On Tuesday, February 20, 2024, the Supreme Court of Ohio permanently disbarred attorney Dennis Lee Adams from practicing law.

The case is entitled “Disciplinary Counsel v. Adams” with case number 2024-Ohio-559.

According to records from the Court, Adams had engaged in misconduct related to his representation of three clients. He was found to have neglected legal matters, failed to properly communicate with clients, misappropriated settlement funds, and misled clients about the status of their cases.

In one matter, Adams settled a personal injury claim for a client named Teresa McAdams in 2018 but failed to pay over $4,000 owed to Medicare from the settlement. He did not inform McAdams that he had dismissed her separate underinsured motorist claim. Adams’ client trust account showed that he had withdrawn the majority of McAdams’ settlement funds despite not distributing money to her. She has still not received over $12,000 owed to her from the settlement.

For another client, identified as R.R., Adams did not resolve an outstanding workers’ compensation lien before settling a personal injury case in 2019. Though he told R.R. he was holding funds from the settlement to pay the lien, Adams’ trust account was underfunded. This led to additional legal proceedings against R.R. to recoup the lien.

In a third matter, Adams paid himself over $5,000 in fees from a client’s $15,000 settlement without fully cooperating with inquiries into the propriety of his claimed costs. He also paid a medical lien long after settling the case.

The Court found Adams had committed 19 separate violations of Ohio’s professional conduct rules. Though he had no prior discipline, significant aggravating factors were present. Adams engaged in a pattern of misconduct across multiple cases, caused harm to clients, and failed to cooperate fully with the investigation.

Taking the established presumptive sanction of disbarment for misappropriation of client funds and precedent in similar prior cases, the Supreme Court concluded permanent disbarment was appropriate. Adams was also ordered to pay restitution to clients and other harmed parties. He has been prohibited from practicing law in Ohio going forward.

According to Avvo, Mr. Adams was a personal injury attorney in Hamilton, Ohio. He obtained his law license in Ohio in 1997.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.