Friday, December 8, 2023

Don't Come To The Cabaret

The Ohio Board on Professional Conduct has recommended a stipulated public reprimand of an attorney for his interaction with a mother ("B.F.") after he was appointed as guardian ad litem for her four children.

From the consent

In January or February 2020, respondent was returning to his office in Brunswick, Ohio from an unrelated matter. While driving, respondent noticed B.F.’s vehicle parked outside Christie’s Cabaret, an adult entertainment club located several blocks from respondent’s office. (Ex. 10.)

B.F. worked at Christie’s Cabaret as an exotic dancer. (Ex. 10.)

Respondent entered the establishment and located B.F. (Ex. 10.)

After B.F. sat down at respondent’s table, respondent bought B.F. a beer despite believing that she had substance abuse issues. (Ex. 10.)

B.F. did not consume the beer; however, if called to testify, B.F. would state that she suspected respondent was trying to get her to consume the beer.

Respondent then proceeded to discuss the custody case with B.F. for approximately one hour. During the discussion, B.F. was minimally dressed as she had just left the dance stage; however, respondent did not ask B.F. if she wanted to change or meet at a different time. (Ex. 10.)

Respondent also gave $40 to B.F. during their conversation. (Ex 10.)

B.F. was uncomfortable during this meeting and believed it was inappropriate.

In or about May 2020, respondent went to the residence of B.F.’s boyfriend in Strongsville, Ohio, with whom B.F. was living, for a scheduled home visit. At this time, respondent still believed B.F. had drug issues. (Ex. 10.)

During this visit, respondent told B.F. that she had two choices for how the case would proceed and then handed her a typed simulated GAL report containing “Option 1” and “Option 2.” The top of the page said, “Draft Conclusion and Recommendation: Your choice.” (Ex. 10; Ex. 12.)


By visiting B.F. while she was working as an exotic dancer, purchasing a beer for her, providing her with cash, and presenting her with two “options” containing unsupported allegations that required her to admit to using illegal substances for respondent to consider recommending the return of her children, respondent violated Sup.R. 48.03(A)(2) and (A)(3)...

Respondent’s decision to 1) conduct an unscheduled visit with B.F. at an adult entertainment club, 2) purchase a beer for B.F. despite believing that she had substance abuse problems, 3) give B.F. cash, and 4) present B.F. with two “options” containing unsupported allegations that required her to admit using illegal substances before respondent would recommend the return of her children, run far afield of the role and responsibilities of a GAL as outlined in Sup.R. 48.03. As an attorney GAL, respondent was charged with following the Rules of Superintendence, and as such, his actions adversely reflect on his fitness to practice law in violation of Prof.Cond.R. 8.4(h). Respondent’s actions were also prejudicial to the administration of justice in that they were the subject of two court motions – Elias’s July 16, 2020 oral motion and Bray’s March 9, 2022 Motion to Disqualify Guardian Ad Litem – that required court time and consideration, and which ultimately resulted in respondent’s removal as GAL. In addition, respondent’s actions had the potential of inducing B.F. into admitting conduct that she had previously denied simply to regain custody of her children.

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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