Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sanction For Unauthorized Practice

From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of Ohio today imposed a $20,000 civil penalty against Kimberly A. Dalton of Cincinnati and Precision Land Title Agency for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, and issued an injunction ordering them to desist from all future actions that constitute unauthorized law practice.

The Court adopted findings by the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law that: 1) Dalton, who is not an attorney, and Precision Title prepared and filed two real estate general warranty deeds despite the fact that those actions constitute the practice of law; 2) the signature of attorney David B. Bennett, a former owner of the agency, was forged on one of the deeds; and 3) both deeds falsely indicated that they had been prepared by Bennett.

In a 7-0 per curiam opinion, the Court also ordered Dalton and Precision Title to disclose to the Ohio State Bar Association and the unauthorized practice board the names and addresses of any other agency clients whose deeds were prepared by a non-attorney, and to notify all such clients and all lenders and title insurance companies involved in their transactions that the deeds recording those transactions were prepared by a person not qualified to practice law.

The Court noted that, although Dalton dissolved Precision Title and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection while the board was investigating the complaint against her, federal bankruptcy statutes do not stay a legal action to enforce the Court’s regulatory powers, and will not discharge an individual from a debt for the type of governmental fine, penalty or forfeiture assessed by the Court in today’s decision.

The court opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)


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