March 18, 2010
The Ohio Supreme Court web page reports:
The Supreme Court of Ohio today imposed an indefinite suspension against the law license of [a] Columbus attorney...for multiple acts of misconduct in his dealings with a client he represented in a personal injury case.
The Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that after obtaining a $95,000 settlement from the party responsible for his client’s injuries, [the attorney] billed the client for more than $8,100 in fictitious “deposition fees” in addition to the 33 percent contingent fee he had agreed to accept, and also converted to his own use $30,000 he withheld from the client’s proceeds to satisfy a subrogation agreement between the client and the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. [The attorney] never forwarded the $30,000 to the workers’ compensation bureau, and after the client challenged the “deposition fees” included in his bill, [he] submitted a revised distribution sheet in which he eliminated that charge but substituted an $1,800 refund to the client and retained an additional $6,333 in legal fees, which he later alleged to be payment for his services in negotiating the workers’ compensation subrogation agreement.
In today’s 7-0 per curiam decision, the Court agreed with the disciplinary board’s conclusions that [the attorney's] actions violated, among others, the state disciplinary rules that require attorneys to keep client funds in a dedicated trust account and maintain accurate records of funds held for clients and that prohibit intentionally causing prejudice or damage to a client; engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; and engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on an attorney’s fitness to practice law.
The court's opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)
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