A Centerville-based attorney will not practice law for six months of a two-year suspension levied by the Ohio Supreme Court this week, which is the third time he has been disciplined by the court.
Andrew M. Engel was suspended for “failing to follow through on a client’s debt-collection case and grudgingly cooperating with disciplinary investigators,” according to a news release. Engel will be on monitored probation.
No one answered a call to Engel’s listed office number, and there was no option to leave a voice mail.
In 2001, Engel was publicly reprimanded by the Ohio Supreme Court for “neglecting a legal matter and attempting to handle it without adequate preparation.”
In 2004, the court suspended Engel for “two years with six months stayed for several rule violations including engaging in conduct that adversely reflected on his fitness to practice law and not cooperating with a disciplinary proceeding.”
In the most recent case, according to the release, Dianne Shelton hired Engel in April 2015. Engel twice sent letters to Shelton’s creditor but didn’t respond to his client and took no other action in the case.
In August 2015, Shelton filed a grievance with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Engel responded two months later and said after that he would contact Shelton. The release said Engel did not do so until February 2016. Shelton kept Engel as her attorney but sought a refund of a $500 retainer, and the disciplinary counsel asked for proof he repaid her. Shelton and Engel later stipulated that he paid her $50 in May 2016 and $450 in July 2016.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Terrence O’Donnell, Judith L. French, Patrick F. Fischer, R. Patrick DeWine, and Mary DeGenaro joined the opinion.
Justice Sharon L. Kennedy concurred in part and dissented in part, disagreeing with one of the conditions imposed for Engel’s reinstatement.
“The board considered the testimony of Dr. Marsha K. Weston, who treated Engel for anxiety and depression, and accepted her opinion that the conditions contributed to Engel’s delay in acting in Shelton’s case as well as responding to her and the disciplinary counsel,” the release said. “The Court noted that Weston was unable to explain why Engel’s mental disorders caused him to neglect only one client matter.”