Wednesday, December 30, 2009
From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court of Ohio today suspended the license of [a] Cincinnati attorney...for two years, with the second year of that term stayed on conditions, for neglecting the cases of three different clients, failing to respond to repeated inquiries from those clients about the status of their cases or to refund their unearned fees upon request, and failing to cooperate with disciplinary authorities during the investigation of his misconduct.
The Court voted 6-1 to adopt findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline findings that [the attorney] accepted fee advances from three clients but subsequently failed to perform promised legal services, file documents or appear at scheduled court proceedings, causing harm or prejudice to those clients including the issuance of warrants for the arrest of two clients.
The Court agreed with the disciplinary board’s findings that [his] conduct violated, among others, the state attorney discipline rules that prohibit failure to carry out a contract for professional employment; causing harm or damage to a client in the course of a professional relationship; failure to promptly pay or return funds that a client is entitled to receive; and engaging in conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty or misrepresentation. The Court also found that [he] violated the state bar governance rule that requires attorneys to cooperate with all disciplinary investigations.
The Court’s per curiam opinion was joined by Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Maureen O’Connor, Terrence O’Donnell, Judith Ann Lanzinger and Robert R. Cupp. Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer dissented, stating that because Larson engaged in a pattern of serious misconduct that exposed his clients to possible arrest, loss of driving privileges and fines, he would impose a two-year license suspension with no time stayed.
One matter involved a client who retained the attorney to assist her with a traffic citation. The attorney failed to address the matter and the client had her license suspended. The attorney's advice: "Drive safely."
The opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)