On Tuesday, December 19, 2023, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed an 11-count complaint against Attorney Owen David Kalis, alleging numerous instances of professional misconduct.

The case is entitled “Disciplinary Counsel v. Owen David Kalis,” with case no. 2023-045.

The charges cited Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5(a), 1.15(a), 1.16(e), 8.1(b), 8.4(c), 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a)(1), 1.4(a)(3), 1.4(a)(4), 1.4(b), 3.3(a)(1), 8.4(d), 3.4(c), 3.5(a)(6), 8.4(h), 1.2(a), 1.4(a)(2), 1.16(d), 1.8(f), 1.8(j), 1.15(a)(2), 1.15(a)(3), 1.15(d), 8.1(a), 1.15(c), 8.2(a), 

The complaint outlines a disturbing pattern of neglecting client matters, excessively overcharging fees, mishandling client funds, making false statements, and engaging in a sexual relationship with one client.

Kalis is accused of abandoning representation in several criminal and civil matters, failing to communicate with clients for months at a time, lying about the status of cases, and pocketing thousands in unearned fees that were never deposited into his client trust account as required.

One particularly troubling incident involves Kalis pursuing and engaging in a sexual relationship with a divorce client, K.J., whom he was representing against her ex-husband. Explicit text messages and topless photos exchanged between Kalis and K.J. are documented in the complaint.

Additionally, Kalis stands accused of seriously mishandling over $30,000 in client funds, spending money earmarked for legal work on personal expenses within days of receipt. In one case, Kalis wrote bad checks to a client that bounced, and other clients never received refunds of unearned fees.

The complaint also details discrepancies and false statements Kalis allegedly made to Disciplinary Counsel regarding the management of his Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA). Bank records obtained by Counsel clearly show that the IOLTA was regularly depleted on non-case-related transactions.

Potential sanctions against Kalis could range from probation to suspension of his law license or even disbarment depending on the findings. Clients have reported difficulty obtaining refunds from Kalis, with one seeking a small claims case to recover $5,000.

While Kalis has not responded publicly yet due to the ongoing disciplinary process, statements made previously to Disciplinary Counsel regarding some of the individual matters downplayed or disputed allegations. Kalis also self-reported substance abuse issues to Counsel that he says factored into his conduct.

A probable cause hearing will be scheduled before a three-member panel to review the complaint and evidence. If cause is found, formal disciplinary proceedings would follow with a hearing before the full Board. Clients of Kalis affected by the allegations are encouraged to cooperate with Counsel’s investigation.

The complaint states:

“Relator requests that respondent be found in violation of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and be sanctioned accordingly.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Kalis is a criminal defense attorney in Dublin, Ohio. He attended the Capital University Law School, graduating in 2019. He acquired his law license in Ohio in the same year.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.