Saturday, March 04, 2017

Ohio Supremes Hit Lawyer w/ Interim License Suspension Pending Further Proceedings For Failing To Respond To Bar Inquiries Regarding Clients' Accusations Of Misappropriated Funds

In Columbus, Ohio, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports:
  • An Independence-based lawyer was suspended from practicing law by the Supreme Court of Ohio Friday [February 10] after failing to respond to accusations made by clients that he failed to pay portions of their settlements or otherwise misappropriated funds.

    Daniel Alan Niehaus, who has been licensed to practice law in Ohio since 2005, received several complaints against him from clients he represented in 2014 and 2015, according to the records from the Supreme Court of Ohio.

    A client he represented in a divorce proceeding claimed he gave Niehaus $1,800 to hold in trust and that lawyer never distributed the funds where they were supposed to go and never refunded his money. This client also claims he paid Niehaus $1,000 to file a motion regarding custody, but the motion was never filed.

    The Ohio Supreme Court also claims that there were six more clients who weren't paid their portions of funds awarded in settlements. The court was able to view the balances of Niehaus' trust account and saw that he had written checks from that account in the name of his wife and checks to himself they believe were inappropriate.

    The court states Niehaus failed to respond to a number of phone calls, letters and emails concerning the complaints.

    On Aug. 24, a subpoena was hand-delivered to his home ordering him to appear before the Cincinnati Bar Association for a deposition. The court said the paperwork was left with a family member who said Niehaus was not home.

    Niehaus did not go to the Sept. 22 deposition, an apparent violation of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct.

    On Friday, the court issued an order forbidding Niehaus from offering legal advice and appearing before a judge on behalf of others. He also must respond to the court, complete continuing legal education and refund any misappropriated funds.

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