MOUNT VERNON — With the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline’s objection answer filed, the Ohio Supreme Court will now decide the fate of local attorney Scott Pullins.
Recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court of Ohio (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
More counts filed against Pullins April 9, 2009
Panel recommends Pullins be suspended May 13, 2010
Pullins files lengthy objection June 4, 2010
Last month, the board recommended Pullins’ law license be suspended indefinitely after finding he was in violation of misconduct including dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation.
Pullins filed a 90-page objection with the court on June 3, ultimately suggesting a stayed suspension would be a more accurate conclusion to the grievance process.
Michael Murman, representing the disciplinary counsel, said in his answer filed Thursday, that, taken independently, each incident would not warrant the board’s attention; however, “the number of occurrences, and the persistent misconduct of [Pullins] that is the [most significant part] of this matter and warrants an indefinite suspension.”
In discussing the history of the case, Murman cites an oral sworn statement given by Pullins in 2008, where Pullins admits to being an inexperienced attorney, that he was under a great amount of stress and had issues with his psychiatric medications. In his statement, according to Murman, Pullins said he believed his psychiatric care, along with his contract with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program, would prevent him from conducting himself in the behavior that resulted in the investigation.
The OLAP provides confidential advice, assists with interventions, treatment plans and aftercare services for judges, attorneys and law students who suffer from substance abuse, dependency and addiction, and mental health concerns.
Murman states the board’s recommendation is “appropriate and necessary” and should be upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court.
The next step in the process is to bring the objections to the court, where the seven judges will listen to each side’s argument, limited to 15 minutes each, and make a final ruling.
If the sanction remains an indefinite suspension, Pullins will be required to wait two years before filing an application of reinstatement. His plea would then be heard by a three-member panel.
Pullins also faces reimbursement of $6,171.61 to the board for expenses.
In other court news, an appeal by Pullins with the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Knox County in the case of Kathryn Elliott Pullins, et al, v. Jeff Harmer, et al, was denied earlier this week.
The case involved Elliott Pullins’ dismissal from the Apple Valley Property Owners Association’s board of directors after she refused to recuse herself from board discussions on a lawsuit that involved her father.
She had also requested access to specific AVPOA financial records. Ultimately, the Knox County Court of Common Pleas found her dismissal from the board was invalid and confirmed she did, in fact, have the right to look through financial documents, although it was later determined the employment records Elliott Pullins requested were confidential.