MANSFIELD – A Mansfield lawyer who was suspended for dodging malpractice settlement payments has been reinstated to practice law.
Byron Dexter Corley was suspended in june for two years, with an 18-month waiver if he paid close to $ 25,000 owed to a former client and no longer misconducted.
The Ohio Supreme Court on Monday upheld Corley’s request to return to the practice of law.
In his request, Corley said he recognized and “continues to recognize the wrongfulness” of his conduct.
“The petitioner has remorse for these actions which led to his suspension, and the petitioner has rehabilitated himself,” Corley wrote.
Corley first filed for reinstatement in December, which was denied in February.
Proof of restitution
After the claim was dismissed, a court clerk asked Corley at least twice to provide proof of restitution to Rebecca Turner, his former client, court records show.
On April 14, the court clerk received a photocopy of a cashier’s check payable to Turner and his lawyer, dated December 16, 2020.
In suspending Corley, the Ohio Supreme Court adopted a recommendation made by a three-member panel of the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct.
Corley did not immediately respond to an email or a message left at his office requesting comment on this article.
In June 2010, Rebecca Turner hired Corley to represent her in a personal injury lawsuit against an unnamed hospital, and gave her money for filing fees.
Corley never notified Turner in writing that he did not have malpractice insurance.
In November 2011, Corley filed a lawsuit on Turner’s behalf, but did not respond to written requests for hospital discovery and his motion for summary judgment, which the court granted in February 2013.
The lawsuit was unfounded
During her disciplinary hearing, Corley said that after filing Turner’s complaint, he determined that it was without merit and that she refused his advice to voluntarily dismiss the case.
Turner, however, said Corley never discussed the dismissal of the case with her.
She claimed she had difficulty communicating with Corley, saying he rarely returned phone calls, did not respond to requests to discuss the case, and did not send her copies of hospital discovery requests ; she learned from the court, not from Corley, that her case had been dismissed.
And, although the court returned some of Turner’s filing fees to Corley, Turner said she never received the money.
The panel concluded that Turner’s testimony was more credible than Corley’s.
After the court dismissed his lawsuit, Turner hired a new lawyer and filed a malpractice lawsuit against Corley, who did not respond and a default judgment was issued against him.
In January 2014, Corley appeared for a hearing and agreed to settle the lawsuit for $ 25,000 and pay monthly installments of $ 200, plus interest.
Did not respond to the lawyer
But the board found that Corley stopped making payments after two months and did not respond to Turner’s lawyer.
Turner hired another lawyer, Angel Poynter, in August 2014.
Two years later, Corley was found in violation of the settlement and a judgment of $ 25,564 was entered against him, not including costs, interest and $ 1,000 in attorney fees.
At Corley’s disciplinary hearing, Poynter said she followed a number of avenues to recover the judgment, including filing certificates of judgment in Knox and Richland counties, seizing Corley’s bank accounts and rental property income and the filing of a writ of execution.
The State Supreme Court agreed with the board’s conclusion, which concluded that Corley had done “everything possible to prevent Turner from receiving the agreed compensation”, and that he had only paid 7 $ 102 per garnishment and court order and that he still owed $ 24,981.74 – almost the amount of the original settlement. – due to accrued interest and expenses incurred by Poynter in connection with the pursuit of the debt.
“As aggravating factors, the board found that Corley had shown a selfish motive in thwarting collection efforts, had committed multiple offenses, had not accepted responsibility for his actions or expressed remorse, had caused harm to a vulnerable client and failed to provide restitution. The court wrote. “The board found only one mitigating factor: Corley’s clean criminal record.”