The general counsel of Midas parent company TBC Corp. is locked in a legal battle with the disciplinary counsel for the state of Ohio after a panel recommended a suspension for the lawyer, who allegedly practiced law while previously suspended from practice in the state.
In April, the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio recommended that Brian Maciak undergo a two-year stayed suspension. Oral arguments took place Tuesday morning in the state’s high court to examine this decision.
Maciak was accused of practicing law in Florida and Texas while under suspension in Ohio after failing to register with the state in 2007.
He was also sanctioned twice in Ohio after failing to complete CLE requirements in 2009 and 2011, during which times he continued to work as an in-house lawyer in both Florida and Texas.
Maciak has served as the general counsel of TBC in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, for the past eight years and previously worked in-house for Michaels Stores as an associate general counsel. According to Maciak’s LinkedIn profile, he is “responsible for managing 60-plus associates in legal, human resources and contract administration departments” at TBC.
In the April decision, the board voted unanimously for a fully-stayed two-year suspension under the condition that Maciak remains in compliance with his CLE credit requirements and attorney registration obligations, and that he agrees to not engage in further misconduct.
Disciplinary counsel are asking that no more than six months be stayed. A fully-stayed suspension for Maciak, they argued in a brief, “would effectively reward those attorneys who choose to remain ignorant of their license status and who simply proclaim ignorance or a poor memory when confronted with evidence contradicting the misrepresentations.”
In oral arguments in the Supreme Court of Ohio on Tuesday morning, Maciak’s attorney, Jonathan Coughlan of Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter, said that his client, who was not present due to Hurricane Irma, did not recall knowing he had even been suspended in Ohio in 2011 and was unaware that his work in-house in Texas and Florida was an unauthorized practice of law.
However, Jennifer Bondurant, who argued for the disciplinary counsel, pointed to examples of correspondence Maciak had with attorney services and the Florida State Bar to discuss the status of his suspension.
Coughlan defended his client Tuesday saying that Maciak could have forgotten about a phone call acknowledging his suspension in Ohio because it was during the time he led the acquisition of Midas by TBC, a $4 billion corporation. Coughlan called the acquisition an “incredibly time-consuming project” and detailed how Maciak, during that time period, was working more than 14 hours per day, even spending the night at work on occasion.
Although Maciak was hired as general counsel of TBC in Florida in 2009, he did not become an authorized “house counsel” in Florida until December 2015, according to Florida State Bar records.
Coughlan also reiterated in Tuesday’s arguments that even though Maciak did not fill out the proper paperwork to certify his CLE credits during the times in question, he did in fact attend training and events to obtain the credits.
The counsel of record for the disciplinary counsel, Bondurant, did not immediately respond for comment following the hearings nor did Maciak and his attorney, Coughlan.
Requests for comment directed to TBC and its chief executive Erik Olsen also went unanswered.
Maciak may have missed his day in court on Tuesday, but he is scheduled to speak during an in-house counsel seminar hosted by law firm Ward and Smith on Dec. 1 in North Carolina, alongside general counsel from Volvo Financial Services and Hulsing Hotels.
Contact Stephanie Forshee at email@example.com.