Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Disciplinary Counsel v. Mancino

Supreme Court of Ohio

August 2, 2018

Disciplinary Counsel

          Submitted November 21, 2017

          On Certified Report by the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court, No. 2016-074.

          Scott J. Drexel, Disciplinary Counsel, and Michelle R. Bowman, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, for relator.

          Mancino Co., L.P.A., and Brett M. Mancino, for respondent.

          PER CURIAM.

         {¶ 1} Respondent, Paul Anthony Mancino Jr., of Cleveland, Ohio, Attorney Registration No. 0015576, was admitted to the practice of law in Ohio in 1963.

         {¶ 2} On December 6, 2016, relator, disciplinary counsel, filed a complaint in which he alleged that Mancino violated eight Rules of Professional Conduct by filing and prosecuting an appeal of Raymond Miller's criminal conviction and accepting compensation for that appeal from a third person-all without Miller's knowledge or consent.

         {¶ 3} After conducting a hearing, a three-member panel of the Board of Professional Conduct unanimously dismissed five of the alleged rule violations based on the insufficiency of the evidence. But the panel found that Mancino's conduct violated Prof.Cond.R. 1.2(a) (requiring a lawyer to abide by the client's decisions concerning the objectives of representation and to consult with the client as to the means by which they are to be pursued), 1.4(a)(1) (requiring a lawyer to inform the client of any decision or circumstance with respect to which the client's informed consent is required), and 1.8(f) (prohibiting a lawyer from accepting compensation for representing a client from someone other than the client without the client's informed consent). After considering the relevant aggravating and mitigating factors and the sanctions we have imposed for comparable misconduct, the panel recommended that we publicly reprimand Mancino. The board adopted the panel's report in its entirety.

         {¶ 4} Mancino objects and argues that the board's findings of misconduct cannot stand because there can be no violation of Prof.Cond.R. 1.2(a), 1.4(a)(1), and 1.8(f) in the absence of an attorney-client relationship. He therefore urges us to reject the board's findings of misconduct, dismiss relator's complaint, and not require him to pay the costs of the proceedings. For the reasons that follow, we sustain Mancino's objection and dismiss relator's complaint.

         {¶ 5} Mancino represented Michael Jirousek in a criminal action. Subsequently, Jirousek's father, Robert, approached Mancino and told him that Miller-a man who had been jailed with Michael Jirousek-wanted to appeal his criminal conviction and sentence. Robert Jirousek offered to pay Mancino a $1, 000 flat fee and the costs of Miller's appeal. Relying on Robert Jirousek's word and his offer of payment, Mancino filed a notice of appeal and a brief on Miller's behalf and identified himself on both as "Attorney for Defendant-Appellant." Mancino later orally argued the case in the court of appeals, which affirmed Miller's conviction and sentence. Robert Jirousek paid Mancino for the representation and also paid the costs associated with the appeal.

         {¶ 6} Although the board recognized that Miller had testified at the disciplinary hearing that "he had not been harmed in any way" by Mancino's actions and it found that Mancino had acted in good faith on Robert Jirousek's representations that Miller wanted to appeal his conviction, it also found that neither Mancino nor Robert Jirousek ever received any direct communication from Miller of any type. Ultimately, it was Mancino's admitted failure to communicate with Miller that led the board to find that he violated Prof.Cond.R. 1.2(a), 1.4(a)(1), and 1.8(f).

         {¶ 7} Despite finding that Mancino committed those ethical violations by failing to communicate with his "client," the board noted that Miller testified at the disciplinary hearing that he had been "unaware" of Mancino's representation of him. The board also acknowledged that Miller had signed an affidavit stating that Mancino was not his attorney and that Miller had never asked him or anyone else to appeal his conviction. Indeed, the board recognized that Miller's testimony and affidavit "could arguably support a dismissal" of two of the violations it found-those under Prof.Cond.R. 1.2(a) and 1.4(a)(1)-on the ground that no attorney-client relationship existed.

         {¶ 8} On these facts, it is obvious that there was no express agreement for Mancino to represent Miller. Therefore, if an attorney-client relationship did exist, it could have arisen only by implication. We have held that "[a]n attorney-client relationship may be created by implication based upon the conduct of the parties and the reasonable expectations of the person seeking representation." Cuyahoga Cty. Bar Assn. v. Hardiman, 100 Ohio St.3d 260, 2003-Ohio-5596, 798 N.E.2d 369, syllabus.

         {¶ 9} In a case in which some of the alleged violations arose in a factual context similar to the facts of this case, Disciplinary Counsel v. Mamich,125 Ohio St.3d 369, 2010-Ohio-1044, 928 N.E.2d 691, ΒΆ 13, we dismissed stipulated violations of Prof.Cond.R. 1.2(a), 1.4(a)(1), and 1.4(a)(3) (requiring a lawyer to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of a matter) leveled against an attorney who represented a woman in a debt-collection proceeding at the request of the woman's father but without her knowledge or consent. We reasoned that the violations of Prof.Cond.R. 1.2(a), 1.4(a)(1), and 1.4(a)(3) were not established because the charges required an attorney-client relationship between the attorney and the daughter. Because ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.