On Thursday, December 7, 2023, attorney Joanne Brown filed her answer to a misconduct complaint brought against her by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association relating to her representation of client Virgil Collins in a 2018 foreclosure case before the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Joanne Brown, Esq,” with case no. 2023-042.

The charges cited Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4(a)(3), 1.4(a)(4), 1.16(d).

In the initial complaint filed on December 4, 2023, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association alleged that Brown violated several rules of professional conduct in her handling of Wells Fargo Bank v. Virgil Collins from 2018 through early 2020. Specifically, Brown was accused of failing to act with reasonable diligence, keeping Collins informed about the status of the case, and failing to comply with his requests for information. She was also alleged to have not taken proper steps to protect Collins’ interests when terminating her representation of him.

The case stems from when Brown was retained by Collins on October 17, 2018, to defend him against a foreclosure action filed on his home by Wells Fargo Bank. Over the next year and a half, Brown filed multiple late responses and requests for extensions on Collins’ behalf. She also declined to file a 24-page counterclaim drafted by Collins, believing the claims were barred or lacked merit.

On November 25, 2019, the court ultimately granted summary judgment to Wells Fargo after Brown missed a deadline to respond without requesting an additional extension. Collins’ home was then sold at a sheriff’s sale. Brown filed various post-judgment motions seeking relief, which were all denied. The Bar Association complaint alleged Brown failed to keep Collins reasonably informed about critical developments and missed deadlines in his case. It also noted Brown never filed a notice withdrawing as Collins’ attorney after ceasing to represent him in February 2020, leaving him unrepresented.

In her answer filed on December 7, 2023, Brown denied that her actions amounted to any misconduct under the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. However, she admitted to all of the underlying facts and timeline of events as outlined in the Bar Association’s complaint regarding her representation of Collins.

According to avvo.com, Mr. Brown is a venture capital attorney in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended the Cleveland State University. He acquired his law license in Ohio in 1977.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.