Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Lorain Attorney Indefinitely Suspended for Neglecting Several Clients

The Ohio Supreme Court today indefinitely suspended a Lorain County attorney for repeatedly neglecting client matters and failing to cooperate with disciplinary proceedings.

In a unanimous per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court suspended Jeffrey H. Weir II. This current suspension follows a recent suspension of Weir imposed by the Court while the Lorain County Bar Association continued to receive grievances from his former clients.

The opinion noted that Weir entered into a contract with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program (OLAP) to address mental health issues, and his reinstatement to the practice of law is contingent on him complying with his OLAP contract.

Multiple Clients Complain about  
The bar association began a disciplinary investigation of Weir in 2017 when a client complained that Weir lost her settlement check. (See Lorain Attorney Suspended for Losing Client’s Settlement Check.) As that matter was pending, the bar association submitted charges against Weir to the Board of Professional Conduct in December 2018 based on three other client matters. Weir failed to answer that complaint and, in March 2019, the Supreme Court imposed an interim default suspension.

While Weir was under the interim suspension, the Court in June 2019 suspended him for one year, with six months stayed, based on the grievance regarding the settlement check and other client misconduct. In the midst of that time out, the bar association amended its complaint to the board about Weir in August 2019. Today’s decision is based on professional misconduct in four client matters that stem from the December 2018 complaint, as amended in August 2019.

Attorney Fails to Handle Estate Matter
The opinion notes that his handling of Sunseraray Gilmore’s matter is representative of the misconduct Weir committed in the four matters.

In late 2017, Gilmore paid Weir $500 to file documents for her grandmother’s estate and to prepare an agreement to transfer her grandmother’s home to her cousin. From February through June 2018, Gilmore sent Weir multiple emails requesting updates, but he failed to reply.

By June 2018, Weir had failed to take any action on the transfer of the house. Gilmore abandoned that idea and focused on probating her grandmother’s will. Weir communicated with Gilmore in July 2018 about her grandmother’s property, but did not respond to follow-up communications.

It was not until February 2019 that Weir emailed Gilmore with questions about the estate, and she responded 30 minutes later. At that point Weir had sufficient information to file the estate, but took no action. In May 2019, Gilmore warned Weir that unless he filed the estate in 30 days or returned her documents and her $500 payment, she would file a grievance against him. A day after her deadline, Weir advised Gilmore that his license was suspended and he could no longer represent her. He offered to refund half her fee to resolve the matter.

Gilmore then discovered that while Weir informed her in June of his suspension, he had been under suspension since March and never told her. She again requested her file, but Weir told her he could not locate the documents, including her grandmother’s original will.

Because Weir did not probate the will or refund any of her fee, Gilmore filed her grievance with the bar association. Weir failed to submit a formal response to the bar association about the complaint.

Attorney Engaged in Pattern of Misconduct
The board found Weir violated several rules governing the conduct of Ohio attorneys while representing Gilmore, including failing to keep her reasonably informed about the status of her matter, not delivering client papers and property when terminating representation, and failing to cooperate with a disciplinary investigation. The board also concluded Weir owes $250 in restitution to either Gilmore or her cousin.

The opinion noted similar rule infractions occurred while representing the three other clients who filed grievances with the bar association.

The Court indefinitely suspended Weir and ordered that, in order to be reinstated, he must prove he is complying with his OLAP contract; following any treatment or counseling recommendations made by a qualified healthcare professional; and submit an opinion from a qualified healthcare professional that he is capable to returning to the competent, ethical, and professional practice of law. He also must pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings.

2019-0150. Lorain Cty. Bar Assn. v. Weir, Slip Opinion No. 2020-Ohio-3324.

Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion, but only for noteworthy cases. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of court opinions. The full text of this and other court opinions are available online.

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