Submitted September 13, 2017
Certified Report by the Board of Professional Conduct of the
Supreme Court, No. 2016-054.
J. Drexel, Disciplinary Counsel, and Jennifer A. Bondurant,
Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, for relator.
R. Hicks, for respondent.
1} Respondent, Michael Joseph Goebl, of Akron, Ohio,
Attorney Registration No. 0080489, was admitted to the
practice of law in Ohio in 2006.
2} On November 4, 2016, relator, disciplinary
counsel, filed a complaint against Goebl with the Board of
Professional Conduct. Relator alleged that Goebl violated
Prof.Cond.R. 8.1(b) by knowingly failing to respond to
demands for information and that he violated Gov.Bar R.
V(9)(G) by neglecting or refusing to assist in relator's
investigation of the allegations in the complaint. The
parties entered into stipulations of fact, misconduct, and
aggravating and mitigating factors and proposed a sanction
consisting of a six-month suspension, fully stayed on
3} Based on the parties' stipulations, a panel
of the board found by clear and convincing evidence that
Goebl committed the charged violations and recommended that
he be suspended from the practice of law for six months with
the suspension fully stayed on conditions. The board adopted
the panel's findings and recommendation and further
recommended that Goebl be ordered to pay the costs of the
proceedings. We adopt the board's report in its entirety
and suspend Goebl from the practice of law for six months,
fully stayed on conditions.
4} Goebl's misconduct is solely the result of
his failure to cooperate with relator's investigation of
the overdraft of his Interest on Lawyer's Trust Account
("IOLTA"), following the theft and fraudulent
issuance of his IOLTA checks by a third party. On January 6,
2016, relator sent a letter of inquiry to Goebl inquiring
about the overdraft of his IOLTA. Goebl timely replied to the
letter; however, his response did not include most of the
information requested. He later advised relator that he would
send additional responsive information within ten days, but
he failed to do so. And he failed to respond to multiple
voicemail messages left for him by relator.
5} On April 28, 2016, relator sent Goebl a letter
requesting that he immediately provide the information
requested in the January 6, 2016 letter. Although relator
sent the letter by e-mail and regular first-class U.S. Mail
to the addresses that Goebl had provided to the Office of
Attorney Services, Goebl did not respond to those
communications or a follow-up letter sent by certified mail
in June 2016.
6} On July 20, 2016, relator sent Goebl a subpoena
duces tecum compelling his attendance at a deposition on
August 18, 2016. Although Goebel never notified relator that
he either would be unable or did not intend to appear, he
failed to appear for the deposition and failed to respond to
a voicemail message inquiring about his whereabouts. Relator
personally delivered a subpoena duces tecum to Goebl at his
place of employment compelling his attendance at a second
attempted deposition on September 27, 2016. But again Goebl
failed to appear or respond in any respect.
7} In January 2017, Goebl was evaluated by Jann K.
Miller, Ph.D., and diagnosed with adjustment disorder with
anxiety. He appeared at relator's office for a deposition
in April 2017 and has since cooperated with relator's
investigation of the overdraft of his IOLTA account.
8} The parties stipulated and the board found by
clear and convincing evidence that Goebl's conduct
violated Prof.Cond.R. 8.1(b) (failure to respond to demands
for information by relator) and Gov.Bar R. V(9)(G)
(neglecting or refusing to assist in ...