Ohio Law

News and Announcements from the Supreme Court of Ohio and Other Governmental Entities Within the Buckeye State.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Ohio's Client Security Fund Awards Damages

The following was released:

VICTIMS OF ATTORNEY THEFT AWARDED OVER $88,000

BY CLIENTS’ SECURITY FUND

Lawyers' Fund Has Awarded Over $10 Million to Consumers Since Inception

COLUMBUS, OHIO (September 9, 2005) -- The Board of Commissioners of the Clients' Security Fund of Ohio (CSF) met on Friday, September 9, 2005 and awarded $88,203.99 to 30 victims of attorney theft. Ten former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds.

The CSF Board of Commissioners reimbursed $1,300 to two former clients of former Brown County attorney Edward L. Harp after finding that he accepted fees but failed to provide the services requested. Mr. Harp was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on March 11, 2004. On September 2, 2004, Mr. Harp surrendered his license to practice law in Ohio, with discipline pending.

A former client of Cuyahoga County attorney Willie L. Griffin was reimbursed $5,722.00 by the Clients' Security Fund of Ohio as a result of Mr. Griffin’s failure to account for expenditures of client funds. Mr. Griffin was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on November 15, 2000. A former client of attorney Michael Troy Watson, also of Cuyahoga County, was reimbursed$1,100.00 for services that Mr. Watson failed to provide. Mr. Watson was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on December 26, 2002.

Two former clients of suspended Franklin County attorney Perry R. Silverman were reimbursed $14,333.33 as a result of Mr. Silverman’s failure to release or otherwise account for client funds. Mr. Silverman was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio by the Supreme Court of Ohio on May 10, 2004.

Former clients of two other Franklin County attorneys were awarded reimbursement by the CSF Board of Commissioners. Two former clients of suspended attorney Mary Ann Torian were reimbursed a total of $13,000.00 as a result of Ms. Torian’s failure to provide the services requested. Ms. Torian was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on July 13, 2005. A former client of suspended attorney Randall C. Treneff was reimbursed $750.00 in fees paid for services that Mr. Treneff failed to provide. Mr. Treneff was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on December 15, 2004.

Three clients of former Lucas County attorney Kathleen Striggow were awarded a total of $11,775.34 in reimbursement for fees paid for services that were not provided. Ms. Striggow resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on July 1, 2004. In September, 2004 Ms. Striggow pled guilty to theft.

Sixteen clients of former Mahoning County attorney Mark S. Colucci were reimbursed a total of $28,950.00 as a result of Mr. Colucci’s failure to provide the services requested and his failure to account for client funds. Mr. Colucci resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on December 2, 2004.

A former client of Preble County attorney Herd L. Bennett was reimbursed $10,478.32 lost as a result of Mr. Bennett’s failure to repay funds loaned to him by his client. Mr. Bennett committed suicide on April 9, 2002.

A former client of Richland County attorney Barry F. Brickley was reimbursed $795.00 as a result of Mr. Brickley’s failure to provide the services requested. Mr. Brickley’s license to practice law was indefinitely suspended by the Supreme Court of Ohio on December 4, 2002.

The CSF was created in 1985 by the Ohio Supreme Court to reimburse victims of attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation. The CSF is not taxpayer funded, but funded entirely by registration fees paid by every Ohio attorney. Ohio has over 37,000 attorneys engaged in the active practice of law. Less than one tenth of one percent (1%) of those attorneys is involved in CSF claims.

Law clients who believe they have sustained financial losses resulting from attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation should contact the CSF by calling 614-387-9390 or 1-800-231-1680 toll free in Ohio.

Later


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