Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Pittsburgh Attorney Suspended after Misleading Disciplinary Investigators

The Ohio Supreme Court today suspended a Pittsburgh attorney licensed to practice law in Ohio who admitted to falsifying evidence in connection with a complaint lodged by a former client.

In a unanimous per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court suspended Samir G. Hadeed for one year with six months stayed on condition that he refund his former client $4,750 and not commit any further professional misconduct.

Lawyer Accepts Fee for Criminal Matter
Hadeed agreed to represent Shaundale Brown in a criminal matter in Lorain County in 2015 for a $15,000 flat fee. Brown paid $9,500 of it. Hadeed did not advise Brown that if he did not complete the representation, Brown might be entitled to a refund of all or a portion of the fee.

Hadeed later withdrew from the case and failed to refund any of Brown’s fee. Brown filed a grievance against Hadeed with the Lorain County Bar Association.

While the bar association was investigating the matter, Hadeed produced a copy of a purported engagement letter he provided to Brown. The letter complied with the attorney conduct rule requiring a lawyer accepting a flat fee to notify the client in writing that the client may be entitled to a refund if the lawyer does not complete the representation. Hadeed later admitted he fabricated the letter after being notified of the disciplinary investigation.

Letters of Support Garnered without Full Disclosure
As part of Hadeed’s response to the bar association’s investigation of the grievance, Hadeed submitted 28 “letters of support” from various individuals, including lawyers and judges. Hadeed told investigators the authors were aware of the circumstances that led to his disciplinary matter, but he later acknowledged that some of the authors were not aware of the grievance or the purpose for which he intended to use the letters.

In 2018, the bar association filed a complaint with the Board of Professional Conduct, charging Hadeed with violating several rules governing the conduct of lawyers practicing in Ohio. The parties stipulated to some of the misconduct, including that Hadeed knowingly made a false statement in connection with a disciplinary matter when he gave the bar association the fabricated letter.

The Court agreed with the board’s recommendation to suspend Hadeed for one year, with six months stayed, and directed him to refund half the fee Brown paid — $4,750 — within the next 60 days.

2019-0823. Lorain Cty. Bar Assn. v Hadeed, Slip Opinion No. 2019-Ohio-4537.

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