No sanctions for Ohio lawyer who notarized client papers ahead of signing

No sanctions for Ohio lawyer who notarized client papers ahead of signing

  • A divided Ohio Supreme Court docket discovered no intentional wrongdoing by legal professional
  • Dissent suggests pre-notarizing documents “hazards facilitating fraud”

The firm and legislation business names shown higher than are produced instantly based mostly on the textual content of the post. We are enhancing this feature as we keep on to exam and establish in beta. We welcome suggestions, which you can offer applying the opinions tab on the proper of the webpage.

(Reuters) – A divided Supreme Court of Ohio stated on Wednesday that a lawyer should really be spared sanctions considering that he did not exhibit intentional wrongdoing when he notarized a doc ahead of it was signed.

The court docket turned down a condition experienced perform board’s proposed reprimand of Poland, Ohio lawyer Joseph Macejko, whose customer signed the pre-notarized papers although not in his existence.

The board had claimed he violated ethics rules that ban attorneys from partaking in fraudulent and dishonest behavior.

Sign up now for Free of charge unlimited entry to

Though planning estate scheduling documents for the mothers and fathers of a buddy and customer, Robert Durick, in 2017, Macejko notarized powers of lawyer ahead of a prepared assembly with the Duricks, in accordance to courtroom documents. He said he pre-notarized the files so he would not have to remember to get his stamp and seal with him.

When the assembly was canceled, courtroom papers stated, Macejko still left the paperwork with the spouse and children whom he envisioned would soon call him to set up one more appointment to signal in his presence.

The Duricks then hired a diverse law firm for the estate, and the pre-notarized ability of lawyer document arrived to light all through a 2019 deposition in a will dispute, the courtroom claimed.

Macejko reported he had never ever found a signed copy of the doc and famous that a new law firm experienced been employed immediately after him. He instantly notified the Mahoning County Bar Association of the incident.

The court’s belief Wednesday reported Macejko experienced no intention of misrepresenting his steps, but 3 of seven justices disagreed.

“When an attorney notarizes a doc that was not signed in his presence, the attorney threats facilitating fraud,” wrote Justice Jennifer Brunner, in her dissent.

Macejko stated he is pleased with the majority’s selection and hopes it will have an impact on foreseeable future proceedings.

“We can only hope that individuals who critique attorney carry out get yesterday’s selection to heart and recognize there is a massive difference between a error and a misrepresentation,” he explained.

A agent for the Mahoning County Bar Association, which introduced the first allegations, did not straight away respond to requests for remark.

The case is Mahoning County Bar Association v. Joseph R. Macejko, Supreme Courtroom of Ohio, No. 2020-1513.

For Macejko: George Jonson of Montgomery Jonson

For the Bar Affiliation: David “Chip” Comstock Jr. of Bonezzi Switzer Polito & Hupp, and Shirley Jean Christian and Ronald Edward Slipski

Sign-up now for Free unlimited access to

Our Benchmarks: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

Ferne Dekker

Learn More →