Friday, December 27, 2013
Kathleen Maloney has a summary of a recent decision of the Ohio Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today that a Texas company with offices in Ohio engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in this state when it prepared and filed a tax appeal and appeared before the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals.
In a unanimous decision, the court adopted a consent decree recommended by the state’s Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law and proposed by both sides in the case. The decree is an agreement between the Texas tax advisory and consulting firm, Ryan, L.L.C., and the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA), which filed the charges.
In the decree, Ryan, L.L.C., and its employee, Brett Koch, admit that they were practicing law in Ohio without the appropriate legal authorization when they prepared and filed a tax appeal for their client, Owens Corning, and appeared on their client’s behalf before the Ohio tax board.
The decree states that the company and Koch did not understand that their actions constituted providing legal services under Ohio law, that they have ceased giving their client any services that would be considered legal representation, and that they have fully cooperated with the OSBA’s investigation. The OSBA recommended no civil penalties against the company.
Ryan, L.L.C., and Koch are prohibited by the decree from representing Ohio clients in forums requiring a lawyer and from preparing legal documents or rendering legal advice about legal documents in the state.
The opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)