Cite as 25 I&N Dec. 559 (BIA 2011) Interim Decision #3721
1 The Office of General Counsel for the Executive Office for Immigration Review submitted
a request that we designate our February 3, 2011, order in this case as a precedent. The
request is granted. This amended order makes editorial changes consistent with our
designation of the case as a precedent.
2 On June 28, 2011, we issued an order reinstating the respondent to practice before the
Board, the Immigration Courts, and the DHS based on the provisions of 8 C.F.R.
§ 1003.107(a) (2011).
Matter of Ronald S. SALOMON, Respondent
Decided as amended July 12, 20111
U.S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Board of Immigration Appeals
Nonidentical reciprocal discipline of an attorney does not amount to a “grave injustice”
under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.103(b)(2)(iii) (2011) where the attorney has engaged in wide-ranging
misconduct and was disciplined in multiple jurisdictions.
FOR RESPONDENT: Chris M. McDonough, Esquire, Westbury, New York
FOR EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR IMMIGRATION REVIEW, OFFICE OF GENERAL
COUNSEL: Scott Anderson, Deputy Disciplinary Counsel
FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Eileen M. Connolly, Chief,
Immigration Court Practice Section – East
BEFORE: Board Panel: HOLMES and GUENDELSBERGER, Board Members;
KENDALL CLARK, Temporary Board Member.
HOLMES, Board Member:
The respondent will be suspended from practice before the Board
of Immigration Appeals, the Immigration Courts, and the Department
of Homeland Security (“DHS”) for a period of 6 months.2
On October 14, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit issued an order suspending the respondent from the practice of law for
3 months, effective 28 days from the date of that order. Consequently,
on November 1, 2010, the Disciplinary Counsel for the Executive Office for
Immigration Review (“EOIR”) petitioned for the respondent’s immediate
suspension from practice before the Board and the Immigration Courts. The
DHS then asked that the respondent be similarly suspended from practiceCite as 25 I&N Dec. 559 (BIA 2011) Interim Decision #3721
before that agency. Therefore, on November 23, 2010, we suspended the
respondent from practicing before the Board, the Immigration Courts, and the
DHS pending the final disposition of this proceeding.
The respondent has filed a timely answer to the allegations contained
in the November 1, 2010, Notice of Intent to Discipline, which proposed
a nonidentical reciprocal discipline of 6 months’ suspension. See 8 C.F.R.
§ 1003.105(c)(1) (2011). The respondent does not dispute the allegations
in the Notice of Intent to Discipline, and he does not seek a hearing. The
respondent objects only to the imposition of a 6-month suspension, rather than
a 3-month suspension. We therefore find it appropriate to issue a final order
on the Government’s charges. 8 C.F.R. § 1003.106(a)(1) (2010); see also
73 Fed. Reg. 76,914, 76,925 (Dec. 18, 2008) (providing that in summary
disciplinary proceedings, the Board may issue a final order when the
respondent’s answer does not make a prima facie showing that there are any
material issues of fact in dispute).
We agree that the EOIR Disciplinary Counsel’s proposed nonidentical
reciprocal discipline of 6 months’ suspension is justified under the totality
of the circumstances. In that regard, we consider the fact that the respondent
has been subject to disciplinary proceedings for wide-ranging misconduct
in three different jurisdictions.
On March 7, 2007, the respondent was admonished by the New York
Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, Departmental
Disciplinary Committee. The committee determined that the respondent had
neglected the legal matters of three immigration clients.
On October 28, 2010, the respondent was censured by the New York
Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department for neglecting
immigration matters and engaging in conduct adversely reflecting on his
fitness to practice law. The Hearing Panel had recommended a 3-month
On January 28, 2009, an informal admonition was sent to the respondent
by the EOIR Disciplinary Counsel. With regard to six immigration cases, the
respondent was found to have engaged in frivolous behavior in violation
of 8 C.F.R. § 1003.102(j) (2011) and to have recklessly made false statements
in violation of 8 C.F.R. § 1003.102(c).
Another informal admonition relating to four additional immigration clients
was sent to the respondent by the EOIR Disciplinary Counsel on May 10,
2010. The respondent was found to have engaged in frivolous behavior
in violation of 8 C.F.R. § 1003.102(j), to have repeatedly failed to appear
at scheduled hearings without good cause in violation of 8 C.F.R.
§ 1003.102(l), and to have violated 8 C.F.R.§ 1003.102(c) by acting with
reckless disregard in making false assertions.Cite as 25 I&N Dec. 559 (BIA 2011) Interim Decision #3721
As previously noted, the Second Circuit suspended the respondent from
practice for 3 months on October 14, 2010. The court adopted the August 5,
2009, Report and Recommendation of the United States Court of Appeals for
the Second Circuit Committee on Admissions and Grievances. This report
found that the respondent displayed “a pattern of neglect of client matters,
primarily through persistent disregard of briefing schedules.”
In its order, the Second Circuit stated that it found “the persistence
of Salomon’s misconduct throughout the pendency of this disciplinary
proceeding to be disturbing” and that suspension was “warranted by the
magnitude of Salomon’s misconduct, the likelihood that a number of his
clients were prejudiced, and his continued failure to abide by this Court’s
scheduling orders.” The court accepted the Committee’s finding that the
respondent had defaulted in approximately 125 cases out of 190 cases between
2005 and 2008.
On November 22, 2010, we reopened proceedings in a case involving one
of the respondent’s clients. We found that the immigration client had
“properly asserted her claim of ineffective assistance of counsel” and had
presented “a substantial amount of evidence that [the respondent] failed to
adduce relevant to the [client’s] claim.”
The EOIR Disciplinary Counsel has presented evidence that the respondent
also violated our November 23, 2010, immediate suspension order in this case.
Specifically, the respondent signed a motion for a continuance before the
Boston Immigration Court that contained a certificate of service dated
December 13, 2010. The filing was rejected because the respondent had been
suspended from practice. Although the respondent claims that he made
a “ministerial error in referencing himself as counsel of record,” the evidence
presented by the EOIR Disciplinary Counsel shows that the respondent did,
indeed, violate the immediate suspension order.
We are not persuaded by the respondent’s argument that applying the
proposed 6 months’ suspension would constitute a “grave injustice.” 8 C.F.R.
§ 1003.103(b)(2)(iii) (2011); see also 8 C.F.R. § 1003.106(a). In support
of his claim that the reciprocal discipline of 3 month’s suspension imposed
by the Second Circuit should not be increased, the respondent suggests that we
should be instructed by the fact that the New York Supreme Court, Appellate
Division, First Judicial Department censured him, rather than imposing greater
discipline. In this regard, the respondent notes that he was represented and
called witnesses before the First Judicial Department, while he appeared pro se
before the Second Circuit. The respondent also points to the fact that the
New York First Judicial Department recognized changes he had made to his
In claiming grave injustice, the respondent argues that the cases the
Government cited as presenting aggravating factors occurred in the past and
were previously considered by either the New York First Judicial DepartmentCite as 25 I&N Dec. 559 (BIA 2011) Interim Decision #3721
or the Second Circuit in imposing his punishment. He claims that these were
isolated incidents and that he has not repeated the same misconduct since the
disciplinary actions against him were filed.
As mitigating factors, the respondent points to surgical procedures that
he had undergone, which he claims affected his practice. However, the
August 5, 2009, Report and Recommendation of the United States Court
of Appeals for the Second Circuit Committee on Admissions and Grievances
found that the respondent’s medical problems were “at most a minor
contributing factor to Salomon’s defaults.” The respondent also contends that
his suspension will harm his law practice, and he claims that he has a family
to support. However, as the EOIR Disciplinary Counsel argues, such
hardships are not grounds for reducing a suspension. See Matter of Kronegold,
25 I&N Dec. 157, 162 (BIA 2010).
We agree with the EOIR Disciplinary Counsel’s assertion that the Board
is in a unique position to review the respondent’s misconduct, which occurred
in three jurisdictions. In making our determination, we have considered the
respondent’s contention that he is a zealous advocate and performs a “great
service” for his clients, many of whom are West African immigrants claiming
persecution. We have also taken into account his statement that he “does not
deny his misconduct as alleged.”
Despite the respondent’s contentions, we find that the proposed
nonidentical reciprocal discipline would not amount to a “grave injustice,”
given his wide-ranging misconduct and the fact that he was disciplined
in multiple jurisdictions. We have previously imposed such nonidentical
reciprocal discipline in appropriate circumstances. Matter of Krivonos,
24 I&N Dec. 292, 293 (BIA 2007) (denying the reinstatement of a practitioner
who had been reinstated to practice law by the courts but had engaged in fraud
concerning immigration matters, because of the “serious nature of his crime”);
Matter of Jean-Joseph, 24 I&N Dec. 294 (BIA 2007) (increasing reciprocal
discipline based on the practitioner’s misconduct before the EOIR). We also
find that nonidentical reciprocal discipline is warranted in this case.
ORDER: The EOIR Disciplinary Counsel’s motion for summary
adjudication is granted.
FURTHER ORDER: The respondent is suspended from practice before
the Board, the Immigration Courts, and the DHS for a period of 6 months.
FURTHER ORDER: Since the respondent is currently under our
November 23, 2010, order of suspension, his suspension will be deemed
to have commenced on that date.
FURTHER ORDER: The respondent is instructed to maintain
compliance with the directives set forth in our prior order and to notify the
Board of any further disciplinary action against him.Cite as 25 I&N Dec. 559 (BIA 2011) Interim Decision #3721
FURTHER ORDER: The respondent may petition this Board for
reinstatement to practice before the Board, the Immigration Courts, and the
DHS pursuant to 8 C.F.R.§ 1003.107(a) (2011).
FURTHER ORDER: Because an immediate suspension order was
previously imposed in this case, this order becomes effective immediately. See
8 C.F.R. § 1003.105(d)(2); Matter of Kronegold, 25 I&N Dec. at 163.
Cite as 25 I&N Dec. 559 (BIA 2011) Interim Decision #3721