COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
CERTIFIED GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE
120 High Street, NW
Lower Level, Law Library
Warren, Ohio 44481
Mailing address: P.O. Box 4222, Warren, Ohio
Grievance Committee Chair: Samuel F. Bluedorn,
Esq., term 2013-2015
Bar Counsels: Randil J. Rudloff, Esq., William
M. Flevares, Esq.,
Terry A. Swauger, Esq. & Curtis J. Ambrosy, Esq.
The Trumbull County
Bar Association Grievance Committee is certified by the Ohio Supreme Court to
receive, investigate and prosecute complaints against Attorneys and Judges whom
are accused of violating the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct or the Ohio Code
of Judicial Conduct. The Committee is comprised of members of the Trumbull
County Bar Association and non-attorney members who live in Trumbull County.
The Committee meets in a non-public session the first Thursday of each month at
4:00 P.M. at the Trumbull County Bar Association Offices.
Pursuant to Rule 5 of the Ohio Supreme Court Rules for the
Government of the Bar of Ohio, members of the public, who believe an Attorney
licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio, or a Judge of any Court in the
State of Ohio, has violated the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct or the Ohio
Code of Judicial Conduct, may file a grievance against such attorney and/or
judge with the Trumbull County Bar Association or The Ohio State Bar
Association, or the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Ohio Supreme Court.
Copies of The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and The Ohio Code of Judicial
Conduct are available on the Trumbull County Bar Association website listed
above. Complaint forms may be picked up at the Bar office at the above address,
or will be mailed upon request.
Grievance Complaint is filed with the Trumbull County Bar Association it is
initially reviewed by the Grievance Committee Chairperson to determine if the
complaint alleges a violation of The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct or The
Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct. If the Grievance Committee Chairperson, with the
concurrence of Bar Counsel, does not believe that the allegations of the
grievance complaint support the probability of a violation, the grievance
complaint will be dismissed and that dismissal may be appealed by the grievant
to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Ohio Supreme Court. If the
allegations of the complaint support the probability of a violation of the Rules
of either Professional or Judicial Conduct, the grievance will be assigned to an
investigator for investigation. Following the investigation, the investigator
will present a full written report to the Committee as a whole. If the
Committee, by majority vote, finds that there is not substantial, credible
evidence to believe that a violation of the Rules has occurred, the grievance
complaint will be dismissed, and that dismissal may be appealed to the Office of
Disciplinary Counsel of the Ohio Supreme Court. If the Committee, by majority
vote, finds that there is substantial, credible evidence to believe that a
violation of the Rules has occurred, a formal complaint will be filed by Bar
Counsel with the Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Commissioners on Grievances and
Discipline. A three-member panel of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances
and Discipline will review the complaint and supporting evidence filed therewith
to determine if probable cause exists to certify the complaint for formal
prosecution. If the complaint is certified by the Board of Commissioners for
prosecution, a hearing is then conducted before a different three-member panel
of the Board, with the complaint being prosecuted by the Trumbull County Bar
Association's Bar Counsel. The hearing panel considers the evidence and makes a
written recommendation to the full Board of Commissioners. The full Board then
makes a recommendation to the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Ohio Supreme Court
makes the final decision whether to discipline an attorney or judge, and further
decides what sanction should be imposed. A grievance proceeding is confidential
and not public until the Board of Commissioners certifies the Grievance
Complaint for formal prosecution.
information concerning the Ohio Disciplinary system for Attorneys and/or Judges
may be found on the Ohio Supreme Courtís Web
CLICK HERE FOR CURRENT GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS!
1. The grievance procedure is initiated by contacting the Trumbull
County Bar Association in person or via telephone. We will request
your name, address, phone number, and the attorney's name for
verification purposed. All information given is confidential,
the attorney will not be notified until the actual filing of the
2. You will then receive a grievance form in the mail. You will be
required to fill out this form, have it notarized and
the Bar Association in the envelope provided.
3. When your grievance form is returned, it will be forwarded to
Trumbull County Bar Association Grievance Committee Chairman who
review the grievance.
4. The Chairman will then either assign an investigator from the
Committee to investigate the matter or dismiss the grievance if
is no prima facia grievable offense noted. You will be notified by
mail of either decision.
5. If the grievance is assigned to an investigator, the
contact both you and the attorney to begin the investigation.
investigator then reports his/her findings to the Committee.
6. The Committee makes a determination on the grievance and
you in writing of their decision to certify the grievance to the
of Disciplinary Counsel for further proceedings or dismiss the
for lack of probable cause.
7. If the grievance is certified, it will be sent to Bar Counsel to
with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Ohio Supreme Court.
8. If the grievance is dismissed, there will be instructions
the determination on how you can appeal the determination to the
Disciplinary Council in Columbus.
9. The Committee will attempt to handle all grievances within 90
Additional Information from the Ohio
Supreme Court, Office of Disciplinary Counsel:
include copies of any documents you feel are necessary
to support your grievance. Do not send original documents.
You may use additional sheets of paper to complete the "Facts of the
Grievance" portion of this form. You may or
may not be contacted to provide additional information. Be sure
to sign and date the form in front of a Notary
Public. Once we receive the completed grievance form, we will
review the matter as quickly as possible. You
will receive notification of the status of your case by mail.
The Rules of the Supreme Court of Ohio require that investigations be
confidential, and you are asked to keep
confidential the fact that you are submitting this grievance. Only the
attorney under investigation may waive
confidentiality. The party(ies) you are filing your grievance
against will receive notice of your grievance and
may receive a copy of your grievance and be asked to respond to your
allegations. The filing of a grievance
may result in your attorney withdrawing from your case. We cannot
prevent this. Please also be advised that in filing
a grievance against your attorney, you are waiving the attorney-client
privilege. Additionally, this office has no
jurisdiction to become involved in the merits of any case. The
attorney disciplinary process will not affect
or change court decisions made in your case.
Please use one form for each attorney against whom you are
complaining. You may copy the form if you have more
than one grievance, and you may enclose all of your grievances in one
The Grievance Process
A grievance sent to the Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of
Ohio or to a local bar association's certified
grievance committee will be reviewed to determine whether the grievance
alleges a violation of the Code of
Professional Responsibility or Code of Judicial Conduct. If there is
evidence that supports the allegation of a violation,
the grievance will be investigated. Following the investigation, if
substantial, credible evidence is found that a
violation has occurred, a formal complaint will be filed with the Board
of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline.
A three-member panel of the Board will review the complaint and
determine whether probable cause exists to certify it.
If the complaint is certified by the Board, a hearing is then held
before a different three-member panel of the Board.
The panel considers the evidence and makes a recommendation to the full
Board of Commissioners. The full Board then
makes a recommendation to the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Court has final
say on whether to discipline an attorney
or judge and what sanction should be administered. A grievance is
confidential until the Board certifies it as a formal
complaint. A grievance or complaint can be dismissed at any point in the
CLICK HERE FOR RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
CLICK HERE FOR RULES OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
CLICK HERE FOR RULES OF GOVERNMENT OF THE BAR OF OHIO
CLICK HERE FOR THE CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT
UNDERSTANDING THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
The Grievance Committee of the Trumbull County Bar Association has
been given authority by the Supreme Court of Ohio to investigate grievances
against attorneys, which arise in Trumbull County. If you do not live in
Trumbull County,are filing a complaint against a Judge, Magistrate or a
member of the Certified Grievance Committee of Trumbull County,the attorney's
office or your case is situated in another County, you should contact the
Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohio:
Office of Disciplinary Counsel
250 Civic Center Drive, Ste. 325
Columbus, Ohio 43215-7411
Business Hours: 8 a.m.
- 5 p.m.
Toll Free: 800.589.5256
The authority of the Grievance Committee is limited to the investigation
of attorney misconduct, which would be in violation of the specific Disciplinary
Rules, which are included in the attorneys' Code of Professional Responsibility.
The Bar Association has no authority to investigate other behavior by
an attorney,which the public may view as "unethical", but which is not
covered by the Disciplinary Rules.
There are several important limitations on how and when the Bar
Association can take action in response to your allegations against an
attorney. First,neither the Bar Association nor its Grievance Committee can
act as a court of appeals. It cannot overrule any decisions that have been
made by a court. The Bar Association cannot change the outcome of your
case or redeem your losses, whether monetary or otherwise. The only
function of the Grievance Committee is to investigate allegations of
attorney misconduct and to either seek sanctions against the attorney
in the Ohio Supreme Court or to exonerate the attorney when no misconduct
Second, the Grievance Committee cannot interfere with ongoing court
proceedings. The grievance process will not be used on behalf of one party
in a lawsuit to put unfair pressure upon the other parties to that suit or
upon the attorneys who are involved. The court system is the proper place
for the resolution of civil or criminal disputes, and the injection of an
attorney grievance into court proceedings is disruptive to the court system
itself and may unfairly influence an attorney's representation of his client.
Finally, it is important to recognize that the Bar Association and its
Grievance Committee cannot give you legal advice or represent you. The
Grievance Committee's function is to investigate, and seek discipline for,
attorney misconduct. A person with a legal problem should consult an attorney,
and cannot rely on the Bar Association for legal representation.
You may pursue a cause action in court against an attorney at the same
time that your complaint against that attorney is being investigated by the
Grievance Committee. However, the Grievance Committee will not be representing
you, and the grievance procedure is separate and distinct from any civil
cause of action.
The fact that you have filed a grievance with the Bar Association will not
affect the time limitations for the proper filing of a civil lawsuit, whether
that suit is against your attorney or against anyone else. The investigation
of a grievance by the Bar Association will normally take from 60 to 90 days.
The Grievance Committee operates under rules adopted by the Supreme Court
of Ohio which are designed to protect the public from attorney misconduct and to
uphold the integrity of the Bar. It is the goal of Grievance Committee members
to thoroughly investigate complaints of attorney misconduct in a manner that
is fair to both the interests of the public and the accused attorney.