March 25, 2009
Lost Will, Lost License
From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:
The license of Cincinnati attorney Darrell Brown has been indefinitely suspended by the Supreme Court of Ohio for misappropriating client funds entrusted to him, failing to administer a decedent’s estate after losing the original copy of the will, ignoring the client’s requests for information and the return of property to which the client was entitled, and failing to cooperate with disciplinary authorities investigating his misconduct.
The Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline that instead of depositing a $500 fee advance and a $739 cashier’s check payable to the decedent in a client trust account, Brown deposited the unearned fee in his personal account and endorsed and spent the check payable to the decedent without the knowledge or consent of his client. Brown never opened the decedent’s estate in probate court, and subsequently failed to respond to repeated attempts to communicate with him by the client or to inform the client that he had lost the decedent’s will.
The Court also found that Brown violated the state bar governance rule that requires attorneys to cooperate with all disciplinary investigations when he failed to answer the grievance the client filed against him with the Cincinnati Bar Association or to respond to subsequent inquiries, ultimately requiring the disciplinary board to undertake default proceedings against him.
The court's decision is linked here. (Mike Frisch)
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