Lawyer who has been sued for misconduct has to repay fees, according to the Ohio Supreme Court.
The Ohio Supreme Court suspended Mansfield, Ohio attorney Byron Corley in a statement on June 16 after "actively avoiding" paying a $ 25,000 misconduct resolution, on condition that that he "commits no further wrongdoing".
The applicant for wrongdoing was Rebecca Turner, who hired Corley in 2010 to represent her in an assault lawsuit against a hospital. "Corley neglected Turner's case, did not adequately communicate with her, and did not write to tell her that he had no misconduct insurance," the court said, adding, "A court threw Turner's case against the hospital."
Corley testified that he had been convicted that his client's cases were unfounded and asked her to voluntarily refuse her, which she refused. Turner replied that there had never been such a conversation. She also submitted allegations that she "had difficulty communicating with Corley," and said, "He rarely returned calls, answered requests to discuss the case, and failed to send her copies of the hospital's discovery requests." Turner said she learned "from the court, not from Corley" that her case had been dismissed.
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash
After Turner's hospital suit was dismissed, Turner sued Corley for misconduct. When Corley didn't respond, Turner was given a default judgment. At a hearing for damages held in August 2016, the court found Corley had breached the settlement and asked him to pay $ 25,564 plus court fees, interest, and $ 1,000 attorney fees. Corley agreed to monthly payments of $ 200 plus interest, but never executed the agreement and stopped paying after two months.
With the help of a new lawyer, Turner tried to garnish Corley's bank accounts and collect money from his rental income. This was $ 7,102, but the lawyer still owed $ 24,981 with interest and costs associated with the lawsuit.
The Ohio Supreme Court said it agreed "with the Court's Board of Professional Conduct," which stated that Corley "was actively avoiding its agreed responsibility to make its clients whole".
The state's Supreme Court also agreed that "Corley violates the ethics rules that lawyers must exercise reasonable care to adequately inform clients, obtain recognition of clients when there is no misconduct insurance, and conduct not adversely affect the suitability to exercise the right. "
The statement stated: "The complicating factors, the board noted that Corley had shown selfish motivation by thwarting debt collection efforts, committing multiple crimes, not taking responsibility for his actions or expressing remorse, harming a vulnerable customer, and so on hadn't done make refund. The board found only one mitigating factor – Corley's clean disciplinary record. "This allowed the lawyer to be suspended and to keep his license to practice.
The court concluded: “Byron Dexter Corley is hereby suspended from Ohio legal practice for two years. The past 18 months have been subject to the condition that he will refund Rebecca Turner $ 24,981.74 and no further commitments will result in misconduct. If Corley does not meet either of the two conditions, the stay will be canceled and he will serve the entire two-year ban. "
A lawyer who has "actively avoided" the wrongdoing is suspended
Mansfield's lawyer suspended for evasion of misconduct settlement payments
Mansfield's lawyer was suspended for two years to avoid paying the severance payment