Tuesday, April 7, 2020
The Ohio Supreme Court has ordered the State Bar Association to respond to a motion to quash a subpoena for documents.
From the motion to quash
The Respondent is of information and believes that Ohio Regulatory Agency has received only one single complaint from an inmate incarcerated in Federal prison in Fort Dix New Jersey for crimes committed in New York. Timberwolf is a native Colorado business that had foreign registration in the state of Ohio. The inmate's lawyer was based in Colorado and a complaint filed by the inmate was against this Colorado based lawyer. Timberwolf performed research, typing and office support under the direction of Mr. Snyder’s Colorado based attorney. Some of this work, in particular the typing and mailing, was performed by the Ohio office of Timberwolf, but all work performed by Timberwolf for Mr. Snyder was under the direct supervision of that Colorado based lawyer.
One concern is whether a worker in a law office must be in the same state as the lawyer handling a case. A question arises as to whether internet-based research, typing and mailing of documents prepared or approved by an out of state lawyer constitutes the practice of law in the state from which the documents were physically typed or mailed. If so, then a situation could arise where a legal secretary living in an apartment just across a bridge from the Philadelphia law firm where she was employed could be found to be engaged in the practice of law simply because she dropped off the mail at a post office on the New Jersey side of the river where she lived instead of at a post office on the side of the river where she was employed.
The Ohio Regulatory Agency has received no other complaints whatever from Respondent’s customer base. The State agency filed a far reaching Subpoena Duces Tecum issued to a third non-party (James Houk) seeking the identities of all Timberwolf customers nationwide going back years and also requiring the presence at deposition of non-party Houk. See Exhibit A Subpoena Duces Tecum.
Respondent by counsel filed a Motion to Quash (Exhibit B) and a Memorandum of Law (Exhibit C).