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Conflict of Interest and Cognovit Judgment

Does a conflict of interest arise under the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct (“Rules”) when an attorney confesses judgment on a cognovit note? No, according to a recent opinion (Opinion 2014-3, August 8, 2014) issued by The Supreme Court of Ohio’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline (“Board”), so long as the cognovit note contains a warrant of attorney that expressly waives a conflict and permits a creditor’s attorney to confess judgment pursuant to R.C. §2323.13. In issuing the Opinion, the Board reaffirmed and updated Advisory Opinion 93-3, which found no conflict existed under Ohio’s former Code of Professional Responsibility, which the current Rules replaced in 2007.

R.C. §2323.13 permits an attorney hired by a creditor to obtain cognovit judgment without notice or hearing in certain commercial transactions (typically loans and guaranties of loans) by producing in court a valid warrant of attorney that also contains a specific warning to the debtor of the rights being surrendered and otherwise complies with law. Ohio courts grant such cognovit judgments because the debtor consented in advance to the creditor obtaining a judgment upon the debtor’s default.

The Opinion specifically finds that confessing judgment does not create a conflict of interest under …

FBI increases criminal fraud investigations by 65%, director reports

FBI Director James Comey shared the bureau’s enforcement trends and objectives at the New York City Bar Association’s Third Annual White Collar Crime Institute on May 19.

Comey recognized that although counter-terrorism is still a top priority for the agency, white-collar cases are receiving significant focus and resources. In the mortgage industry, agents are investigating foreclosure rescue companies preying on stressed homeowners and criminals who target senior citizens with the lure of reverse mortgages. In money laundering, enforcement targets are involved in a buying anonymous prepaid credit cards, using of “virtual currency” to transfer money and using smaller institutions to inject money into the banking system. In securities markets, the FBI also is targeting micro-cap market manipulation, insider trading and accounting fraud.

Comey emphasized in his remarks that the FBI has received additional resources from Congress, which allowed the agency to hire 2,000 people this year. In addition, he disclosed that more than 1,300 agents are working more than 10,000 white collar crime cases. These figures represent a 65% increase in the number of criminal fraud cases investigated by the FBI since 2008.…

PWMA Briefing on Appellate Practice

From time to time we like to pass along educational opportunities that may be of interest to our subscribers. I am including details on an upcoming event that members of our Appellate and Supreme Court Practice are offering on the benefits of amicus advocacy before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Too often, the Ohio Supreme Court decides issues that affect an industry statewide without first having heard from the industry itself. Trade associations and companies can fill this gap by filing “friend of the court” briefs in Supreme Court cases that affect them. To learn more about how your organization can be part of this process, please join Kathleen Trafford, Brad Hughes, and Dennis Hirsch of our Appellate Practice Group on April 8, 2014 for a breakfast briefing. Using a roundtable format, they plan to cover the benefits of amicus advocacy, strategies for effective amicus advocacy, and the rules governing “friend of the court” briefs.

REGISTER NOW

Schedule:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
7:30 a.m. – 8 a.m.
Registration and breakfast
8 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Roundtable discussion

Location:

Porter Wright
41 S. High St., 29th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

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