On Friday, February 2, 2024, the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio recommended that Attorney Brian Nicolas Gernert receive a two-year suspension from practicing law, stayed in its entirety subject to conditions. The board adopted the findings of a panel that heard Gernert’s case in November 2023.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Brian Nicolas Gernert,” with case no. 2023-013.

The charges cited Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(d) and 8.4(h).

According to the filing, Gernert had been convicted of two operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) incidents and failed to prosecute a case, which resulted in dismissal.

Gernert has served as the interim and now elected law director for Bucyrus since October 2021. As the sole attorney in the law director’s office, he handles all civil and criminal legal matters for the city. In this role, Gernert acted as prosecutor for misdemeanor crimes arising from the police department.

Gernert’s first OVI occurred on May 4, 2022, when he crashed his vehicle into a utility pole after veering off the road. He left the crash scene but was later stopped by police, who found his speech slurred and smelled alcohol. Gernert refused a breathalyzer test. He pled guilty in August 2022.

On September 2, 2022, Gernert was stopped by police for swerving his vehicle at night. His speech was heavily slurred, and he failed a sobriety test but refused additional testing. He pled guilty to OVI in November 2022.

In May 2023, Gernert failed to appear in court for a scheduled trial due to his speech being slurred during a phone call to the clerk beforehand. The case was dismissed.

The panel found Gernert’s conduct violated ethical rules regarding conduct prejudicial to justice and fitness to practice law. Aggravating factors included multiple offenses and a pattern of misconduct. Mitigating factors were lack of prior discipline, cooperation, character references, treatment programs entered, and interim rehabilitation efforts.

Gernert voluntarily sought alcohol treatment after his first OVI in 2022. He completed inpatient and outpatient programs, signed an Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program contract, and regularly attended AA meetings. However, he relapsed in September 2023. Since then, Gernert reports abstaining and fully complying with treatment, which includes medication and counseling.

After considering precedent, the panel recommended a fully stayed two-year suspension subject to Gernert’s continued compliance with his OLAP contract and treatment, additional legal education, two years of probation, and paying costs. On Friday, the board adopted this recommendation, which now goes to the Ohio Supreme Court for final review.

According to avvo.com, Mr. Gernert is a business attorney in Bucyrus, Ohio. He acquired his law license in Ohio in 2012. 

A copy of the original filing can be found here.