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First Amendment Library:
John R. Welch


Upon hearing of an automobile accident, an Ohio lawyer contacted the parents of one of the injured drivers and visited the daughter in the hospital. He met with the 18-year-old daughter in the hospital. He offered to represent her. He also approached her passenger, another 18-year-old girl, who was at home recovering after being released from the hospital. While both young women eventually fired him, he did obtain some of the insurance money in a settlement for the breach of contract claim he brought against the driver. The two young women filed complaints with a bar grievance committee. The Ohio State Bar Association filed a formal complaint with the Disciplinary Board of the Ohio Supreme Court, which rejected appellant's defense that his conduct was protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.