Many individuals choose to represent themselves in a divorce or dissolution case. Oftentimes, in very simple matters, this is not a terrible decision. However, a recent case demonstrates the potential negative consequences of not having qualified counsel.
In this recent case, Husband and Wife dissolved their marriage in 2003. The parties agreed on all matters, including a provision on how to divide Husband’s pension. The pension was to be divided pursuant to an Order that was filed with the Court.
Wife’s lawyer prepared the Order, as Husband was not represented by an attorney. The problem was that the Order was inconsistent with the parties’ agreement, and Wife received a larger portion of the pension than she was entitled to.
Husband filed a motion with the Court to correct this error. Ultimately, his motion was denied because certain language was not included in the original agreement with his Wife, language that would have permitted his motion to go forward. Without this language, Husband needed to appeal his case within 30 days from the filing of the Order. There would have been little reason for him to do so, as he would not have known there was an error within the 30 day timeframe. Pension divisions often take many months before they are processed by the plan administrator.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, the Order used to divide retirement benefits, can be very complicated documents, filled with legalese. The original agreement needed to have language giving the Court jurisdiction to correct errors in the pension Order. Since it did not, Husband is stuck with the error, and Wife will continue to receive the additional benefits.
 Pearl v. Pearl, 2012-Ohio-4752.
Marty Hubbell is a partner in the law firm of Diehl & Hubbell, LLC (www.DiehlHubbell.com), and has been practicing domestic relations law in Warren County, Ohio since 2001. He was recently named an Ohio Super Lawyer for the third time, and has been named to the Top 40 Under 40 list. He is also a part-time Magistrate for the City of Lebanon, Ohio. He can be reached at (513) 932-2121 or MHubbell@DiehlHubbell.com
Congrats, Marty! Named one of Ohio’s top lawyers.
Lawyers are asked to nominate the best attorneys who are 40 or under. They are instructed to nominate lawyers they have personally observed in action – whether as opposing counsel or co-counsel, or through other firsthand courtroom observation.
In addition to the general survey, the attorney-led research team reviews the credentials of potential candidates and assigns points based on a set of defined evaluation criteria. The research staff also confirms that nominees are properly licensed, in good standing with the state licensing agency, and, when possible, that they have no history of disciplinary action that would warrant removal from the list.
The point totals from the general survey and research process are then added to arrive at a final tally. The lawyers are ranked by point totals and those with the highest point totals are named to the Rising Stars list. No more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are named to the list. To ensure a diverse and well-balanced list, the research staff considers factors such as firm size, practice area and geographic location.
We at Diehl & Hubbell, LLC are proud of Mr. Hubbell and would like to thank him for his years of dedicated service to the Southwest Ohio community!
You can find Mr. Hubbell at 304 East Warren Street, Lebanon, Ohio, 45036 #513.932.2121
By Marty Hubbell
I get asked that at least once a month. All attorneys have heard from potential clients who want to hire a Bulldog to represent them. Why? Because they erroneously believe that such lawyers are effective advocates for their clients.
Some people are generally unreasonable and unpleasant; some of these people happen to be lawyers. It is not hard to find them, as they are usually preceded by reputation.
These Bulldog lawyers have an inability to arrive at appropriate results in a timely fashion. They don’t return phone calls, are unprepared for hearings, and are unable to competently identify key issues in a case. But they are wonderful at turning legal cases into personal vendettas, when doing so has no practical purpose. Legal fees tend to get expensive, quickly, when fighting about anything and everything.
A Bulldog lawyer does not intimidate a competent attorney. I tell my clients in advance about the other attorney’s reputation, in order to prepare them. No party to litigation truly enjoys the experience, and you have to wonder about the unnecessary emotional cost their clients pay.
Judges and juries do not appreciate Bulldog lawyers. Court time is valuable and dockets are crowded. Recent studies suggest that jurors are particularly sensitive to choosing sides in a trial based upon a Judge’s rulings and demeanor toward individual attorneys. If an attorney argues ten points of law, when only two are viable, the stain of the poor arguments can filter down to the good ones.
There is so much more to being an effective advocate than just being adversarial. Be cautious when a lawyer brags about being tough and aggressive. A competitive spirit should not be confused with a combative personality. The qualities you should demand in a lawyer are no different than those you would want from other people in your life: diligence, competence, honesty, and reasonableness.
Marty Hubbell is a partner in the law firm of Diehl & Hubbell, LLC (www.DiehlHubbell.com), and has been practicing criminal defense law in Warren County, Ohio for ten years. He has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer, and is a part-time Magistrate for the City of Lebanon, Ohio. He can be reached at (513) 932-2121 or MHubbell@DiehlHubbell.com
Please click the below link for access to the live interview on July 21st, 2011. Mr. Moorman discusses the Stacey Schuler and Marcus Israel cases with Meghan Mongillo at the ABC22/FOX45 studio in Dayton.
Dayton’s News Source :: Good Morning – Local Attorney Insight on Stacy Schuler Case: http://t.co/W4b17wi
You can also find us on our website at http://www.diehlhubbell.com!
Our condolences go out to Officer Dulle and his family. What a tragic scene, in which thirty-six year old Brian Dulle was killed while performing his duties as a Warren County Police Officer. Dulle was putting out stop-sticks along the roadway on St. Rt. 42 when Marcus Israel allegedly ran into Officer Dulle at over 100 miles per hour, killing him instantly. Israel has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and failure to comply with a police officer, facing fifteen years in prison if he is convicted. At the arraignment in Lebanon Municipal Court Thursday, Israel apologized to Officer Dulle’s family. Israel is being held on a one million dollar bond. What a great loss to the community – What an irresponsible and reckless act. The suspect decided to trade a tail-light violation for a manslaughter charge.
By: Gabe Moorman, Attorney and Counselor at Law at Diehl & Hubbell, LLC
304 East Warren Street, Lebanon, OH 45036
In this issue of the Accident and Injury Reporter, Mr. Diehl answers frequently asked questions about releases. He discusses a very important Ohio Supreme Court case affecting all persons injured as a result of other persons’ negligence. And, Tom introduces you to our staff of lawyers, paralegals and administrators assisting in providing full and complete recovery for our clients injured in automobile accidents.
By Marty Hubbell
What’s next in the Ryan Widmer case? Expect the defense to file a motion for a new trial in the next few days. This motion must be filed within 14 days of the verdict that was rendered on February 15, 2011.
This motion is critical for Widmer’s case, and is separate from the appeal of his actual murder conviction. His appeal would be to the 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown, Ohio; the motion for a new trial would be heard by Judge Bronson in the Warren County Common Pleas Court. The appeal will not be filed until the upcoming motion is resolved in the trial court.
Why is this motion for a new trial important? The 12th District Court of Appeals is probably the most conservative appellate court in the State of Ohio; less criminal convictions are overturned in this court than in any other appellate district. If he cannot persuade Judge Bronson to grant him a new trial, it is likely that the next significant hearing for Ryan Widmer will occur in about 14.5 years, at his first parole hearing.
The defense attorneys are scrambling to find any and all evidence they can to support the motion. From the press releases thus far, it appears that they are going to try to argue some form of juror misconduct.
By: Tom Diehl (In 2008)
In the last edition of the Co-Counsel Reporter, we discussed the pitfalls occasioned by the recent modifications and abrogation of joint and several liability as set forth in SB 120. Specifically, if a defendant can convince the trier of fact that a different defendant has some liability for the injuries sustained, the defendants will be liable for the overall damages only according to their percentage of liability. This can have disastrous consequences if the “other defendant” is not a party to the suit or is judgment proof.To help minimize the potential for disastrous consequences, plaintiff's counsel should consider these strategies: * File discovery early requesting the defendant to identify and specify any other defendants allegedly having liability for injuries caused. Consider, submitting requests for admissions demanding defendant to deny the existence of other liable defendants; * In the initial complaint, bring claims against all potential liable party defendants;* When partially settling with the joint tortfeasor, release only that tortfeasor; * Consider filing a challenge to the constitutionality of SB120 -- send a copy of the challenge to the Ohio Attorney General. Grounds for potential constitutional challenge include an argument that SB 120 violates Article II Section 15 (One Subject Rule) or Article IV Section 5 (Separation of Powers). At Thomas J. Diehl & Co., LLC, we have been handling personal injury claims in Southwest Ohio since 1988. We regularly work with counsel in ethical fee sharing arrangements. Thomas J. Diehl is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. http://www.ThomasJDiehl.com
By Marty Hubbell
The Ryan Widmer jury deliberations continue into the second day.
I was in the courthouse this morning, and saw the bathtub that the jurors must walk past to get to the jury room. I’m sure that is a sobering thought as they begin their deliberations.
Yesterday the prosecution requested that Judge Bronson read an instruction on the lessor offense of involuntary manslaughter. The defense objected, but secretly I think they welcome this option.
If the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict on the murder charge, they then can discuss the lessor charge of involuntary manslaughter. Oftentimes, this scenario leads to what is called a compromise verdict. In my experience, when given two options, and the case is not open-and-shut, juries will choose the lessor charge as a compromise.
This has already happened in this case. In the first Widmer trial, the jury was presented with two options: aggravated murder and murder. They found him not guilty of aggravated murder but guilty of murder.
In the second trial, the jury just had to consider the murder charge. Depending on which report you believe, the jury was deadlocked 8-4 or 10-2 in favor of guilt.
Now, the jury will consider the murder charge and the lessor charge of involuntary manslaughter. I think this jury will reach a verdict, and most likely on the lower charge.
What does this mean for Ryan Widmer? On the murder charge he is facing a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life in prison. On the manslaughter charge he is facing one to five years in prison. Given that he has no prior record, the Court could consider placing him on community control (probation), with no additional jail/prison time.
By: Gabe Moorman
I have been asked by Meghan Mongillo, Dayton’s Fox-45 “In the Morning” co-anchor, to be a guest on their live TV broadcast. I will be answering questions regarding the law and commenting on some of the high profile legal cases in Southwest Ohio. Specifically, we will be discussing the Ryan Widmer and Stacy Shuler cases.
The Widmer trial is approaching its final stage, as the attorneys for both sides will offer their closing arguments on Monday, February 14, 2011. The jury will then begin its deliberation and a verdict will be read by the bailiff at the Warren County Court of Common Pleas in Lebanon, Ohio. It is likely that people from across the country will be listening intently – as will I.
The Shuler trial has not yet started, but interest in the case has been very high from the start. Ms. Shuler was recently indicted on nineteen felony counts of sexual battery along with three misdemeanor counts. She stands accused of having sexual contact with five Mason High School students, most of them believed to be on the football team. Shuler, who recently resigned as a physical education teacher and athletic trainer, has been released and is currently living with her parents pending her trial. Stacy Shuler has been ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device and have no contact with any of the alleged victims or any minors.
I am excited to join Ms. Mongillo at the Fox-45 studio in Dayton and hope to share some interesting and informative perspectives. Please tune in from 7:00 to 9:00 AM.