The attorney now works for the city of Youngstown.
By MICHELE C. HLADIK
COLUMBUS -- If Youngstown attorney Dana Guarnieri can keep out of trouble, the six-month suspension imposed by the Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday would be stayed.
In the high court's 4-3 decision, Guarnieri would not serve the six-month suspension imposed for attorney misconduct and failure to cooperate with the disciplinary process unless she commits further misconduct.
If she commits misconduct, the full six months of suspension would be imposed at that time, according to the decision.
"[Guarnieri's] failure to communicate promptly during this disciplinary investigation led to the unnecessary filing of a formal complaint and the needless expenditure of time and money," the decision read.
According to the decision, Guarnieri was employed as an assistant law director for the city of Youngstown as well as working in a private practice during the incident, but now works exclusively for the city.
The incident that led to the suspension originated with a complaint filed by a former client in 2002, which led to an investigation by the Mahoning County Bar Association, according to the decision.
The decision continued describing a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings between the county investigator and Guarnieri, which led to a complaint being filed in 2003.
A three-member panel of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline found she had not violated any disciplinary rules against her client, but had violated regulations requiring an attorney to cooperate with disciplinary investigations.
The board adopted the panel's majority decision that Guarnieri be publicly reprimanded.
Justices Alice Robie Resnick, Paul Pfeifer and Judith Lanzinger agreed with the public reprimand.
However Chief Justice Thomas Moyer and justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Maureen O'Connor and Terrence O'Donnell voted for the six-month stayed suspension.