Legal Ethics

Lawyer Snagged by Malpractice Insurance Requirements Gets Suspension

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A Kentucky lawyer who had repeated problems with malpractice insurance requirements has been suspended from law practice in Ohio.

Lawyer Robert Trainor of Covington, Ky., was suspended for two years, with the final 18 months stayed if completes 18 months of probation, according to an Ohio Supreme Court opinion (PDF) reported by the Legal Profession Blog.

In his most recent brush with the requirements, Trainor failed to notify a client at the time of his retainer about his lack of malpractice insurance, the opinion says. He also failed to return $225 due the client until she filed a grievance, the court said.

Ohio ethics rules require lawyers to disclose the lack of insurance in a writing signed by the client. Trainor would tell clients verbally about his lack of insurance, but didn’t send written waivers until later, a hearing board found. And he continued to represent clients even if they didn’t sign the waivers, the board said.

It wasn’t Trainor’s first problem with insurance requirements. In 2006, Trainor was reprimanded for failing to make the insurance disclosure, according to the opinion. And in 2010 the Kentucky Supreme Court sanctioned Trainor for missing a statute-of-limitations deadline and failing to maintain adequate insurance. He also received a stayed six-month suspension in 2003 for failing to properly account for client funds.

Trainor didn’t immediately respond to a phone call by the ABA Journal seeking comment.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended indefinitely a second lawyer who failed to tell clients about malpractice insurance. The lawyer, Kenneth Ray Boggs of Columbus, also failed to keep fee advances in a separate trust account and charged excessive fees, according to the opinion and a summary.

At a disciplinary hearing, Boggs said the problems occurred when he underwent surgery and was diagnosed with diabetes, the Columbus Dispatch reports. “I hope you understand, I’m not a crook and I don’t want to hurt anyone,” he said.

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