February 24, 2010
Conversion And Deceit Result In Suspension Stayed In Part
The web page of the Ohio Supreme Court reports:
The Supreme Court of Ohio today suspended the law license of [a] Cleveland attorney...for two years, with the second year of that term stayed on conditions, for settling a personal injury lawsuit without the knowledge or permission of her clients, forging the clients’ signatures on the settlement checks and converting the proceeds of $3,800 to her own use.
In a 7-0 per curiam opinion, the Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that [the attorney's] actions violated, among others, the state attorney discipline rules that prohibit conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty or misrepresentation; conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and conduct that reflects adversely on an attorney’s fitness to practice.
As conditions for staying the second year of her license suspension, the Court ordered that [the attorney] must complete a course of treatment for stress management; complete 12 hours of continuing education training in law office, caseload and time management; complete one year of monitored probation and repay her clients $1,300 she charged them in fees.
The attorney settled an accident claim without client consent, forged signatures and converted the proceeds. The attorney later advised the clients that suit had been filed and was pending. The clients thereafter retained counsel who discovered the true circumstances. The court noted that its board had found mitigation in the attorney's circumstances at the time of the misconduct.
The opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)
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