X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
special to the national law journal An alert lawyer in a rural Ohio county prevented the client files of a troubled fellow attorney from being auctioned like secondhand paperbacks to settle the unpaid rent on a storage locker. Richard B. Hauser, a solo practitioner in Willard, Ohio, and counsel to the Erie-Huron Joint Certified Grievance Committee, had no problem recognizing the name Paul Meyerhoefer in the legal ad. When Hauser saw the ad late in April, he was in the final stages of filing a complaint against Meyerhoefer with the grievance and discipline commission of the Ohio Supreme Court. The complaint, which alleged that Meyerhoefer mishandled the power of attorney, resulted from an investigation of Meyerhoefer that Hauser had overseen. “I was reading the newspaper here at home when I saw the legal ad,” he said. “I’m certified counsel for the grievance committee and I knew there probably were confidential files in that locker.” Granted custody Hauser was granted a temporary injunction halting the auction of the files and has since been granted custody of the files to return them to Meyerhoefer’s clients. Another attorney, Ronald Freeman, who has been appointed to represent Meyerhoefer’s clients, has been given the task of notifying them to retrieve their files. “We’ll give people 45 days or 60 days, whatever is reasonable, to get the files. After that we’ll destroy them,” he said. In Norwalk, Ohio, a courthouse town of about 15,000 in rural Huron County, Meyerhoefer’s troubles in recent years are no secret. John Allton of Hiltz, Wiedemann, Allton & Koch of Norwalk served on the Huron County Board of Elections with Meyerhoefer for a time. He described Meyerhoefer as smart and honest. “I’ve always liked Paul. He’s very bright and I just feel very sorry for him,” Allton said. Meyerhoefer, who could not be located for comment, ran afoul of the grievance committee for his administration of the affairs of Esther Stratton. He has been recommended for “indefinite suspension” by the commissioners of grievances and discipline at the Ohio Supreme Court, but the matter has yet to be reviewed by the court. According to court documents, Meyerhoefer in May 1995 assumed power of attorney for Stratton, then 100 years old and mentally incompetent. Meyerhoefer allegedly didn’t file taxes for Stratton’s trust in 1999 or 2000, was long overdue on trust disbursements to Stratton’s relatives and, in July 2000, he allegedly “borrowed” $3,000 from one of Stratton’s accounts. Meyerhoefer returned the money when an associate confronted him, according to court documents. Despite how he allegedly administered Stratton’s trust, Meyerhoefer was appointed executor of the estate when she died in January 2001. The complaint alleges that Meyerhoefer in August 2001 collected $18,000 in fees from the estate, though he allegedly had not completed probate and hadn’t paid its taxes for two years. Repeated orders issued Meyerhoefer’s representation of Stratton resulted in a blizzard of court orders for him to perform his fiduciary responsibilities. At various times he was ordered to make trust disbursements to relatives, pay taxes and other routine fiduciary duties. “This file is so huge it has its own drawer,” said Linda K. Zimmerman, chief deputy clerk for the Huron County Probate Court. Last August, Meyerhoefer missed a court date and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. He spent a night in the local jail before being released on a $20,000 recognizance bond. John Marshall, secretary of the board of commissioners of grievances and discipline, said Meyerhoefer attributed his neglect to the distracting breakup of his marriage and a bout of depression. For the most part, Meyerhoefer has been seen little since December, Hauser said. The last time he tried calling him, the phone had been disconnected. Hauser noticed a recent legal ad announcing a sheriff’s auction of Meyerhoefer’s house. Peter Page’s e-mail address is

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.