EAST LIVERPOOL - The law license of East Liverpool attorney Richard A. Luther has been indefinitely suspended for violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In a 7-0 per curiam decision announced on Sept. 19, the Supreme Court of Ohio adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline that after accepting more than $3,000 in legal fees and court cost advances from a client in a divorce case, Luther failed to keep his client advised of the status of her case, failed to respond to her reasonable requests for information, and failed to file a divorce complaint.
The court also found that after Luther's client's husband filed a divorce complaint, he failed to appear for all but one of the scheduled pretrial conferences, failed to appear at the final divorce hearing, and refused to refund the unearned legal fees and cost advances he had received from his client unless she agreed to dismiss the disciplinary grievance she had filed against him for neglecting her case.
Because Luther also failed to respond to interrogatories and demands for documents he received from the Columbiana County Bar Association in response to his client's grievance, ultimately requiring the disciplinary complaint against him to be resolved through default proceedings, the court found that Luther violated the professional conduct rule that requires an attorney to cooperate with disciplinary authorities.
Noting that Luther's law license has been under an administrative suspension since November 2011 for failure to comply with state attorney registration requirements, the court imposed an additional indefinite suspension, with any future reinstatement conditioned on Luther's restitution of the entire $3,099 he received from his client in the divorce case.