Friday, September 7, 2012
The Ohio Supreme Court has imposed a six-month suspension of an attorney who became romantically involved with a client in a domestic relations matter. However, the court stayed the suspension on good behavior.
Over the course of two dinners, the attorney persuaded the client to be intimate with him and "assured" her that the relationship created no conflict of interest. She testified that she was overwhelmed by his overtures and was afraid to resist for fear of losing legal representation.
The attorney employed the client as a bookkeeper, leased her a car and made various payments on her behalf. They took a number of vacations together.
After they moved in together, there was an incident that led the attorney to call 9-1-1 and report the client for alleged domestic violence. The attorney then "fired" the client, who was left in the lurch in ongoing proceedings and subject to a civil protection order.
Although he abandoned her case, he continued to make "overtures" to her, notwithstanding the CPO.
Note Rick Underwood's question with respect to the non-suspensory sanction imposed here. (Mike Frisch)