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Ohio State Bar Association v. Doheny

Supreme Court of Ohio

August 21, 2019

Ohio State Bar Association
v.
Doheny.

          Submitted March 27, 2019

          On Final Report by the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law of the Supreme Court, No. UPL 17-02.

          J. Desiree Blankenship, Bar Counsel, for relator.

          PER CURIAM.

         {¶ 1} Respondent, Donald A. Doheny Jr., whose last known address is in St. Louis, Missouri, is an attorney who is or has been licensed to practice law in Indiana, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, but he is not-nor has he ever been-licensed to practice law in Ohio.

         {¶ 2} In a March 7, 2017 complaint filed before the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, relator, Ohio State Bar Association, charged Doheny with 11 instances of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. The complaint alleged that Doheny held himself out as an attorney in Ohio, provided legal advice to more than six Ohio residents and attempted to negotiate the resolution of some of their legal matters, drafted purchase agreements and quitclaim deeds for real property located in Ohio, and collected approximately $70, 000 in fees for those services.

         {¶ 3} Although Doheny initially participated in relator's investigation, his counsel withdrew from representing him in June 2016 following an unsuccessful effort to negotiate a consent decree. Doheny has not answered relator's complaint or otherwise appeared in the proceeding.

         {¶ 4} A panel of the board considered the matter on relator's June 5, 2017 motion for default judgment and the attached evidentiary materials, consisting of five affidavits and various documents incorporated therein. Doheny did not file a response to relator's motion. The panel granted the motion with respect to ten counts alleging the unauthorized practice of law and declined to consider an additional alleged violation for which relator presented no evidence.

         {¶ 5} The board issued a report finding that Doheny practiced law in violation of Ohio licensure requirements on ten occasions and recommending that we enjoin him from committing further illegal acts and assess a $25, 000 civil penalty-$2, 500 for each instance of the unauthorized practice of law. We agree that Doheny engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in Ohio and that an injunction and $25, 000 civil penalty are warranted.

         Findings of Fact

         {¶ 6} Doheny earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Notre Dame in 1977 and 1981, respectively.

         {¶ 7} According to Frederick Hogan, a close friend of Doheny, Doheny suffered a serious head injury in a 1993 auto accident that left him unable to maintain steady work. Doheny maintained his license to practice law in Indiana but surrendered his licenses (or was suspended based on his disability) in Virginia and the District of Columbia.[1] In 1998, Doheny moved from the District of Columbia to live with his mother in St. Louis. After his mother was admitted to a nursing home in 2006, Doheny was essentially homeless. Doheny then moved to Ohio, where he lived with Hogan or Hogan's brother Clifford in their homes in the Hamilton area until sometime in 2015.

         Doheny's Conduct

         The ...


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