WARREN - A former Hubbard attorney who turned in his resignation to the Ohio Supreme Court more than a year ago has continued to practice law, according to a complaint filed by Trumbull County's Bar Association.
The local bar has asked the Supreme Court to hold Richard J. LaCivita in contempt for operating as a lawyer out of his Associated Land Title Co. on West Liberty Street.
LaCivita's resignation as a lawyer was formally accepted by the Supreme Court on Nov. 26, 2012, and his status with the state is currently ''retired with discipline pending.''
But the complaint drafted by attorneys William Flevares and Randy Rudloff on behalf of the bar says that besides the legal title work, LaCivita has routinely notarized numerous documents even though his notary commission has been revoked.
In fact, LaCivita has been charged in Girard Municipal Court with two counts of acting as a notary after his term expired - an unclassified misdemeanor.
A pre-trial was held in one of the cases Nov. 27. And in a second case, a pre-trial is scheduled for Jan. 8.
LaCivita's attorney, John Juhasz, has filed motions with the Girard Court, stating the charges are nothing more than civil violations and not a criminal offense.
Juhasz said last week that he and LaCivita were declining to comment on the complaint filed by the Bar Association.
The complaint points out that once he retired, LaCivita was ordered to notify clients, return unworked fees, turn over files to clients or other lawyers and basically wind down his practice.
He was then supposed to file an affadavit showing he complied with the order, but not affadavit exists, according to the complaint. ''If such an affadavit had been filed, it would be false,'' the complaint states.
Accompanying the complaint is an affidavit from a Hubbard couple, who say LaCivita handled a real estate closing for them in July even though he he lost his right to act as an agent to issue title insurance.
The couple turned over nearly $70,000 that LaCivita told them was needed to close the deal and pay off a mortgage on the property. Instead, the couple was informed later they needed $27,000 to complete the deal and they had to come up with the additional money.
Another client who also claims LaCivita owes them money after a real estate deal is suing the former attorney in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court where a pre-trial in the case is set for Feb. 19 in front of Judge Peter Kontos.
Besides a finding of contempt and sanctions by the Supreme Court, the bar complaint asks for ''a temporary restraining order issued by the (Supreme) Court and that the court take whatever steps necessary to ensure that Mr. LaCivita does not hold himself out to the public as an individual who is licensed to practice law.''