Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Fund for Client Protection Reimburses $189,000 to the Victims of One Attorney

The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection voted to reimburse five former clients of Cuyahoga  County attorney Paul M. Kaufman $189,000 as a result of the his failure to disburse settlement proceeds received on behalf of his clients.

Kaufman of Shaker Heights resigned from the practice of law in April 2015 with discipline pending including charges that he received more than $215,000 from Merck & Company in 2009 as part of the class action settlement of the pain killer Vioxx. He reportedly never told his clients about the payment. When asked by a client in 2013, Kaufman allegedly told him he would be sending the money in two payments and never followed through.

Kaufman is one of 16 former or suspended Ohio attorneys whose clients were reimbursed by the board when it met June 5 in Cleveland. A total $422,220 was paid to 35 victims of attorney theft  as well as the clients of four deceased attorneys.

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

Including Kaufman’s five clients, 13 of the 35 clients awarded funds this quarter were represented by attorneys from Cuyahoga County. Here are the awards determined by the board.

  • A former client of former 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 law in Ohio in March 2013.
  • A former client of suspended attorney Edward G. Kramer was reimbursed $3,120 as a result of Kramer’s failure to account for funds deposited with him by his client. Kramer’s license to practice law was suspended in December 2013, following his felony conviction.
  • A former client of former attorney Joseph A. Mamone was reimbursed $18,000 as a result of Mamone’s failure to pay funds due his client. Mamone resigned from the practice of law with discipline pending in April 2014.
  • Three former clients of former attorney James W. Westfall Jr. were reimbursed a total of $2,604 as a result of Westfall’s failure to provide the services requested. Westfall resigned from the practice of law with discipline pending in August 2013.
  • A former client of attorney R. Paul Cushion II was reimbursed $7,500 as a result of Cushion’s failure to complete the services requested. Cushion was placed on probation from 2009 to 2012.
  • A former client of deceased attorney Douglas C. Blackburn was reimbursed $1,625 as a result of Blackburn’s failure to complete the services requested before his death on October 2013.

Erie County
Three former clients of deceased attorney John F. Kirwan were reimbursed a total of $2,132 as a result of Kirwan’s failure to complete the services requested before his death on Sept. 17, 2013.

Franklin County
A former client of suspended attorney Mohammed Noure Alo was reimbursed $1,520 as a result of Alo’s failure to complete the services requested. Alo’s license to practice law was suspended in January 2015.

A former client of suspended attorney David K. Householder was reimbursed $600 as a result of Householder’s failure to provide the services requested. Householder’s license to practice law was suspended indefinitely in November 2014.

A former client of disbarred attorney Jeffrey L. Terbeek was reimbursed $15,000 as a result of Terbeek’s failure to return client funds. Terbeek was disbarred in May 2013, and he died in May 2014.

Hamilton County
Five former clients of former attorney Harold K. Garrison were reimbursed a total of $15,606 as a result of Garrison’s failure to provide the services requested. Garrison resigned from the practice of law with discipline pending in March 2014.

Three former clients of deceased attorney James V. Magee Jr. were reimbursed a total of $153,474 as a result of Magee’s failure to account for funds deposited with him by his clients before his death. Magee died in January 2013.

A former client of former attorney Vlad Sigalov was reimbursed $3,755 as a result of Sigalov’s failure to provide the services requested. Sigalov was permanently disbarred in August, 2012.

Montgomery County
A former client of former attorney Lawrence J. White was reimbursed $650 as a result of White’s failure to provide the services requested. White resigned from the practice of law with discipline pending in March 2013.

Stark County
A former client of suspended attorney Celeste M. DeHoff was reimbursed $375 as a result of DeHoff’s failure to provide the services requested. DeHoff’s license to practice law was suspended in March 2015.

Summit County
Two former clients of disbarred attorney Peter F. Fletcher were reimbursed a total of $2,162 paid to Fletcher for services that he failed to provide. Fletcher was permanently disbarred in April 2013.

A former client of former attorney Thomas F. Bean was reimbursed $1,000 paid to Bean for services that he failed to provide. Bean resigned from the practice of law with discipline pending in March 2012.

Trumbull County
A former client of former attorney Richard J. LaCivita was reimbursed $128 as a result of LaCivita’s failure to provide the services requested. LaCivita resigned from the practice of law with discipline pending in November 2012.

A former client of former attorney Kenneth N. Shaw was reimbursed $1,500 as a result of Shaw’s failure to provide the services requested. Shaw was permanently disbarred in March 2014.

The Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, formerly known as the Clients’ Security Fund, was created in 1985 by the Supreme Court of Ohio to reimburse victims of attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation.  The fund is not taxpayer funded, but is funded by registration fees paid by every Ohio attorney. Ohio has more than 44,000 attorneys engaged in the active practice of law, and less than 1 percent of those attorneys have been involved in claims reimbursed by the Fund.

Clients who believe they have sustained financial losses resulting from attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation 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.

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