The Supreme Court docket of Ohio at present suspended a Portage County lawyer for one yr, with six months stayed, for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a consumer then mendacity about it to a municipal courtroom decide, a police chief, and an opposing lawyer.
In a unanimous per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court docket discovered Michael Noble of Ravenna violated the moral guidelines governing the conduct of Ohio attorneys. The Workplace of Disciplinary Counsel filed a grievance in opposition to Noble with the Board of Skilled Conduct in June 2021 primarily based on actions he took in 2018 by 2020.
Lawyer Begins Two-Yr Relationship With Consumer
In September 2018, a lady recognized in courtroom information as “Jane Doe” employed Noble to deal with her divorce. Inside weeks of assembly, Noble and Doe began a sexual relationship that continued for nearly two years.
Doe’s husband, a police officer recognized in courtroom information as “D.P.,” employed a divorce lawyer. Shortly after Noble filed the divorce grievance, D.P.’s lawyer met with Noble and requested if he was having an affair with Doe. Noble denied it. The husband’s lawyer urged if the allegation had been true, Noble ought to withdraw from the case.
Noble then advised Doe he lied to the opposing lawyer and suggested her that she ought to rent one other lawyer to deal with the divorce. In January 2019, Noble withdrew from the case and transferred it to a different lawyer. The divorce turned last in August 2019.
The board discovered Noble violated an ethics guidelines by having a sexual relationship with a consumer that didn’t exist previous to the client-lawyer relationship, and by making a false assertion of fabric truth in the middle of representing a consumer.
Lies Continued After Case Concluded
In 2020, Noble was campaigning for a Portage County Frequent Pleas Court docket judgeship. He was additionally making an attempt to reconcile along with his ex-wife, after the 2 had been divorced for a number of years. He didn’t inform his ex-wife he was nonetheless relationship Doe and didn’t need the connection with Doe to grow to be public information.
Noble denied to his ex-wife that he was having a relationship with Doe. He additionally advised his ex-wife that Doe’s ex-husband was a police officer who was wrongly accusing Noble and Doe of getting an affair. Noble’s ex-wife contacted D.P. searching for details about Noble and Doe. D.P. confirmed Noble’s ex-wife images indicating Doe and Noble had been nonetheless in a romantic relationship.
Noble’s ex-wife advised Noble that if he was being truthful about not being concerned with Doe, then they wanted to be involved about D.P.’s conduct. She stated if Noble was not having an affair, then D.P. possibly making an attempt to govern her into believing he was and was making an attempt to probe her for damaging details about Noble.
Police Chief Contacted
Noble and his ex-wife contacted the police chief of D.P.’s division and stated that D.P. was wrongly accusing Noble of getting an affair with Doe. Each Noble and his ex-wife filed a grievance with the chief in opposition to D.P. When questioned by the chief, Noble denied the affair with Doe. The division then started a proper investigation of D.P.
D.P. had secretly recorded two encounters he had with Noble and the assembly he had with Noble’s ex-wife. He gave the investigator copies of these recordings. The division cleared D.P. of any wrongdoing, and charged Noble and his ex-wife with misdemeanor counts of falsification and making false alarms.
The cost in opposition to Noble was dismissed, and his ex-wife pleaded responsible to disorderly conduct.
Lawyer Lies Throughout Court docket Listening to
In December 2020, Noble sought to seal the document of his dismissed felony case. At a listening to on the matter, Noble testified that he did not deceive the police chief. Nonetheless, when confronted by a prosecutor, Noble admitted that he lied in his grievance about D.P.
The skilled conduct board discovered that Noble violated a number of moral guidelines throughout his encounters with the courtroom and the police chief by making a false assertion to a courtroom; partaking in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; and fascinating in conduct that adversely displays on his health to observe legislation.
Throughout his disciplinary proceedings, Noble expressed regret for his actions and introduced a written report from a counselor stating that he had made important progress in remedy. The events collectively beneficial to the board that Noble be suspended for one yr with six months stayed with the situations that he not commit additional misconduct and proceed to taking part in mental-health counseling.
The Court docket adopted the board’s advice and additionally ordered Noble to pay the prices of the disciplinary proceedings.
2021-1519. Disciplinary Counsel v. Noble, Slip Opinion No. 2022-Ohio-2190.
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