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Lorain County Bar Association v. Weir

Supreme Court of Ohio

June 5, 2019

Lorain County Bar Association et al.
v.
Weir.

          Submitted March 6, 2019

          On Certified Report by the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court, No. 2018-006.

          Wickens Herzer Panza and Daniel A. Cook, for relator Lorain County Bar Association.

          Scott J. Drexel, Disciplinary Counsel, and Lia J. Meehan, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, for relator Disciplinary Counsel.

          Jeffrey H. Weir II, pro se.

          PER CURIAM.

         {¶ 1} Respondent, Jeffrey Hile Weir II, of Lorain, Ohio, Attorney Registration No. 0067470, was admitted to the practice of law in Ohio in 1997. In 2005, we briefly suspended his license to practice law based on his failure to timely register for the 2005-2007 biennium. In re Attorney Registration Suspension of Weir, 107 Ohio St.3d 1431, 2005-Ohio-6408, 838 N.E.2d 671; In re Reinstatement of Weir, 107 Ohio St.3d 1705, 2006-Ohio-13, 840 N.E.2d 209.

         {¶ 2} In January 2018, the Lorain County Bar Association ("LCBA") charged Weir with committing professional misconduct in a single client matter. A few months later, disciplinary counsel charged him with misconduct in a separate client matter. The Board of Professional Conduct considered both complaints together and after a hearing, found that Weir had engaged in the charged misconduct. The board recommends that we suspend him for one year, with six months stayed on conditions. Weir objects to the board's report and recommendation and urges us to impose a fully stayed six-month suspension.

         {¶ 3} On March 1, 2019-after the parties had fully briefed Weir's objections-we suspended Weir on an interim basis after being notified that he had failed to answer a third disciplinary complaint filed against him in an unrelated matter. See Lorain Cty. Bar Assn. v. Weir, ___ Ohio St.3d, 2019-Ohio-728, ___ N.E.3d ___.

         {¶ 4} For the reasons explained below, we overrule Weir's objections to the board's report and adopt the recommended sanction, with one modification.

         Misconduct

         LCBA's complaint

         {¶ 5} In December 2015, Jennifer Demyan retained Weir to assist her in terminating a land-installment contract in which she had agreed to purchase property in Grafton, Ohio. Weir negotiated a settlement that cancelled the contract and required the sellers to return a portion of Demyan's deposit, minus the sellers' costs for repairing any damages to the property. In February 2016, the sellers' counsel sent Weir a check for $4, 983 to satisfy what the sellers believed were their obligations under the settlement agreement.

         {¶ 6} Demyan, however, believed that she was entitled to more money, and therefore neither she nor Weir attempted to negotiate the check. But by June 2016, Demyan instructed Weir to accept the money. Believing that the original check had become stale, Weir returned the check to the sellers' counsel and requested that the sellers issue a new one. On August 18, 2016, Weir notified Demyan that he had received a ...


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