A longtime Connecticut attorney who was the subject of three separate grievance complaints filed by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel has resigned from the state and federal bar and waived his privilege of reapplying to either in the future.
Louis S. Avitabile, a former Waterbury attorney who was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1968, resigned Nov. 8 and six weeks later Waterbury Superior Court Judge Mark H. Taylor accepted his resignation and waiver. Avitabile had his own practice.
According to a January discipline report, Avitabile has had several reprimands leveled against him since the 1990s. The three most recent cases involved different clients.
The first one cited a complaint leveled in 2015 by Dawn Reynolds. In that case, Avitabile allegedly mishandled settlement funds received on behalf of Reynolds and, in doing so, violated seven Rules of Professional Conduct.
After a full hearing, according to court papers, the reviewing committee “specifically found, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent committed unethical conduct” in violating several Rules of Professional Conduct. Specifically, Avitabile failed to inform Reynolds he couldn’t represent her in a civil matter, and committed the unauthorized practice of law by representing her in an area he was not allowed to practice in.
Cheryllynn Donnelly filed her complaint against Avitabile in February 2016. A grievance panel found probable cause that he forged Donnelly’s name on a check and failed to turn over settlement money to her. He also failed to respond to Donnelly’s new attorney.
The third grievance was filed Dec. 5 by Curtis Howard, who claimed Avitabile failed to adequately represent him in a criminal matter despite multiple payments.
In his Nov. 30 decision, Taylor wrote “He [Avitabile] asserts that his presentment in this court is moot and should be dismissed. The court disagrees.” In the affidavit accompanying his resignation, according to Taylor, Avitabile “elected to deny some or all of the material facts of the misconduct alleged, but acknowledged there was sufficient evidence to prove misconduct by clear and convincing evidence.”
Waterbury attorney John P. Santucci, who has his own practice, represented Avitabile. Santucci declined to comment and Avitabile could not be reached for comment Thursday.