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Disciplinary Actions Taken by the
Virginia State Bar

January 2001–Present


June 19, 2001

James Charles DeWees, Suite 202, 116 North 3rd Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219

VSB Docket Nos. 00-033-0600, 01-033-0171, 01-033-0404 and 01-033-0539

James Charles DeWees petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on June 6, 2001. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on June 8, 2001. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.

 

June 19, 2001

Raymond Charles Nugent, Suite 201, 1217 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451

VSB Docket Nos. 99-021-2743, 00-021-0599, 00-021-0757, 00-021-2262 and 01-021-0218

Raymond Charles Nugent petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on June 8, 2001. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on June 11, 2001. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.

 

June 19, 2001

Jane Laury Freedlund Wagner, 6100 Princeton Avenue, Glen Echo, MD 20812

VSB Docket No. 01-000-1086

Jane Laury Freedlund Wagner petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender her license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on June 7, 2001. The board accepted the petition and revoked her license on June 8, 2001. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.

June 19, 2001

Robert Larry Lambert, 335 South Witchduck Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462-3645

VSB Docket Nos. 99-022-0899, 99-022-3024, 00-022-2237 and 00-022-2475

Pursuant to an Agreed Disposition, R. L. Lambert received a Public Reprimand with Terms from the Second District Subcommittee, Section II of the Virginia State Bar. On June 14, 2001, the subcommittee found Mr. Lambert in violation of Disciplinary Rules that require lawyers to ensure compliance by non-lawyer employees with the Code of Professional Responsibility, to be responsible for the work performed by non-lawyer personnel, to preserve client funds, and to keep specified, accurate records regarding those funds.

Mr. Lambert permitted a longtime friend and paralegal to establish a real estate practice in his office. He failed to adequately supervise the real estate practice and failed to require that the paralegal keep necessary records. Subsequently, the paralegal embezzled funds in excess of $800,000 from real estate closings before committing suicide. Upon discovery of the embezzlement, Mr. Lambert took full responsibility for the losses and sold personal assets to cover those losses.

May 21, 2001

Walter Ballard Harris, Suite 6, 3831 Old Forest Road, Lynchburg, VA 24501

VSB Docket No. 00-090-2305

Walter Ballard Harris received a Public Reprimand by agreed disposition from a subcommittee of the Ninth District Committee of the Virginia State Bar. The committee found that Mr. Harris did not attend promptly to a legal matter and did not keep his clients adequately informed. In February 1998, Mr. Harris was retained to pursue a claim against a Lynchburg automobile dealer. From March through June, 1998, Mr. Harris investigated the claim, presented it to defense counsel, and made an unsuccessful demand for settlement. He, however, did not respond to the clients' telephone calls and letters inquiring about the status of their claim. On December 3, 1999, Mr. Harris wrote a letter to the defense counsel with a copy to the clients, indicating that he would set the case for trial at the January docket call. Notwithstanding the letter, he failed to take any formal action. He also failed to advise the clients about the legal status of their claim, including the statute of limitations.



May 21, 2001

Robert Michael Short, Trapeni, Romero & Morrison, PC, Suite 400, 11166 Main Street, Fairfax, VA 22030

VSB Docket No. 01-052-1365

On May 9, 2001, the Fifth District Committee, Section II, of the Virginia State Bar issued a Public Reprimand with Terms to Robert Michael Short.

Mr. Short represented the estate of the victim of a fatal automobile accident and his minor daughter. The wrongful death action was settled and a final order entered on November 6, 1998. The order required the administrator of the estate to distribute $9,362.50 to the clerk of the Circuit Court of Fairfax County to be held for the minor child. The administrator forwarded the payment to Mr. Short as the minor child's attorney. On or about November 24, 1998, Mr. Short attempted to deposit the money with the clerk, but learned that he had to obtain an order from the court requiring the clerk to accept the funds. Mr. Short placed the check in the client's file and did not take any further action despite inquiries from the child's mother, her attorney, and an investigator for the Virginia State Bar. In March 2001, after being contacted by a senior assistant bar counsel, Mr. Short finally filed a petition with the Fairfax County Circuit Court, obtained the necessary order, and deposited the funds with the clerk.

 

May 15, 2001

Robert B. Machen, 4326 K Evergreen Lane, Annandale, VA 22003

VSB Docket No. 99-051-1704

After a hearing on January 9, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Fifth District Committee publicly reprimanded Robert B. Machen for misconduct. Mr. Machen represented the wife in a domestic relations matter. After the equitable distribution hearing in the case, opposing counsel noticed Mr. Machen for entry of a final decree of divorce which did not accurately reflect the court's ruling at the hearing and which was detrimental to Mr. Machen's client. Mr. Machen failed to file an objection to the entry of a Final Decree of Divorce, failed to attend the hearing for entry of the Final Decree, and failed to inform his client of the entry of the Final Decree or that there was a problem with the Final Decree. Mr. Machen's client found out about the entry and content of the Final Decree a month and a half later, after it was too late to amend the Decree. The client asked Mr. Machen to fix the problem. Mr. Machen agreed to do so and did not inform his client that the time for amending the decree had passed. Certain funds were withheld from his client for over a year because of Mr. Machen's misconduct, though the client did eventually receive the funds.

Mr. Machen appealed the public reprimand to the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board. On April 12, 2001, the Board dismissed the appeal for failure to file timely a transcript, and affirmed the judgment of the Fifth District Committee.



May 15, 2001* **

Dana Wilbur Johnson, 7504 Burgess Lane, Ft. Washington, MD 20744

VSB Docket No. 01-000-2639

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended the law license of Mr. Johnson by order dated May 4, 2001. Mr. Johnson has been disbarred from the practice of law for the Court of Appeals of Maryland effective May 12, 2001. A hearing will be held before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on Friday, May 25, 2001, to show cause why Mr. Johnson's license should not be further suspended or revoked. The summary suspension order was entered pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13 (G).

*The Disciplinary Board revoked the license of Dana Wilbur Johnson on May 25, 2001. Mr. Johnson's license to practice law had been revoked in Maryland on charges of conflict of interest, misconduct, and misrepresentation. The Board adopted the findings of the Maryland Court of Appeals and gave the Maryland order revoking Mr. Johnson's license reciprocal recognition.

**The Virginia Supreme Court affirmed on March 1, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board order of revocation dated June 18, 2001.

go to opnion

 

May 9, 2001

William August Boge, Suite 103, 9315 Center Street, Manassas, Virginia 20110

VSB Docket No. 00-053-2105

On April 18, 2001, pursuant to an agreed disposition, a subcommittee of the Fifth District-Section III Committee of the Virginia State Bar issued a Public Reprimand to William August Boge, Esq., who was found to have violated DR 2-108 and RPC 1.16, which set forth the duties owed a client upon termination of representation, and RPC 8.1, which prohibits certain conduct by an attorney regarding bar disciplinary matters.

Mr. Boge failed to respond to a client's requests for the return of her file, made in writing and by telephone. Following the client's filing of a Complaint with the Virginia State Bar, Mr. Boge repeatedly failed to respond to the Bar's lawful demands for information, thus obstructing the Bar's lawful investigation of the Complaint. Months following the client's request for the return of her file, a Virginia State Bar investigator retrieved the file from Mr. Boge, made appropriate copies, and furnished the client with the file materials to which she was entitled.

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May 2, 2001

Walter Cornelius Whitt, Jr., F-1, 2524 George Washington Memorial Highway,Yorktown, Virginia 23693-3423

VSB Docket Nos. 00-010-0904, 00-010-1226, 00-010-1649, 00-010-2506, 00-010-2637, 01-010-1719, 10-010-2210, 01-010-2304, 01-010-2309, 01-010-2310

On April 27, 2001, the Disciplinary Board summarily suspended Walter Cornelius Whitt, Jr.'s license to practice law. On April 16, 2001, the Circuit Court for York County entered a consent order enjoining Mr. Whitt from withdrawing any bank deposits or disposing of any assets and appointing a receiver for the funds and property subject to the injunction. This action followed clients' complaints that Mr. Whitt accepted fees from them but then failed to appear in court on their behalf, account for their money or respond to their inquiries.


A show cause hearing will be held on May 25, 2001, at which time the Disciplinary Board will decide whether to revoke or further suspend Mr. Whitt's license to practice law.

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go to petition

 

May 2, 2001*

Gene Piero Belardi, 131 Minor Road, Sterling, Virginia 20165-5669

VSB Docket No. 01-000-2538

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended the law license of Mr. Belardi by order dated April 27, 2001. Mr. Belardi pled guilty in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to making False Statements, in violation of Title18 U.S.C. Section 1001, Case No. 00-323-01. A hearing will be held before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on Friday, May 25, 2001, to show cause why Mr. Belardi's license should not be further suspended or revoked. The summary suspension order was entered pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13 (E).

*On May 25, 2001, the Disciplinary Board convened to consider a show-cause order issued to Gene Piero Belardi arising out of Gene Piero Belardi's three felony convictions in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Gene Piero Belardi had been convicted of knowingly and willfully making material false statements on three occasions to the Federal Communications Commission in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. Gene Piero Belardi made such knowingly false statements in the context of the practice of law. Based on the foregoing, the Disciplinary Board revoked Gene Piero Belardi's license effective May 25, 2001.

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April 18, 2001

Barry L. Flora, 4227 Colonial Avenue, SW, Roanoke, Virginia 24018-0184

VSB Docket No. 97-080-1576

On February 23, 2001, a three-judge panel of the Roanoke Circuit Court suspended the law license of Barry L. Flora with terms, effective February 24, 2001, pursuant to an agreed disposition between Mr. Flora and the Virginia State Bar. The court placed Mr. Flora on probation for one year. If Mr. Flora fails to comply with the terms of the probation, he may be suspended from the practice of law for two years.The bar proceeding arose from Mr. Flora's guilty plea to a misdemeanor federal offense of misappropriating insurance funds. Mr. Flora applied for and received some loans allegedly for the benefit of his title insurance company. Mr. Flora's actual purpose in obtaining the loans, however, was to provide cash to a friend and business associate who no longer qualified for loans. When the friend failed to repay the loans, Mr. Flora ultimately repaid or settled the unpaid balances. For record keeping purposes, Mr. Flora used his real estate escrow account to deposit and disburse two of the loans, although the loans were not related to Mr. Flora's real estate practice.

go to opinion


April 18, 2001

Steven Morton Oser, 79 East Windsor Boulevard, Post Office Box, 656,Windsor, Virginia 23487

VSB Docket No. 99-010-2011

Following a hearing on April 5, 2001, the First District Committee issued a Public Reprimand with Terms to Stephen Morton Oser. The committee found that Mr. Oser failed to promptly pay some medical care providers when he settled a personal injury case, although he promptly disbursed his attorney's fees and his client's share of the settlement. Mr. Oser delegated the responsibility for managing and reconciling his attorney trust account to members of his staff, but failed to review their work adequately, and failed to maintain a client subsidiary ledger for the case in question. The committee also found that Mr. Oser wrongfully revealed information about his client that he should have kept secret when he explained his late payment to one of the medical care providers.

Upon consideration of the facts and Mr. Oser's prior disciplinary record, the committee imposed a public reprimand with terms, requiring Mr. Oser to hire a professional risk manager to audit his office, make recommendations that Mr. Oser must follow, and furnish reports to the Virginia State Bar. Failure to comply with the terms will result in the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board hearing the case.


April 12, 2001*

William Ralph Palmer, 555 New Bern Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina 27611

VSB Docket No. 01-000-2289

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended William Ralph Palmer's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia effective April 10, 2001. On March 8, 2001, Mr. Palmer was found guilty in the Circuit Court of Halifax County of one count of Grand Larceny/Embezzlement (a felony) in violation of Code of Virginia 18.2-95 and 18.2-111.

Mr. Palmer was ordered to appear before the Disciplinary Board at the United States Court of Appeals, Green Courtroom, at Tenth and Main Streets, Second Floor, Richmond, Virginia 23219 at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, April 27, 2001, to show cause why his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia should not be further suspended or revoked.

*On April 27, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board continued this matter generally. Mr. Palmer's license remains suspended until further order of the the board.

 

March 28, 2001

Michael Dana Eberhardt, 429 North Main Street, Suffolk, Virginia 23434-4424

VSB Docket No. 00-010-0625

Michael Dana Eberhardt's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia will be suspended for 30 days with terms effective September 1, 2001, by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board.

The Virginia State Bar and Respondent stipulated to facts involving neglect and inattention in Mr. Eberhardt's practice of law. There had been a prior disciplinary record involving the Respondent.

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March 28, 2001

Lawonna Daves, 751 Daves Road, York, SC 29745

VSB Docket Nos. 98-031-3005, 99-031-2796, 99-031-2839

On March 23, 2001, the Disciplinary Board revoked Lawonna Daves license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In one case, Ms. Daves was hired to look into filing a potential wrongful death suit. She took the client's only copy of the medical records and six months later disappeared with the records. After the client filed a bar complaint, and approximately five weeks before the statute of limitations expired, Ms. Daves returned the records with a letter saying she did not think the doctors involved were negligent.

In another matter, a client fired Ms. Daves for neglecting an adoption case. Ms. Daves did not properly withdraw as counsel, but stopped communicating with her former client, failed to notify her of an impending court date and did not appear in court on the former client's behalf. Moreover, Ms. Daves billed her former client for work performed after Ms. Daves was fired. After the former client discovered that Ms. Daves had not withdrawn as counsel, Ms. Daves moved to withdraw as counsel on the ground that she sued her former client for non-payment of fees when in fact Ms. Daves had never filed such a suit.

In the third case, a client paid Ms. Daves $600 to represent him in a divorce proceeding in South Carolina. Although licensed in South Carolina, Ms. Daves had never handled a divorce there and advised the client she would have to research the matter. After waiting approximately six weeks to hear from Ms. Daves, the client discovered that Ms. Daves's phone had been disconnected and that she was no longer at her office address. Ms. Daves finally advised the client that she was in South Carolina and had initiated the divorce proceeding when in fact she had not. Ms. Daves compounded this misrepresentation by presenting documents altered to make it appear that she had indeed filed the divorce action.

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March 27, 2001

Robert Allen Williams, Williams, Luck & Williams, Courthouse Square, 45 Jones Street, Martinsville, Virginia 24112

VSB Docket No. 93-090-1833

After an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia, the license of Robert Allen Williams will be suspended for six months effective May 1, 2001. The suspension results from Mr. Williams' failure to comply with certain terms of an agreed disposition order which was entered by the Disciplinary Board on June 26, 1998. A show cause hearing was held before the Disciplinary Board on April 28, 2000, on the alleged failure of terms compliance. The Board imposed the alternative sanction of a six month suspension upon its finding that Mr. Williams had failed to comply with terms 2 and 3. Term 2 generally required Mr. Williams, during a defined year, to obtain the services of a certified public accountant to provide four quarterly certifications that Mr. Williams' trust account(s) are in compliance with Canon 9 of the Virginia Code of Professional Responsibility and, if not in compliance, so state with an explanation of the noncompliance. Term 3 stated that it was Mr. Williams' sole responsibility to insure that the terms were fulfilled. The Supreme Court of Virginia issued its order affirming the judgment of the Disciplinary Board by order entered March 2, 2001, with one dissenting opinion.

go to opinion (VA Supreme Court's Web site)

 

 

March 23, 2001

Bruce Alton Sanders, P.O. Box 6534, Woodbridge, Virginia 22195

VSB Docket Nos. 98-022-1131, 98-022-2514 and 99-022-0435


The Disciplinary Board accepted an agreed disposition imposing a two-year suspension with terms on Bruce Alton Sanders, effective March 21, 2001. Mr. Sanders admitted that he failed to attend promptly to two divorce matters, failed to keep the clients reasonably informed about the status of their divorce proceedings and improperly deposited unearned fees the clients paid him in his general account. In addition, Mr. Sanders agreed that he had failed to attend to the administration of an estate and prejudiced the client by failing to keep her reasonably informed and return original bank records upon request.


The terms imposed in connection with the two year suspension, among other things, require Mr. Sanders to pay the estate the sum of $4,916 by March 20, 2002. The payment includes a refund of Mr. Sanders's fee and reimbursement for additional costs the estate incurred due to his neglect.

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March 15, 2001

Lawrence Douglas Wilder, Jr., Wilder & Gregory, Suite 1001, 707 East Main Street, P.O. Box 518, Richmond, Virginia 23218-0518

VSB Docket No. 00-033-2917

Mr. Wilder pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to the charge that he unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly possessed cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. 844.

On March 9, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board entered an order based upon an agreed disposition providing that Mr. Wilder receive a Public Reprimand with Terms, including compliance with the terms of his federal probation and a monitoring agreement with Lawyers Helping Lawyers. If Mr. Wilder fails to comply with one or more of the agreed terms, he will be suspended from the practice of law for two years.

The board's order states that evidence of mitigating circumstances, and lack of evidence of aggravating circumstances, rendered a Public Reprimand with Terms appropriate in Mr. Wilder's case.

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March 15, 2001

Dominick Anthony Pilli, P.O. Box 873, Fairfax, Virginia 22030

VSB Docket No. 99-051-0023

On February 16, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Fifth District Committee publicly reprimanded Dominick Anthony Pilli for misconduct. At a hearing on January 11, 2000, the committee found that Mr. Pilli, who represented the wife in a domestic relations matter, repeatedly contacted the husband, who was represented by another attorney. The committee also found that Mr. Pilli violated the Code of Professional Responsibility by threatening to file a retaliatory bar complaint against the husband's attorney. Mr. Pilli appealed the reprimand to the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board. The board dismissed the appeal for failure to file a transcript, and on February 16, 2001, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Disciplinary Board.

 

March 9, 2001*

Vendel Julius Matis, Ven Matis, Esq. & Associates, Suite D, 555 Cajon, Redlands, California 92373-5980.

VSB Docket No. 01-000-1884

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Vendel Julius Matis's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia effective March 1, 2001. On June 13, 1983, Mr. Matis pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Docket No. 82-1006(A)-CHH to two counts of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341.

Mr. Matis was ordered to appear before the Disciplinary Board at the State Corporation Commission, Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, Second Floor, Courtroom B, Richmond, Virginia 23219 at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 23, 2001, to show cause why his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia should not be further suspended or revoked.

*On May 24, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board (the "Board") revoked the Respondent's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia effective May 24, 2001. The Board found that Respondent is an attorney duly licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia, that Respondent currently resides and practices law in California where he is not a member of the California State Bar, that on June 13, 1983, the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Docket No. CR 82-1006(A)-CHH convicted Respondent of two (2) counts of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 upon his plea of guilt. The Board determined by clear and convincing evidence that Respondent had been found guilty of a Crime as defined by Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13.

 

 

March 8, 2001

Stephen Lee Shelnutt, Post Office Box 536, Arlington, Virginia 22216

VSB Docket Nos. 93-051-1322 and 93-051-0240

On February 28, 2001, the Circuit Court for the City of Alexandria suspended Stephen Lee Shelnutt's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia for a period of six months, pursuant to an agreed disposition.

The parties stipulated that Mr. Shelnutt represented clients in court proceedings when he was an associate member of the bar and, therefore, not authorized to practice law in Virginia, or while his license was suspended. Based upon the parties' stipulations, the Court also found that Mr. Shelnutt had engaged in ethical misconduct, including failure to terminate client representation, failure to act with competence and promptness, failure to represent a client zealously and disregard of a standing rule or ruling of a tribunal.

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March 2, 2001

Kieran Thomas Grennan, 619 West 21st Street, Richmond, Virginia 23225.

VSB Docket Nos. 99-033-2136, 01-033-0074, 01-033-0100 and 01-033-0179.


On February 22, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Kieran Thomas Grennan license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia for five years with terms.

Mr. Grennan acknowledged that in 1998 he failed to appear in the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court at least ten times, was late once and unprepared on another occasion. After receiving written and verbal warnings, as well as two show cause notices and counseling, on January 22, 1999, Mr. Grennan was removed from the court's list of lawyers for appointment as counsel in misdemeanor and civil cases and relieved as court appointed counsel in all pending matters.


Mr. Grennan stipulated that a client retained him in June 1999 and paid him $250 to initiate divorce proceedings. Not only did Mr. Grennan fail to file the divorce action, he neglected to disclose his subsequent administrative suspension from the practice of law for non-compliance with MCLE requirements, not paying his bar dues and not tendering his professional liability certification.

Mr. Grennan also stipulated that he did not pay his bar dues for fiscal year 2001, which were due on July 1, 2000, and that he remained administratively suspended. Nonetheless, he appeared in circuit court on July 17, 2000, representing a defendant in a hearing involving an appeal from a protective order.


In addition to complying with the usual requirements governing reinstatement after suspension for more than one year, the terms of the agreed disposition require Mr. Grennan to obtain a written certification from a licensed clinical professional that he is fit to practice law before applying for reinstatement.

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February 28, 2001

Francis Sullivan Callahan, 229 West Bute Street, Suite 630, Norfolk, Virginia 23510

VSB Docket No. 01-000-1848

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Francis Sullivan Callahan's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia effective February 26, 2001. Mr. Callahan pled guilty to Attempt Possession of Ecstasy in violation of Virginia Code Section 18.2-250, in the Circuit Court of the City of Norfolk, Case No. CR01000360-00.

Mr. Callahan was ordered to appear before the Disciplinary Board at State Corporation Commission, Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, 2nd Floor, Courtroom B, Richmond, VA 23219, at 9:00 a.m., on Friday, March 23, 2001, to show cause why his license to practice law within the Commonwealth of Virginia should not be further suspended or revoked.

On March 13, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board vacated its February 26, 2001, Rule to Show Cause and Order of Suspension against Francis Sullivan Callahan. The March order reinstated Mr. Callahan's license to practice law in the Commonwealth. The board found that the Virginia Supreme Court Rule (Va.S.Ct.R.Pt.6,§IV,¶13E.), which provides for the summary suspension of law licenses of attorneys who are found guilty of a crime by verdict of a judge or jury does not encompass attorneys who have pled guilty to felony drug charges under Virginia Code §18.2-251, commonly referred to as the first offender statute. The board's order, entered on March 27, 2001, says "while we do not believe that we have authority to suspend the Petitioner's license pursuant to ¶13E, our ruling does not in any way limit the Virginia State Bar's ability to investigate and present to this Board Charges of Misconduct arising out of this same conduct."

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February 28, 2001

Andrew Robert Sebok, Suite B-3, 154 Newton Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462

VSB Docket Nos. 98-022-1502, 99-021-0319, 99-021-0351, 99-021-0520, 99-021-1480, 99-021-2082, 99-021-2913

On February 23, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Andrew Robert Sebok's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia for a period of ten (10) months. Based upon findings in seven (7) complaints, Mr. Sebok failed to comply with trust account requirements in receiving clients' funds and failed to attend promptly to matters undertaken for clients and to keep clients reasonably informed.

The DB hearing was on Feb. 22nd and 23rd. The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board found that the alleged violations in VSB Docket Nos. 98-022-1378, 98-022-0677 and 00-021-0306 were not proven by clear and convincing evidence.

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February 28, 2001

John Daniel Reaves, Apartment 201, 2220 Mohegan Drive, Falls Church, Virginia 22043

VSB Docket Nos. 01-052-0735 and 01-052-1754

John Daniel Reaves, petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on February 26, 2001. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on February 27, 2001. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.

 

February 14, 2001

William B. Allen, III, Allen & Allen, P.C., 126 West Court Street, P.O. Box 506, Woodstock, Virginia 22664-0506


VSB Docket # 98-070-1810

On January 18, 2001, William B. Allen, III, accepted a public reprimand with terms from the Seventh District Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar.

The complainant hired Mr. Allen to represent her in a child custody case. In a written fee agreement, she agreed to pay him $175 an hour with a $1500 advance payment of fees. Bills provided to the Virginia State Bar by Mr. Allen, show that he devoted a total of four and one half hours to the case. Despite a request from the complainant, Mr. Allen did not return the unearned portion of the advance. In addition to the public reprimand, the committee directed Mr. Allen to refund the $712.50 in unearned fees, plus interest.

 

February 9, 2001

Arthur Charles Ermlich, Jr., 2397 Court Plaza Drive, Suite 103, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456

VSB Docket Nos. 99-021-0180 and 99-021-0239

On January 25, 2001, the Second District Committee, Section I, issued two Public Reprimands with Terms to Arthur Charles Ermlich, Jr. The committee found that Mr. Ermlich failed to perfect an appeal in a criminal case, which resulted in the dismissal of the appeal by the Virginia Court of Appeals. The committee also found that Mr. Ermlich failed to keep his client informed of the status of a probation revocation matter, failed to advise his client that he did not intend to seek further relief on his behalf, and failed to accept or return telephone calls from the client or the client's mother. In addition to the public reprimand, the committee ordered Mr. Ermlich to attend four hours of continuing legal education in criminal law and four hours in appellate practice.

February 7, 2001*

Rickey Gene Young, 943 Starling Avenue, Martinsville, Virginia 24112-6405


VSB Docket Nos. 98-090-0948, 98-090-1491 and 99-090-0133

Rickey Gene Young's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia was suspended for eighteen (18) months effective January 26, 2001, by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board.

Mr. Young was found to have been negligent in his handling of three separate civil matters. One case involved a possible wrongful death action and the appointment of an administrator, where two minor children, with two different guardians were involved. The second case involved a potential personal injury/products liability claim where a women was injured when the elevator on which she was riding plummeted two floors. The third involved a sexual harassment claim by a man who alleged his male boss made advances toward him. His negligence in handling the products liability and sexual harassment claims involved his failure to respond timely to discovery requests and successful motions to compel which resulted in the dismissal of both cases. His negligent conduct was found to have prejudiced his clients in the personal injury/products liability matter, as well as the wrongful death matter, where he failed to have one of two clients appointed as co-administrator to the deceased's estate. In addition, it was determined that he was in violation of the rules as a result of his failure to withdraw from the wrongful death matter where a clear conflict of interest had arisen.

* On February 21, 2001, the Supreme Court of Virginia granted Mr. Young's petition to stay the eighteen month suspension ordered by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board pending his appeal to the court.

*On June 14, 2001, the Virginia Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of right in this case. Subsequently, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Mr. Young's license for the remaining period of seventeen months and three days effective August 1, 2001.

February 7, 2001

Richard Allen Frye, 180 Upper Poore Valley Road, Saltville, Virginia 24370

VSB Docket No. 95-102-0946

On January 26, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked the license of Mr. Frye to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1998, the Board imposed a six month suspension with terms pursuant to an Agreed Disposition. The recent revocation was based on uncontradicted evidence Mr. Frye failed to comply with the terms imposed by the Board by failing to provide reports regarding mentoring, review of Mr. Frye's trust account records and continued counseling.

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January 30, 2001

Joseph William Kaestner, P.O. Box 2462, Richmond, VA 23218-2462

VSB Docket No. 97-032-1488

Joseph William Kaestner was publicly reprimanded with terms by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board. The board found that Mr. Kaestner failed to perfect an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court and misrepresented that fact to his clients.

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January 29, 2001

Bruce Wilson McLaughlin, P.O. Box 340, Leesburg, Virginia 20178

VSB Docket Nos. 99-000-2297 and 01-000-0925

Bruce Wilson McLaughlin, petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on January 25, 2001. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on January 26, 2001. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.

January 29, 2001

John Henry Partridge, 761 Monroe Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170

VSB Docket No. 00-053-2402


On January 23, 2001, pursuant to an agreed disposition, a subcommittee of the Fifth District-Section III Committee of the Virginia State Bar issued a Public Reprimand with Terms to John Henry Partridge, Esq., who was found to have violated DR 1-102(A)(4), DR 6-101(B) and (C), DR 7-101(A)(1 through 3), DR 9-102(B)(2), and parallel provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct.


The subcommittee found that Mr. Partridge had failed to obtain a final decree of divorce for his client during a period of approximately two years following the taking of all evidence necessary to support entry of such decree. When confronted by his client and the Virginia State Bar respecting his failure to procure the final decree, Mr. Partridge offered as excuses that he could not find his client's corroborating witness who needed to sign a certain affidavit, and that his client had an outstanding balance for legal services. The subcommittee found Mr. Partridge's excuses dishonest and pretextual, in that the corroborating witness remained at the same address that she had on the date of her deposition testimony in September, 1998, and that it was not until April of 2000 that Mr. Partridge stated to his client that the delay in processing the divorce was occasioned by a failure to pay legal fees. The subcommittee also found that Mr. Partridge lost a cashier's check in the sum of $50,000.00 that had been entrusted to him by his client; that he failed to respond timely to many of his client's inquiries about the status of the case; and that Mr. Partridge's delay in procuring the final decree resulted in financial harm to his client.


The subcommittee determined that Mr. Partridge shall conclude his client's divorce case, without imposition of further legal fees, by obtaining a final decree of divorce not later than January 31, 2001, and that, no later than February 28, 2001, he shall pay his client, through the offices of Bar Counsel, the sum of $3,500.00 as a partial refund of legal fees.



January 22, 2001

James Spaulding Powell, 14142 West 4th Avenue, P.O. Box 388, Golden, CO 80402

VSB Docket No. 99-042-2954

On January 19, 2001, pursuant to an agreed disposition, a subcommittee of the Fourth District-Section II Committee of the Virginia State Bar issued a Public Reprimand to James Spaulding Powell, Esq. He was found to have violated DR 1-102(A)(3), which provides that a lawyer shall not "commit a crime or other deliberately wrongful act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's fitness to practice law."

Mr. Powell was prosecuted in the Circuit Court of the City of Norfolk, Virginia, for issuing a worthless check to a stationer who filled his order for business stationery. Pursuant to a plea agreement respecting the charge, Mr. Powell was convicted of a misdemeanor on May 21, 1999, and sentenced to a jail term of six months, all of which term was suspended. Mr. Powell paid all court costs and made full restitution to the stationer.

January 19, 2001

George C. Rawlings, Jr., 405 Amelia Street Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401-3821

VSB Docket Nos. 00-060-2739; 01-061-0239; 01-061-1215; 00-060-3365; 00-060-3427; 01-061-0977; 01-061-0437; 01-061-0778; 01-061-0438; 01-061-0934; 01-061-0439; 01-061-0968; 01-061-0879; 01-061-0808; 01-061-0809; 01-061-0810; 01-061-1006; 01-061-1088; 01-061-1091; 01-061-1099; 01-061-1109; 01-061-1117

In the first case, respondent qualified as the executor of an estate. Shortly thereafter, he distributed all of the funds to the individual recipients with the exception of one charitable organization. Respondent misappropriated approximately $66,000, which was to go to the charitable organization, in the form of loans to friends and himself. During the time he misappropriated the funds, Respondent filed false accountings with the Commissioner of Accounts certifying the funds were maintained in savings and checking accounts.

In the second case, Respondent was appointed executor of his aunt's estate. Following his appointment, he failed to notify the complainant's mother that she was a beneficiary of the will. He failed to follow the requirements of the will and provide the Complainant's mother with quarterly interest earned on approximately $6,000. Shortly before the death of the Complainant's mother, the Respondent gave her $1,000. Shortly after her death, he paid approximately $5,000 of her funeral expenses. He never paid any interest from the $6,000 to the Complainant's mother.

In the third case, Respondent was the Special Commissioner for the sale of property inherited by the Complainant and several of Complainant's relatives. Complainant alleges that Respondent authorized the sale of the property without Complainant's knowledge or permission and without the knowledge or permission of Complainant's relatives. Complainant alleges that papers submitted to the court contained false information.

In the remaining cases Respondent violated the rules regarding the operation of attorney trust accounts by using his trust account for his law practice as well as for his personal/household needs. As a result, Respondent was found to be out of trust on at least thirty occasions in a one year period and had written checks for insufficient funds totaling more than $20,000. Respondent did not keep subsidiary ledgers or trust account ledgers, books or records during this period.

The respondent surrendered his license to practice law.

 


January 19, 2001

George Alexander Weimer, Jr., 1165 Oakland Road, Richmond, Virginia 23231

VSB Docket Nos. 99-031-1009; 00-031-0999

In the first matter, the respondent allegedly helped the complainant with a workers' compensation matter and a medical insurance matter for which he was not paid. In addition, he represented the complainant and his wife with regard to the sale of their home and was present at the real estate closing as their representative. During the time the Respondent was representing the complainant and his wife, he engaged in a sexual relationship with the wife.

In the second matter, respondent was hired by the complainant's wife to aid her in drafting a separation agreement and obtaining a divorce from her husband. There were issues of child custody and division of the marital assets involved. During the time respondent represented complainant's wife in the separation and divorce matter, and prior to her divorce from the complainant, respondent engaged in a sexual relationship with her and allowed her to move into his home.

These matters were settled by agreed disposition imposing a nine month suspension.

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January 18, 2001

John Carter Morgan, Jr., The Kirby Building, Suite 101, 65 Culpepper Street, Warrenton, Virginia 20186

VSB Docket No. 01-000-1260

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended the law license of Mr. Morgan by order dated January 8, 2001. On December 4, 2000, Mr. Morgan pled guilty to and was convicted of Attempted Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Cocaine in the Fauquier County, Virginia, Circuit Court (Criminal Nos. CR00-208 and CR00-348). A hearing will be scheduled before a Three-Judge Circuit Court, to be appointed by the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, at which hearing Mr. Morgan will have the opportunity to show cause why his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia should not be further suspended or revoked. The summary suspension order was entered pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13(E).

 


January 18, 2001

Joseph Dee Morrissey, Morrissey & Hershner, P.L.C., Seven South Adams Street, Richmond, Virginia

23220-5601 Chancery No. HK-1655

The Circuit Court of the City of Richmond suspended Joseph Dee Morrissey's license to practice law effective December 15, 2000. On February 18, 2000, a three-judge panel of the circuit court entered an order suspending Mr. Morrissey's license for three years. Mr. Morrissey appealed that order to the Supreme Court of Virginia, and the Supreme Court stayed the suspension pending the appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed the suspension and referred the matter back to the circuit court to set an effective date.

 

January 17, 2001

Richard Allen Frye, 180 Upper Poore Valley Road, Saltville, Virginia 24370.

VSB Docket No. 95-102-0946

On January 10, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Richard Allen Frye's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Disciplinary Board imposed the summary suspension based upon formal allegations that Mr. Frye failed to comply with terms and conditions contained in the Disciplinary Board's order of November 25, 1998. The suspension will continue until the board considers the matter at a show cause hearing.

Disciplinary Actions July 2000 - December 2000

Disciplinary Actions January 2000 - June 2000

Disciplinary Actions July 1999 - December 1999

Disciplinary Actions January 22, 1999 - June 1999