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Columbus Attorney Suspended

2009-2267.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Robinson, Slip Opinion No. 2010-Ohio-3829.
On Certified Report by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, No. 09-013.  David Jerome Robinson, Attorney Registration No. 0059369, is suspended from the practice of law in Ohio for one year.
Pfeifer, Lundberg Stratton, O'Donnell, and Cupp, JJ., concur.
O'Connor and Lanzinger, JJ., dissent and would suspend respondent from the practice of law in Ohio for two years.
Brown, C.J., not participating.
Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2010/2010-Ohio-3829.pdf

Video clip View oral argument video of this case.

(Aug. 25, 2010) The Supreme Court of Ohio today suspended the law license of Columbus attorney David J. Robinson for 12 months for destroying business documents that he had removed from his former law firm and making false and misleading statements denying possession of those documents during a sworn deposition and a pretrial hearing in a lawsuit filed against him by his former firm.

The Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that, shortly before Robinson’s former law firm terminated his employment, he  removed seven boxes of documents from his office that included business records subject to a nondisclosure agreement.  Robinson subsequently admitted that, after being sued by his former firm for alleged violation of the nondisclosure agreement, he  deliberately destroyed or disposed of many of the documents in his possession after stating in a deposition and at a court hearing that he could not recall removing them from his office and was not aware of any documents in his possession that contained confidential information.

The Court agreed with the board’s conclusions that Robinson’s conduct violated the state attorney discipline rules that prohibit a lawyer from destroying or concealing a document with evidentiary value, and from engaging in conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty or misrepresentation; conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; and conduct that adversely reflects on the attorney’s fitness to practice.

The Court’s 4-2 per curiam opinion was joined by Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Terrence O’Donnell, and Robert R. Cupp.  Justices Maureen O’Connor and Judith Ann Lanzinger dissented, stating that they would impose a two-year license suspension as the appropriate sanction for Robinson’s misconduct. Chief Justice Eric Brown did not participate in the court’s deliberations or decision in this case.

Jonathan E. Coughlan, 614.461.0256, for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

E. Bruce Hadden, 614.431.2000, for David J. Robinson.

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