Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015

Erin K. Binner, Administrator of the Estate of Roxanne McClellan v. Christine M. Whetstone, Individually and as Parent and Natural Guardian and Next Friend of Olivia Castle, Minor, and Lea Castle, Minor, Case no. 2014-1462
Fifth District Court of Appeals (Fairfield County)

Sierra Lobo, Inc. v. Michael P. Onderko, Case nos. 2014-1881 and 2014-1962
Sixth District Court of Appeals (Erie County)

State of Ohio v. Robert Pittman, Case no. 2015-0077
Third District Court of Appeals (Marion County)

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association v. Mark R. Pryatel, Case no. 2015-1005
Cuyahoga County

May Punitive Damages Be Awarded Against Defendant Who Has Died?

Erin K. Binner, Administrator of the Estate of Roxanne McClellan v. Christine M. Whetstone, Individually and as Parent and Natural Guardian and Next Friend of Olivia Castle, Minor, and Lea Castle, Minor, Case no. 2014-1462
Fifth District Court of Appeals (Fairfield County)

ISSUE: May punitive damages be imposed against the estate of a deceased defendant who committed a tort?

Christine Whetstone’s aunt, Roxanne McClellan, was watching Whetstone’s two children, Olivia and Lea, on June 29, 2010. That night, McClellan smothered 5-year-old Olivia with her hand and tried to suffocate her with a pillow while Lea, age 2, was sleeping nearby. Whetstone entered the room, struggled with her aunt, and eventually stopped the attack. After leaving the house with the girls, Whetstone filed a police report in Lancaster and took Olivia to the hospital.

Mother Sues Aunt in Civil Action
In October 2010, Whetstone filed a lawsuit for herself and her children against McClellan in the Fairfield County Common Pleas Court. The civil suit alleged assault, battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. McClellan didn’t respond to the lawsuit, so the trial court entered a default judgment in favor of Whetstone on Nov. 18 and scheduled a hearing to decide the amount of damages on Jan. 6, 2011.

Before the hearing, McClellan filed a motion in late December 2010 claiming someone else had signed for a court mailing, and she didn’t know about the lawsuit until it was past a deadline for her to respond. She stated she had been diagnosed with cancer in October and was undergoing chemotherapy. The trial court delayed the January damages hearing, but declined her request to file a late response to the suit.

McClellan died on April 22, 2011. McClellan’s daughter, Erin Binner, was named the estate’s administrator, and the estate was substituted as the defendant in the case.

At the rescheduled damages hearing in July 2012, the trial court awarded $500, $1,000, and $50,000 in compensatory damages to Whetstone, Lea, and Olivia, respectively. But the trial court didn’t award punitive damages, concluding that type of damages can’t be imposed on the estate of a deceased tortfeasor, and the court also denied attorney fees.

Whetstone appealed to the Fifth District Court of Appeals, which reversed the trial court’s decision. Binner asked the Ohio Supreme Court to review the issue, and the Court accepted the appeal.

State Law
Ohio’s survivor statute, R.C. 2305.21, states, “In addition to the causes of action which survive at common law, causes of action for … injuries to the person or property … also shall survive; and such actions may be brought notwithstanding the death of the person entitled or liable thereto.”

Estate Contends Heirs Can’t Be Held Responsible
Attorneys for Binner and the estate explain that the right in common law to bring an action for injuries to a person ended when a defendant died. The current statute may allow lawsuits to be filed, but it doesn’t explicitly permit the recovery of damages or define the boundaries of the court’s possible judgment in a case, they argue.

Noting that punitive damages are designed to punish and deter certain conduct and that “[t]he dead can be neither punished nor deterred,” they contend only the actual wrongdoer, not the wrongdoer’s heirs or beneficiaries, can be punished.

“It is the reasoned judgment of the court or jury imposing the punishment and setting the example, not the act, that gives rise to a right to punitive damages,” they write in the brief to the Court. “Punishing the innocent is antithetical to the retributive purpose of punitive damages … and endorses an injustice.”

More than 30 other states bar punitive damages from being imposed against an estate, they add. They dispute the argument that allowing such punitive damages would deter other potential wrongdoers in the future. The possible deterrent effect on a very small group of people doesn’t outweigh the unfairness of punishing innocent parties, they maintain.

Mother Argues Punitive Damages Still Have Deterrent Effect
Attorneys for Whetstone focus their response on the idea of general deterrence, which aims to deter others in society from committing the same kinds of wrongs.

“Consider the deterrent impact on potential future tortfeasors when they are put on notice that if they commit a similar tort and die, then their estate will pay punitive damages,” they write in the brief to the Court. “Such a rule will send a forceful message to those who would attempt to engage in malicious and willful acts that their assets will not be insulated by the happenstance of death.”

Allowing punitive damages against an estate would “advance the purpose of demonstrating society's disapproval of such tortious acts in cases that warrant it,” they assert. And had the wrongdoer lived and been found responsible for punitive damages, the value of his or her estate would’ve been reduced by the money paid out for damages, they note. As a result, they maintain, the assets available to the estate ultimately would be the same.

Agreeing with the Fifth District, they conclude that the survivor statute should be liberally interpreted to permit all causes of action, “including all elements of recovery,” to continue after a wrongdoer dies.

On a procedural note, they contend that the trial court’s default judgment against McClellan in November 2010 was issued when McClellan was still living. By not responding to the complaint, she in effect admitted to the allegations, and the trial court determined Whetstone was entitled to compensatory and punitive damages before McClellan died, they maintain. The only determination left for the court to make after McClellan’s death was how much to award in punitive damages, they argue.

Friend-of-the-Court Filings
Amicus curiae briefs supporting Whetstone’s position has been submitted by the Landskroner Foundation for Children and the Ohio Association for Justice.

- Kathleen Maloney

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Representing Erin Binner, administrator of estate of Roxanne McClellan: Charles M. Elsea, 740.654.4141

Representing Christine M. Whetstone: Grant A. Wolfe, 614.221.2330

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Must Employee Suffer Work-Related Injury to Bring Retaliatory Claim for Termination?

Sierra Lobo, Inc. v. Michael P. Onderko, Case nos. 2014-1881 and 2014-1962
Sixth District Court of Appeals (Erie County)


  • Must an employee prove that he or she suffered a workplace injury to establish the prima facie claim for retaliatory discharge under R.C. 4123.90?
  • May an employee, who fails to appeal an Industrial Commission decision that an injury was not work related, bring a R.C. 4123.90 retaliation claim?

In 2010, Michael Onderko was hired by Sierra Lobo Inc. as an engineering tech at its plant located in Milan, Ohio. In 2012, he suffered a right knee injury at work while moving a big desk and a table. Unable to continue working, Onderko left work early and stopped at a gas station. As he walked into the gas station his knee gave out. Onderko went home and his wife drove him to the emergency room. While at the emergency room, Onderko claims, he didn’t mention that the injury happened at work because he was concerned he would be fired.

The following day Onderko sought treatment with Dr. Biro at the Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Orthopedics. According to Biro’s records, Onderko reported that he fallen and incurred the injury six weeks prior to the office visit. After reading the doctor’s report online, Onderko noticed that Biro incorrectly reported that he sought treatment for his left knee, which was injured six weeks prior, and not his right knee. Onderko attempted to contact Biro to correct the information, but Onderko claims Biro refused to see him when he learned Onderko had a workers’ compensation claim.

Onderko informed Sierra that he tore his ACL and would require surgery. Sierra asked Onderko if the injury occurred at work, and he responded that it did not.

Onderko asked if he could return to work, but his request was denied because of his pain medication. Following his denial, Onderko filed an injury report with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) to ensure that his injury was treated as work related.

The BWC initially disallowed Onderko’s claim but later reversed itself. Sierra appealed the BWC’s decision.

The Ohio Industrial Commission heard Sierra’s appeal and denied Onderko’s claim after finding he didn’t sustain a work-related injury. Onderko didn’t appeal this decision because he had already returned to work and said he wanted the ordeal to be over.

The following month Onderko was terminated from his position at Sierra for his “deceptive attempt to obtain BWC benefits for an injury which he had admitted was not work related.”

Judicial History
In 2013, Onderko filed suit in the Erie County Court of Common Pleas, claiming Sierra violated R.C. 4123.90 because it discharged him from his employment after he filed a workers’ compensation claim. The trial court ruled in favor of Sierra holding Onderko did not suffer a work-related injury and that he knowingly misrepresented facts when he stated his injury was work related.

Onderko appealed to the Sixth District Court of Appeals, which reversed the trial court’s decision. The appeals court held that “Onderko was not required to demonstrate that his injury was work related in order to prove a prima facie claim under R.C. 4123.90 but was only required to show that he filed a workers’ compensation claim.”

Sierra filed a motion to certify a conflict in the court of appeals, which notified the Ohio Supreme Court. The Court agreed to address the conflict and directed the parties to brief the following issue: “Whether, as an element of establishing a prima facie claim for retaliatory discharge under R.C. 4123.90, a plaintiff must prove that he or she suffered a workplace injury.”

Employer’s Contentions
Attorneys for Sierra state a plaintiff must prove that he or she suffered a workplace injury to establish a claim for retaliatory discharge under R.C. 4123.90. They argue, based on the Ohio Supreme Court decision in Wilson v. Riverside Hospital (1985), an employee bringing a claim for workers’ compensation retaliation must prove that “the employee was injured on the job, filed a claim for worker’s compensation, and was discharged by that employer in contravention of R.C. 4123.90.”

They maintain only workers who are injured on the job fall within the protection of the workers’ compensation system. “Therefore, … if an employee ... has a final adjudication that he did not suffer a workplace injury, he should not be permitted to file a R.C. 4123.90 retaliation claim ...,” they assert in the brief to the Court.

They contend the plain language of R.C. 4123.90 demonstrates that an on-the-job injury is required for a retaliation claim. The statute reads in part, “No employer shall discharge ... any employee ... [who] filed a [worker’s compensation] claim ... for an injury ... which occurred in the course of or arising out of his employment with that employer.” They argue the statute codifies public policy that prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who are injured on the job and seek workers’ compensation benefits. To allow an employee who has been found to have filed a deceptive claim for workers’ compensation benefits to bring a lawsuit for retaliation would undermine public policy, they assert.

They maintain that an employee who fails to appeal a decision of the Ohio Industrial Commission can’t bring a R.C. 4123.90 retaliation claim based on that claimed injury. They argue the court of appeals’ ruling that the mere filing of a workers’ compensation claim creates protection from discharge is misplaced. They write, “To find otherwise, would mean that any employee filing a workers’ compensation claim, truthful or otherwise, would be protected from termination.”

Employee’s Position
Onderko’s attorneys argue a prima facie claim for retaliatory discharge under R.C. 4123.90 doesn’t require proof of a workplace injury. They write in the brief to the Court, “R.C. 4123.90 doesn’t require the employee to win his hearing at the Industrial Commission in order to avail himself of the protection of R.C. 4123.90; it just requires that the employee filed a claim ... in any proceedings under the act for a work-related injury.”

They contend that Sierra’s reliance on Wilson (1985) is misplaced. Wilson stands for the proposition that the complaint is sufficient if it alleges the employee was injured on the job, filed a workers’ compensation claim, and was discharged by the employer, they argue.

Attorneys for Onderko maintain the Ohio workers’ compensation system is predicated on a mutual balance of interest between employer and employee. They state the system is part of the Ohio Constitution through Article II, Section 35, which “represents a social bargain in which employers and employees exchange their respective common-law rights and duties for a more certain and uniform set of statutory benefits and obligations.” It does not stand for the proposition that a non-appealed Industrial Commission order prohibits an employee from pursuing retaliatory action under R.C. 4123.90, they assert.

They argue the rule in statutory construction “is to give effect to the legislature’s intention.” They state, based on the Supreme Court’s holding in Sutton v. Tomco (2011), the purpose of the statute is “[T]o enable employees to freely exercise their rights without fear of retribution from their employer.” They contend under Sierra’s interpretation, “This purpose would be frustrated where it is unknown at the time of injury, the precise causation of the injury.” Onderko’s attorneys also maintain, based on this Court’s holding in State ex rel. Sayre v. Indus. Comm. (1969), in dealing with ambiguity, the interpretation favoring the claimant must be adopted.

Attorneys for Onderko state failure to file an appeal of an Industrial Commission order doesn’t preclude an employee from bringing a claim under R.C. 4123.90. Firing an employee because he did not win his workers’ compensation claim goes against public policy, they argue. They write, “With regard to a claim brought under R.C. 4123.90 ... a plaintiff ... [makes] a prima facie case by showing: (1) the employee files a workers’ compensation claim ...; (2) the employee suffered adverse employment action; and (3) there was a causal connection between the filing of the claim and the adverse action.” It is then up to the employer to state a legitimate reason for the termination and then the court must decide if it is legitimate, they contend. They maintain if Sierra’s second proposition of law is followed Onderko would have no opportunity to demonstrate that Sierra’s reason for firing him was not legitimate.

Additional Filings
Amicus curiae briefs supporting the Michael P. Onderko’s position have been submitted by the following:

- Maurice Wells

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket (2014-1881 and 2014-1962).

Representing Sierra Lobo Inc.: Mark Valponi, 216.241.2838

Representing Michael P. Onderko: Margaret O’Bryon, 440.652.1173

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Can Parent Be Charged With Felony Non-Support if Charges are Filed After Children Have Become Adults?

State of Ohio v. Robert Pittman, Case no. 2015-0077
Third District Court of Appeals (Marion County)

ISSUE: Can a parent be convicted of felony non-support of a dependent when the charges are brought after the children turned 18 years old and became emancipated?

Robert Pittman was ordered by the Marion County Common Pleas Court to pay child support for his two daughters until they completed high school and turned 18 years old. In November 2006, the girls reached the age and were emancipated. That month the common pleas court filed two entries against Pittman finding he owed more than $68,000 in unpaid support in arrears for payments he missed when the children were minors. The court ordered him to pay $236 per month per child to the mother of the children. The judgment was later modified to $100 total per month.

In December 2007, Pittman was found in contempt of court for failure to pay his child support arrears and was sentenced to 30 days in jail of which 25 were suspended on the condition the back payments be made in full. In July 2009, Pittman was indicted on six counts of non-support of a dependent, a violation of R.C. 2919.21(B). Because he had a prior conviction for not paying support when the children were minors, the counts were fourth-degree felonies. He was also indicted on three other counts for non-support of dependents that were fifth-degree felonies. Pittman responded that he was unaware of the indictments until 2013 when he learned of them through a background check that was part of a job application. In June 2013, he voluntarily appeared in court and subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the indictments for violating his constitutional right to a speedy trial.

The trial court judge dismissed seven of the charges on speedy trial claims, but found two that dealt with non-support after the court found him in contempt in 2007 could stand. Pittman then filed a motion to dismiss those two counts claiming R.C. 2919.21(B) applies only to individuals with current child support obligations and not for an “arrearage only” situation such as his. Pittman pointed to a dissenting opinion in a 2-1 ruling by the Fifth District Court of Appeals in 2002 in State v. Dissinger finding the statute precludes prosecution when there is no present legal obligation to pay support to the children.

In November 2013, the trial court dismissed the two counts against Pittman, and the state appealed to the Third District Court of Appeals. The Third District affirmed the decision of the trial court and the state filed a motion to certify a conflict between the appellate courts arguing that at least two appellate court districts are following the majority opinion in the Fifth District’s Dissinger decision. The majority found those like Pittman owing only back support can be convicted under R.C. 2919.21(B). The Ohio Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Pittman Argues Law Does Not Apply to Back Payments
Attorneys for Pittman point the text of R.C. 2919.21(B) to argue the law only applies to those who have a current obligation to make payments. The provision states: “No person shall abandon, or fail to provide support as established by a court order to, another person whom, by court order or decree, the person is legally obligated to support.”

The attorneys emphasize the words “is legally obligated” and state the plain meaning of the words indicate this criminal provision only applies to those with a current obligation.

“The legislature could have used the past tense verb ‘was’ in place of ‘is’ or any combination of the two such as ‘is and/or was.’ Further the legislature could have simply used the word ‘arrearages’ or included the word ‘arrearages’ within the statute. Clearly, the legislature chose not to use the past tense and intentionally chose not [to] use the word arrearages,” the brief states.

The attorneys point to the dissent in Dissinger and the trial judge in the Pittman case who concluded that “support” is not defined in Chapter 29 of the Ohio Revised Code and there is nothing in the chapter the can plainly demonstrate the support includes arrearages. They object to the majority in Dissinger relying on R.C. 3115.01(B)  to define the terms “child” and “child support order.” The chapter contains definitions from the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, and indicates arrearages are included in the definition of support. Pittman’s attorneys contend the law says the definition only applies to provisions of Chapter 35 and not to other parts of the code, and that the chapter is concerned with civil matters not criminal charges.

Further, they note that Pittman does not escape any legal consequences because he cannot be charged with felony non-support. They note the state has a variety of mechanisms to hold Pittman accountable including charging him with contempt of court, revoking professional licenses and his driver’s license, withholding tax refunds, and imposing liens on his property.

State Argues Legislative Intent is Clear
If the law only applies to current orders of child support for minors, those owing could effectively “hide out while their child is growing up” and not face any criminally responsibility for failing to support them as children when they are emancipated at 18, attorneys from the Marion County Child Support Enforcement Agency argue.

They contend the trial court and Third District misinterpret the statute because the legal obligation to support the child starts when the court order is granted and stays in effect until it is paid. It doesn’t matter if the child is still a minor or becomes an adult, the parent is legally obligated to pay and can face criminal sanctions for not paying, they conclude. The attorneys note that in reality, the criminal prosecution for non-paying adults is mostly used by local authorities to penalize those who are trying to evade their responsibilities.

“Most often, the obligors who are facing criminal charges under R.C. 2919.21(B) are the ones who have effectively hidden from the child support enforcement agency and their obligation to support their children for years, which is why they are the targets of a criminal prosecution,” they argue in the brief.

They offered that the Fifth District could find no prior ruling on the statute and it was appropriate for them to turn to the definitions in the other sections of state law to seek the Ohio General Assembly’s intent of what constitutes a “child support order.” They point out that the Fifth District found arrearages can be the basis of a prosecution under the Revised Code and that the Sixth District Court of Appeals in its 2009 State v. Bruno decision also adopted that conclusion.

Friend-of-the-Court Brief
An amicus curiae brief supporting the child support agency’s position has been submitted by the Ohio attorney general. The attorney general contends that not paying support even after it stops accruing “is a failure to support” and falls with the definition of the criminal statute. The office points to several other states where courts have concluded that criminal statutes for failure to pay support include failure to pay arrearages, and it argues that past actions taken by Pittman to not pay don’t absolve him of present obligations to pay. “The obligation to pay remained an obligation to support,” their brief states.

Oral Argument Time
The attorneys from the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and the attorney general have agreed to split their time to argue the case. Each will be given 15 minutes to present their case.

- Dan Trevas

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Representing Marion County Child Support Enforcement Agency: Megan K. Frericks, 740.223.4290

Representing Robert Pittman: Rocky Ratliff, 740.383.6023

Representing the Ohio Attorney General: Eric Murphy, 614.466.8980

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Attorney Discipline

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association v. Mark R. Pryatel, Case no. 2015-1005
Cuyahoga County

The Board of Professional Conduct has concluded that Cleveland attorney Mark R. Pryatel practiced law while he was indefinitely suspended by representing a client three times in court in June and July 2013. The board recommends to the Ohio Supreme Court that Pryatel be forever barred from practicing law again in the state for his misconduct.

The Court indefinitely suspended Pryatel in April 2013 for misappropriating a client’s settlement money and neglecting another case.

Lawyer Attends Court Three Times with Client
On June 5 of that year, Pryatel met Richard Brazell, whom he had represented before in other matters, at the Rocky River Municipal Court, where Brazell was being arraigned for driving with a suspended driver’s license and other traffic offenses. According to the board’s report to the Court, an audio recording reflects that Pryatel appeared with Brazell before the magistrate, and the lawyer entered a not guilty plea for Brazell, waived his right to a trial by jury, and also mentioned he had represented Brazell two days earlier in Cleveland Municipal Court. Pryatel also told the magistrate that he “would probably enter an appearance” on Brazell’s behalf, but that the accused was representing himself at that time.

Pryatel had appeared with Brazell in the Cleveland Municipal Court on June 3 because Brazell had been accused of a probation violation. Pryatel was paid a $300 retainer in May for this case when he met with some of Brazell’s family.

Back in Rocky River, a pretrial hearing was held on July 9 to address Brazell’s driving under suspension charge. Pryatel appeared with Brazell before Judge Brian Hagan. The lawyer helped Brazell to enter a no contest plea to an amended charge.

In its report, the board concluded that Pryatel never told Brazell, Brazell’s family, or the judge that he had been suspended from acting as an attorney and wasn’t permitted to represent the defendant. However, Judge Hagan thought Pryatel’s name sounded familiar and had his bailiff check whether the attorney’s license was active. After discovering Pryatel was suspended, the judge contacted the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the arm of the Court that investigates attorney disciplinary complaints.

He Wasn’t Practicing Law, Attorney Claims
Attorneys for Pryatel maintain that the magistrate at the June 5 Rocky River arraignment testified that she understood Brazell was representing himself. They also note that Brazell, not Pryatel, signed various court forms, including waivers of a jury trial and a speedy trial that would have required the signature of a lawyer when a client is represented by one.

As for the July 9 hearing, Pryatel’s attorneys point to a court rule in Rocky River that requires the audio recording of certain hearings. The judge neglected to unmute the recording software, and Pryatel’s attorneys claim the lack of this evidence violates Pryatel’s due process rights. In addition, security video of court proceedings that is regularly recorded over wasn’t preserved to substantiate the claims that Pryatel was acting as Brazell’s lawyer, they assert.

They argue that Pryatel wasn’t practicing law because didn’t engage in “any advocacy, argument, persuasion, interpretation, analysis, or reference to legal citations” – an interpretation they attribute to a 2006 Ohio Supreme Court decision.

They also contend that the disciplinary hearing involved “sandbagging” because lawyers for the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association asked Pryatel about his actions in the Cleveland court during a deposition about the Rocky River hearings, even though the Cleveland matter hadn’t yet been alleged in a disciplinary complaint. They further claim they weren’t properly notified about a video of the June Cleveland Municipal Court proceedings.

While the board identified no mitigating factors, Pryatel’s attorneys cite six and ask the Court to reject the board’s findings and recommended sanction.

Lawyer Represented Client in Court, Bar Association Maintains
Attorneys for the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association assert that the video of the June 3 Cleveland Municipal Court hearing shows that Pryatel represented Brazell in open court. In the audio recording of the June 5 arraignment in Rocky River, it is also clear that Pryatel is speaking on behalf of the defendant before the magistrate, they maintain.

“[Pryatel’s] characterization of Mr. Brazell as ‘pro se for now’ in [the audio recording] does not excuse or cure his efforts to practice law during the arraignment,” they write in the brief to the Court.

As for the July 9 hearing, Judge Hagan testified that Pryatel engaged in the discussion about Brazell’s plea and answered the judge’s questions on behalf of the defendant. The judge acknowledged that he forgot to unmute the audio recording system, so he prepared a nunc pro tunc entry to reflect the plea discussion for the court’s records. The bar association’s attorneys dispute Pryatel’s implication that a suspended lawyer can’t be held accountable for violating professional conduct rules unless there is a recording of the event.

While Pryatel claims he was acting as a “layperson” at the hearings, they argue the practice of law isn’t defined as narrowly as the lawyer claims. Instead, the practice of law includes, among other activities, representation before a court, they assert, quoting the same Ohio Supreme Court ruling that Pryatel cited.

“The Supreme Court of Ohio has never allowed suspended lawyers, or non-lawyers, to appear before judicial officers in probation violation hearings, arraignments, and/or plea colloquies on behalf of clients,” they contend.

They also contest the allegations of “sandbagging.” The relevant rules don’t prohibit the bar association from asking an attorney accused of practicing law while suspended about other conduct that also may have been the improper practice of law, they maintain. They add that Pryatel was notified a month before the Dec. 5, 2014, disciplinary hearing that the complaint had been amended to include his actions in the Cleveland Municipal Court, and he was provided the video of the July 9 hearing two months before the second disciplinary hearing in February 2015.

Pryatel has given conflicting testimony about these events, his claims of mitigating factors aren’t supportable, and he has violated multiple professional conduct rules, they maintain, concluding that he should be disbarred.

- Kathleen Maloney

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Representing the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association: Joseph P. Dunson, 440.503.3234

Representing Mark R. Pryatel: Keith L. Pryatel, 330.867.9998

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These informal previews are prepared by the Supreme Court's Office of Public Information to provide the news media and other interested persons with a brief overview of the legal issues and arguments advanced by the parties in upcoming cases scheduled for oral argument. The previews are not part of the case record, and are not considered by the Court during its deliberations.

Parties interested in receiving additional information are encouraged to review the case file available in the Supreme Court Clerk's Office (614.387.9530), or to contact counsel of record.