Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Clients’ Security Fund Reimburses 32 Victims of One Attorney More Than $37,000

The Board of Commissioners of the Clients’ Security Fund of Ohio voted to reimburse 32 former clients of former Cuyahoga County attorney James W. Westfall Jr. a total of $37,184 at its quarterly meeting on Friday.

In total, 45 victims of attorney theft were awarded $57,611.33. The reimbursements involve eight former or suspended Ohio attorneys who were found to have misappropriated client funds. One deceased attorney was also involved in the claims presented to the board this quarter.

Created in 1985 by the Ohio Supreme Court to reimburse victims of attorney theft, embezzlement, or misappropriation, the fund is supported entirely by attorney registration fees. Ohio has nearly 44,000 attorneys engaged in the active practice of law. Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of those attorneys is involved in CSF claims.

Clients who believe they have sustained financial losses resulting from attorney misconduct should contact the fund at 614.387.9390 or toll-free in Ohio at 1.800.231.1680.

To access more information about the disciplinary cases against some of these attorneys visit the Supreme Court’s online docket.

The reimbursement involving Westfall occurred as a result of Westfall’s failure to provide the services requested. He resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on August 30.

Here are the other awards determined by the board.

  • Six former clients of deceased Greene County attorney Adrienne D. Brooks were reimbursed a total of $6,525 as a result of Brooks’ failure to complete the services requested before her death on March 12, 2013.
  • A former client of former Allen County attorney Andrew J. Van Horn was reimbursed $3,000 as a result of Van Horn’s failure to provide the services requested. Van Horn resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on March 17.
  • A former client (a husband and wife) of former Hamilton County attorney Geoffrey P. Damon was reimbursed $3,000 as a result of Damon’s failure to provide the services requested. Damon was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on May 21, 2013, following his felony conviction.
  • A former client (a husband and wife) of former Lawrence County attorney Marty J. Stillpass was reimbursed $2,850 as a result of Stillpass’ failure to provide the services requested. Stillpass resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on June 13, 2012.
  • A former client (a husband and wife) of former Cuyahoga County attorney Kenneth J. Freeman was reimbursed $2,500 as a result of Freeman’s failure to provide the services requested. Freeman was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on March 6, 2013.
  • A former client of former Medina County attorney Maureen F. Gechter was reimbursed $1,050 as a result of Gechter’s failure to provide the services requested. Gechter was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on April 18, 2013.
  • A former client of suspended attorney April M. Bogdanski was reimbursed $795 as a result of Bogdanski’s failure to provide the services requested. Bogdanski’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on November 15.
  • A former client of suspended Cuyahoga County attorney Charles W. Fonda was reimbursed $707.33 as a result of Fonda’s failure to complete the services requested. Fonda’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended for one year, with the suspension stayed, on March 12, 2014.
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