Dayton Lawyer’s License Suspended
Dayton lawyer John J. Scaccia will be prohibited from practicing law for at least six months after the Ohio Supreme Court took action on incompetency complaints against him.
In today’s 7-0 decision authored by Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, the court suspended Scaccia from the practice of law for one year – with six months of the suspension stayed on several conditions requiring him to:
- Complete 12 hours of continuing legal education addressing law-office management
- Serve a year of monitored probation when reinstated
- Commit no further misconduct
If Scaccia fails to comply with any of the conditions, the stay will be lifted and he will serve the full one-year suspension.
Scaccia was legal counsel for former employees of the Mound Laboratory in a wrongful termination lawsuit. The clients paid retainer fees totaling $22,000 that were deposited into a trust account, as required by the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Scaccia was warned several times by the trial court about his mismanagement of the case, and his clients’ complaint was dismissed after he missed a filing deadline. As quoted by Justice Kennedy, the trial court wrote in its August 3, 2005, decision, “Plaintiffs’ conduct created a ‘tortured process’ that is ‘offensive to the dignity and power of this Court and its rules of procedure.’ The Court warned Plaintiffs at least six times in the Order that ‘future occurrences’ would ‘not be tolerated.’”
Disciplinary complaints filed in 2011 and 2013 by the Dayton Bar Association charged Scaccia with failing to represent the Mound clients and two other clients in a competent manner, failing to maintain complete records of client funds, and failing to maintain a client trust account. At a hearing before a Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline panel, Scaccia admitted that he could not produce records to show how he had spent most of the Mound clients’ retainer fees. He also admitted failing to deposit fees from the two other clients into a trust account.
The board recommended to the Supreme Court that Scaccia be suspended for a year with six months stayed. The court went a step further to require Scaccia to make full restitution to his Mound clients before his license can be reinstated.
“Given his duty not only to hold these fees in trust for his clients but also to maintain complete records of all client funds held in his possession and his corresponding failure to do so, we find that restitution is warranted,” Justice Kennedy wrote.
Within 90 days of the date of the order, Scaccia must provide a complete list of all of the Mound clients, a complete accounting of the payments he received from each of the clients, and the amount, if any, that he has previously refunded.
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