Submitted February 8, 2017
Certified Report by the Board of Professional Conduct of the
Supreme Court, No. 2015-067.
J. Drexel, Disciplinary Counsel, and Michelle R. Bowman,
Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, for relator.
Gregory Lawrence Peck, pro se.
1} Respondent, Gregory Lawrence Peck, of Oxford,
Ohio, Attorney Registration No. 0040211, was admitted to the
practice of law in Ohio in 1988.
2} On December 10, 2015, relator, disciplinary
counsel, filed a complaint with the Board of Professional
Conduct, charging Peck with professional misconduct arising
from his neglect of a client's legal matter, which
resulted in a default judgment and the assessment of treble
damages against the client.
3} The parties entered into stipulations of fact,
misconduct, and aggravating and mitigating factors and
jointly recommended that Peck be suspended from the practice
of law for six months, with the entire suspension stayed.
After hearing Peck's testimony, a panel of the board
adopted the parties' stipulations and their recommended
sanction. The board adopted the panel's findings and
recommendation. We adopt the board's report in its
entirety and suspend Peck from the practice of law for six
months, fully stayed on the condition that he engage in no
4} On January 21, 2009, Ashley Needham filed a
complaint in the Middletown Municipal Court against We Sell
Auto Sales ("We Sell") alleging breach of contract,
negligence, fraud, and a violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales
Practices Act. Donald Jones, the owner of We Sell, asked Peck
to represent him in the case.
5} Although Peck generally limited his practice to
family law and criminal defense, he had previously handled a
similar civil matter and agreed to the representation. He
entered an appearance as counsel for We Sell, answered the
complaint out of time, and filed a motion to dismiss.
6} Needham, however, twice amended the
complaint-first to add her grandfather, Charles Needham, as a
plaintiff, and the second time to name Donald Jones, d.b.a.
We Sell, as a defendant. The second amended complaint was
served on Peck by e-mail and on Jones by certified mail, but
Peck did not answer it. Consequently, the Needhams moved for
default judgment against Donald Jones, d.b.a. We Sell. Peck
failed to respond. Although Peck appeared at the hearing on
the default motion, the court granted the motion, finding
that he had not presented any evidence of excusable neglect
or moved for leave to file an answer out of time.
court issued a judgment in favor of the Needhams for $6,
206.89 in compensatory damages, trebled to $18, 620.67 under
the Consumer Sales Practices Act, punitive damages of $6,
206.89 on their fraud claim, attorney fees of $1, 100, and
interest at the rate of 4 percent per annum. Peck did not
appeal the trial court's decision, and the parties
stipulate that the court issued a certificate of judgment for
7} After Peck appeared at a judgment-debtor
examination with Jones, the Needhams garnished $6, 054.26
from Jones's financial accounts. Thereafter, Peck moved
the court to stay the judgment-enforcement proceedings until
a Civ.R. 60(B) hearing occurred. But neither Peck nor Jones
appeared for the hearing on the motion to stay. And because
there was no Civ.R. 60(B) motion for relief from judgment