Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Persistent Divorce Client Neglected; Attorney Suspended

The web page of the Ohio Supreme Court reports:

The Supreme Court of Ohio has suspended the law license of Norwalk  attorney George C. Ford for two years, with the final six months of that term  stayed, for neglecting the cases of two clients, charging one client an illegal  or clearly excessive fee, and failing to cooperate with disciplinary authorities  investigating his misconduct.

In a 7-0 per curiam decision, the court adopted findings by  the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that in one case,  despite more than 50 calls and inquiries from his client in a divorce case over  a three-year period, Ford failed to complete and transmit to the court a  qualified domestic relations order necessary to implement the property  settlement included in the client’s divorce decree. 

In a second case, the court agreed with the board’s finding  that Ford violated multiple disciplinary rules when he accepted a $3,500 fee  from an incarcerated client to pursue  an  order vacating or setting aside the client’s sentence, but neglected the case  until the deadline for filing such a motion had expired, and then failed to  file an amended version of a pro se motion the client had prepared on his own  until an extended deadline granted by the court had also expired.

In setting the sanction for Ford’s misconduct,  the court noted that despite being served with copies of the client grievances  against him, Ford failed to provide complete responses to disciplinary  counsel’s requests for information, failed to appear for a scheduled  deposition, and did not file an answer to the formal complaint filed against  him with the disciplinary board or otherwise participate in the board’s  proceedings.

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2011-2042Disciplinary Counsel v. Ford, Slip Opinion  No. 2012-Ohio-3915.
On Certified Report by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and  Discipline, No. 11-061.  George Cook Ford  III, Attorney Registration No. 0011982, is suspended from the practice of law  in Ohio for two years, with six months stayed on conditions.
O’Connor, C.J., and Pfeifer, Lundberg Stratton,  O’Donnell, Lanzinger, Cupp, and McGee Brown, JJ., concur.

(Mike Frisch)

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