Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status

Disciplinary Counsel v. Smith

918 N.E.2d 992 (2009)

Case BriefRelatedOptions
From our private database of 35,600+ case briefs...

Disciplinary Counsel v. Smith

Ohio Supreme Court

918 N.E.2d 992 (2009)

Facts

The Reigers, New York residents, survived a terrible auto accident in Ohio. The Reigers contacted the Chapman Law Firm, an Ohio personal injury firm owned by Frank Chapman, which assigned associate Justin Smith (defendant) to the matter. Smith and the Reigers signed a contract providing that the Reigers would pay fees equal to 33.3 percent of the gross amount of a settlement obtained if Smith did not file suit and 40 percent if Smith did file suit. The insurance of Marvin Seltzer, the driver at fault, would not cover the Reigers’ damages. Therefore, Smith looked to the Reigers’ personal-injury protection (PIP) for recovery. Smith was vaguely aware that under New York law, PIP was no-fault insurance designed to streamline recovery for insured parties, but he was not aware that the law forbade attorneys from collecting contingency fees from PIP payments, nor did he research the issue. Smith asked Chapman whether they could collect fees on the PIP payout, and Chapman said that they could, instructing Smith to charge the fees. Smith filed suit against Seltzer’s insurance policy only and filed PIP claims on behalf of the Reigers. Smith later collected about $83,260.00, or 40 percent of the gross settlement amount, in attorney’s fees on the PIP coverage. The Reigers filed and settled a suit against Chapman and the firm, and then someone filed a complaint with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (the board) (plaintiff), which held a hearing on the matter. Smith conceded that the fees were excessive but argued that because he acted under Chapman’s supervision, Chapman was responsible. The board found that Smith violated the rule that prohibited excessive fees and taking on representation for which he was not competent. The board recommended that the court publicly reprimand Smith, who then filed an objection to the board’s findings, arguing that the court should dismiss the complaint.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Moyer, C.J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 618,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 618,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 35,600 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 618,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 35,600 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership