Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Victims of Lawyer Theft Awarded $94,500

The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection is awarding $94,510 to nine Ohio victims of lawyer theft.

Six former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found by the board to have misappropriated client funds. One claim involved a deceased attorney.

The fund is supported by registration fees paid by each of the state’s 45,000 attorneys engaged in active practice. Less than 1% of active lawyers are involved in claims reimbursed by the fund. No taxpayer funds are used to support the Lawyers Fund for Client Protection.

Law clients who believe they have sustained financial losses resulting from attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation can contact the fund at 614.387.9390, toll-free at 800.231.1680, or through the fund’s website at sc.ohio.gov/boards/clientprotection.

The following is a synopsis of claims and awards:

Franklin County
A former client of suspended attorney Austin R. Buttars was reimbursed $66,174.30 as a result of Buttars’ theft of funds belonging to his client. Buttars was suspended indefinitely from the practice of law in Ohio in April 2020.

Hamilton County
Two former clients of deceased attorney Mary J. Brewster Hugan were reimbursed a total of $9,500 as a result of her failure to complete the services requested. Brewster Hugan passed away in November 2019.

Lucas County
A former client of attorney Mark D. Berling was reimbursed $4,475 as a result of Berling’s failure to provide the services requested. Berling resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, in October 2020.

Mahoning County
A former client of attorney Albert A. Palombaro was reimbursed $8,385 as a result of Palombaro’s failure to provide the services requested. Palombaro resigned from the practice of law, with disciplinary action pending, in December 2020.

Stark County
Two former clients of attorney Joan P. Selby were reimbursed a total of $3,550 as a result of Selby’s failure to provide the services requested. Selby resigned from the practice of law, with disciplinary action pending, in March 2020.

Trumbull County
A former client of suspended attorney John P. Lutseck was reimbursed $1,076 as a result of Lutseck’s failure to provide the services requested. Lutseck was suspended indefinitely from the practice of law in Ohio in October 2020.

Warren County
A former client of suspended attorney Gabriel P. Moorman was reimbursed $1,350 as a result of Moorman’s failure to provide the services requested. Moorman was suspended indefinitely from the practice of law in Ohio in December 2020.

The Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, formerly known as the Clients’ Security Fund, was created in 1985 by the Ohio Supreme Court to reimburse victims of attorney theft, embezzlement, or misappropriation.