Submitted August 29, 2017
Certified Report by the Board of Professional Conduct of the
Supreme Court, No. 2015-052.
J. Brown, Bar Counsel, and A. Alysha Clous, Assistant Bar
Counsel; Bloomfield & Kempf and David S. Bloomfield; and
Judith M. McInturff, for relator.
Lee LaFayette, pro se.
1} Respondent, Eric Lee LaFayette, of Gahanna, Ohio,
Attorney Registration No. 0077662, was admitted to the
practice of law in Ohio in 2004. The Board of Professional
Conduct recommends that we suspend him from the practice of
law for six months, with the entire suspension stayed. For
the reasons explained below, we adopt the board's
2} In 2015, relator, Columbus Bar Association,
charged LaFayette with professional misconduct for, among
other things, failing to provide competent representation in
two client matters and, in one of those cases, filing court
documents on which he had forged his client's signature.
The parties initially entered into a consent-to-discipline
agreement recommending that we sanction LaFayette with a
conditionally stayed one-year suspension. Although the board
accepted the agreement, we rejected the recommended sanction
and remanded to the board for further proceedings, including
consideration of a more severe sanction. Columbus Bar
Assn. v. LaFayette, 146 Ohio St.3d 1485, 2016-Ohio-5529,
57 N.E.3d 1166.
3} On remand, relator amended its complaint and
withdrew the allegation that LaFayette had filed forged court
documents. LaFayette stipulated to most of the charged
misconduct in the amended complaint, and after a hearing, the
board issued a report finding that he engaged in the
stipulated misconduct. In its report, the board noted that
relator's additional investigation on remand resulted in
a conclusion that LaFayette's conduct had not amounted to
forgery. For that reason, the board recommended that we
sanction him with a stayed six-month suspension-a lesser
sanction than it had previously endorsed when approving the
parties' consent-to-discipline agreement. The parties do
not object to the board's report and recommendation.
4} LaFayette is a solo practitioner in Franklin
County, and this matter commenced after his mishandling of
two separate client matters.
One-the Rapalo Enamorado matter
5} According to the parties' stipulations, Abel
Rapalo Enamorado, a Honduras citizen, entered the United
States without authorization or documentation in 2000. In
2003, he married Martha Rapalo Enamorado, who is a United
States citizen. In 2006, the couple retained LaFayette to
help them legalize Abel's presence in the United States.
At that time, LaFayette had not handled any similar
6} In February 2006, LaFayette filed a petition
seeking to have Abel classified as an alien relative of a
United States citizen. Immigration authorities approved the
petition in July 2006 and requested that Abel travel to
Honduras for consulate processing. Abel, however, declined to
return to Honduras. At that point, LaFayette was unsure of
the next steps to take and essentially ...