Medina County Courthouse

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Ohio Supreme Court Imposes $20,000 Civil Penalty on Title Agent for Unauthorized Practice of Law

Ohio State Bar Assn. v. Dalton, Slip Opinion No. 2010-Ohio-619.
On Final Report by the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, No. UPL 07-06. Kimberly A. Dalton and Precision Land Title Agency, Inc., are enjoined from acts constituting the practice of law, and civil penalty is imposed.
Moyer, C.J., and Pfeifer, Lundberg Stratton, O'Connor, O'Donnell, Lanzinger, and Cupp, JJ., concur.

(March 2, 2010) The Supreme Court of Ohio today imposed a $20,000 civil penalty against Kimberly A. Dalton of Cincinnati and Precision Land Title Agency for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, and issued an injunction ordering them to desist from all future actions that constitute unauthorized law practice.

The Court adopted findings by the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law that: 1) Dalton, who is not an attorney, and Precision Title prepared and filed two real estate general warranty deeds despite the fact that those actions constitute the practice of law; 2) the signature of attorney David B. Bennett, a former owner of the agency, was forged on one of the deeds; and 3) both deeds falsely indicated that they had been prepared by Bennett.

In a 7-0 per curiam opinion, the Court also ordered Dalton and Precision Title to disclose to the Ohio State Bar Association and the unauthorized practice board the names and addresses of any other agency clients whose deeds were prepared by a non-attorney, and to notify all such clients and all lenders and title insurance companies involved in their transactions that the deeds recording those transactions were prepared by a person not qualified to practice law.

The Court noted that, although Dalton dissolved Precision Title and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection while the board was investigating the complaint against her, federal bankruptcy statutes do not stay a legal action to enforce the Court’s regulatory powers, and will not discharge an individual from a debt for the type of governmental fine, penalty or forfeiture assessed by the Court in today’s decision.

Ian Robinson, 330.337.8761, for the Ohio State Bar Association.

No phone contact information available for Kimberly Dalton.

Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion released by the Court, but only for those cases considered noteworthy or of great public interest. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of Court opinions. The full text of this and other Court opinions from 1992 to the present are available online from the Reporter of Decisions.

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