OPINION AND ORDER
matter came before the Board of Governors of the Kentucky Bar
Association (the Board) as a default case under Supreme Court
Rule (SCR) 3.210 after Respondent, Daniel Alan Niehaus,
failed to respond to a charge of four separate violations of
the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct. The Board found
Niehaus guilty of violating all four rules and recommended to
this Court that Respondent be permanently disbarred. We agree
with, and adopt, the Board's recommendation to
permanently disbar Respondent.
Daniel Aian Niehaus was admitted to the practice of law in
the Commonwealth of Kentucky on January 19, 2012. His KBA
Member No. is 94639 and his last known address is listed on
the bar roster as 5294 Madison Pike, #201, Independence,
October 2016, Respondent represented Daniel Snowball at a
mediation conference regarding Snowball's personal injury
claims against several defendants. Upon conclusion of the
mediation, Snowball and another plaintiff accepted an
aggregate settlement payment of $22, 500.00, from which $9,
166.66 would be paid to Humana Insurance Company to retire
its subrogation claim against the defendants.
State Farm Insurance Company, agreed to issue a check in the
amount of $22, 500.00 payable to both Snowball and
Respondent. From that check, Humana's subrogation payment
and Respondent's fee were to be deducted. The check was
issued in November 2016 and sent to Snowball. Snowball
endorsed the check and delivered it to Respondent's legal
January 2017, Humana had hot been paid, prompting its legal
counsel to email Respondent repeatedly seeking payment. After
receiving no response, Humana filed a Motion to Enforce
Settlement Agreement in Kenton Circuit Court. On January 27,
2017, the Kenton Circuit Court entered an Order to Enforce
Settlement, requiring Respondent to pay Humana within
fourteen days. Four days later, Respondent sent Humana's
counsel an email seeking verification of the payee. Humana
responded with the payee information the same day. Neither
Snowball nor Humana has yet received their respective
portions of the $22, 500.00 settlement.
March 2017, Snowball's new attorney, Todd McMurtry, sent
. Respondent a demand for Snowball's portion of the $22,
500.00 settlement. He also inquired about Humana's
subrogation payment. Respondent never responded.
of the above actions, the Inquiry Commission (Commission)
filed a four-count charge alleging the following violations.
Count I charges that Respondent violated SCR 3.3130(1. l5)(b)
(Safekeeping Property), which states that "[u]pon
receiving funds . . ., a lawyer shall promptly notify the
client."Count II charges that Respondent violated
SCR 3.l3O(l.l6)(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation),
which states that "[u]pon termination of representation,
a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably
practicable to protect a client's interests, such as
giving reasonable notice to the client. . .
."Counts HI and IV charge that Respondent
violated SCR 3.l3O(3.4)(c) (Fairness to Opposing Party and
Commission's charge was mailed to Respondent in August
2017. It was returned stamped "Return to Sender - No
Such Street - Unable to Forward." Several unsuccessful
attempts to serve Respondent were made by the Kenton County
Sheriffs Department. Respondent was constructively served via
the KBA Executive Director, pursuant to SCR 3.175(2), on
September 13, 2017. Respondent filed no answer to the charge.
January of 2017, the Board of Governors suspended Respondent
from the practice of law for failure to pay bar dues and for
non-compliance with his continuing legal education
requirements. He remains suspended as of this date.
by Opinion and Order of this Court dated February 15, 2018,
this Court suspended Respondent from the practice of law for
181 days and ordered him to pay $2, 500.00 in restitution to
his former client.
November 4, 2016, a complaint alleging four violations of
professional conduct was filed by the Disciplinary Counsel of
the Supreme Court of Ohio. As a result, the Ohio Supreme
Court suspended Respondent from the practice of law in Ohio.
See Disciplinary Counsel v. David Alan Niehaus,