safeguard his clients' money from his brother.
The Second Department in February sustained the charges and
suspended Galasso from practicing law for two years. He appealed
and, in October, the Court of Appeals affirmed nine of the 10
The case was remanded to the Second Department for a
decision on whether a two-year suspension was still appropriate.
In December, the Second Department said that it was and ordered
Galasso's suspension to begin Jan. 22.
Galasso's lawyer, Jeffrey Catterson, called his client's
dilemma a "Greek tragedy," noting -- in papers supporting a
motion seeking leave to appeal -- his "vigilance," "impeccable
reputation" and the "non-venality of his conduct."
Catterson, who is a partner at Galasso's firm, said in a
statement Thursday that he was pleased with Lippman's order.
At least two judges from the seven-judge Court of Appeals
must agree to hear the case in order for the appeal to go
forward, according to a spokesman for the court.
The case is In the Matter of Galasso, New York State Supreme
Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, No. 2010-01047.
For Galasso: Jeffrey Catterson of Galasso Langione Catterson
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