Euclid Attorney Suspended Indefinitely
The Supreme Court of Ohio has indefinitely suspended the law license of Euclid attorney Mark R. Pryatel for misuse of client funds and other professional misconduct involving two client matters.
In a 7-0 per curiam decision (not assigned to any individual justice) announced today, the court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that Pryatel violated multiple provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct when he deposited a $50,000 settlement check he had received on behalf of an incarcerated client into his personal bank account rather than a client trust account, deducted more than $29,000 in legal fees from the proceeds of the check, and failed to forward the remainder of the proceeds to the client despite his repeated requests to receive the money.
In a second case, a client retained Pryatel to obtain an order sealing the client’s criminal record. The client’s father gave him $2,025 from which Pryatel was to deduct his legal fee and use the remainder to settle an outstanding restitution order and satisfy unpaid court costs in the client’s case. Pryatel never filed a motion to seal the client’s record, did not settle the restitution order or pay the outstanding court costs, and did not respond either to the client’s repeated attempts to contact him or to attempts by the father to obtain a refund of the money he had entrusted to Pryatel.
After Pryatel failed to answer the complaint filed against him with the state disciplinary board or to otherwise cooperate with the board’s proceedings, the commissioners recommended that he be permanently disbarred. Pryatel filed a belated motion with the court seeking to remand his case for further proceedings, asserting that a previously undiagnosed psychological condition had interfered with his capacity to defend himself. The court remanded the case for the limited purpose of allowing the board to consider any mitigating effects of the newly offered psychological evidence.
In today’s decision the court noted that after evaluating the proffered evidence, the board amended its recommended sanction from disbarment to an indefinite suspension. The court adopted the board’s recommendation, and specified that any future reinstatement of Pryatel’s license will be conditioned on his submission of proof that he has complied with a recovery contract with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program (OLAP), completed psychiatric treatment, follow up care and reporting requirements imposed by OLAP and his psychiatrist, and submitted a statement from a qualified mental health professional that he is capable of returning to the competent, ethical and professional practice of law.
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2011-1727. Cleveland Metro. Bar Assn. v. Pryatel, Slip Opinion No. 2013-Ohio-1537.
On Certified Report by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, No. 11-023. Mark Robert Pryatel, Attorney Registration No. 0019678, is indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in the state of Ohio.
O’Connor, C.J., and Pfeifer, O’Donnell, Lanzinger, Kennedy, French, and O’Neill, JJ., concur.
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