Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Fund for Client Protection Reimburses Another Victim of Pain Killer Settlement Attorney

The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection voted to reimburse $44,000 to a former client of Cuyahoga County attorney Paul M. Kaufman. The payment came three months after five other of Kaufman’s clients were compensated for his failure to disburse settlements from a pain killer class action lawsuit.

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. In June, the fund paid $189,000 to five of his former clients.

Kaufman’s client received the largest share of the $124,000 the board reimbursed the clients of 11 former or suspended Ohio attorneys who were found to have misappropriated client funds at its September meeting. Reimbursements were also made to the former clients of four deceased attorneys.

Including Kaufman’s client, 12 of the 36 clients awarded funds this quarter were represented by attorneys from Cuyahoga County. Here are the awards determined by the board:

Three former clients of disbarred attorney Shawn J. Brown were reimbursed $2,050 for Brown’s failure to provide the services requested. Brown was permanently disbarred from the practice law in June.

A former client of deceased attorney James T. Schumacher was reimbursed $1,520 as a result of Schumacher’s failure to complete the services requested before to his death in October 2013.

Seven former clients of former attorney James W. Westfall Jr. were reimbursed a total of $7,986 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.

Awards to clients in other counties include:

Franklin County

A former client of retired attorney Victor S. Krupman was reimbursed $22,543.33 as a result of Krupman’s failure to account for client funds deposited with him. Krupman permanently retired from the practice law in January 2008.

A former client of retired attorney Bernard G. Lancione was reimbursed $1,000 as a result of Lancione’s failure to provide the services requested. Lancione permanently retired from the practice of law in November 2013.

A former client of attorney Corinne N. Ryan was reimbursed $1,000 as a result of Ryan’s failure to complete the services requested. Ryan received a public reprimand from the Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio in June.

A former client of deceased attorney Robert W. Suhr was reimbursed $1,000 as a result of Suhr’s failure to complete the services requested before his death in September 2013.

Hamilton County

Three former clients of former attorney Harold K. Garrison were reimbursed a total of $24,344 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.

A former client of deceased attorney James V. Magee, Jr. was reimbursed $1,125 as a result of Magee’s failure to refund the balance due to his client. Magee died in January 2013.

Allen County

Two former clients of former attorney Andrew J. Van Horn were reimbursed a total of $1,850 as a result of Van Horn’s failure to provide the services requested. Van Horn resigned from the practice of law, with discipline pending, in March 2014.

Marion County

Three former clients of suspended attorney Susan M. Bruder were reimbursed a total of $2,567.50 as a result of Bruder’s failure to provide the services requested. Bruder’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely in November 2014.

Montgomery County

A former client of deceased attorney James R. Greene, III was reimbursed $1,500 as a result of Greene’s failure to provide the services requested before his death in May 2014. 

Morrow County

The Board reimbursed nine former clients of former attorney William M. Adams a total of $11,158 as a result of Mr. Adams’ failure to provide the services requested. Adams resigned from the practice of law, with discipline pending, in April 2014.

Preble County

A former client of suspended attorney James W. Thomas, Jr. was reimbursed $1,000 paid to Thomas for services that he failed to provide. Thomas’ license to practice of law in Ohio was suspended in July 2014 following his felony conviction.

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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