Saturday, November 28, 2009
An attorney who had been subject to a public reprimand in 2007 also was required to provide the Office of Disciplinary Counsel with quarterly reports on the status of the underlying estate matter. The ODC filed charges concerning his alleged non-compliance which resulted in a finding of contempt by the West Virginia Supreme Court.
The court fashioned a sanction that took into consideration the need to bring the estate matter to a conclusion:
...we find that Respondent failed to comply with the directives of this Court set forth in the January 10, 2007, order, and, accordingly, we hold him in contempt of that order. We further hold that the appropriate sanction is to suspend his license to practice law in this State. However, because the underlying estate matter begs for an immediate resolution, we shall stay the suspension of Respondent's law license for 120 days so that the estate matter may be finally and conclusively resolved. On or before the end of 120 days, Respondent shall demonstrate to this Court that the estate matter has been fully and finally resolved. If the estate matter has been fully and finally resolved, the suspension of Respondent's law license will not go into effect. However, if the estate matter has not been fully and finally resolved, the stay will automatically be lifted and Respondent's law license shall be suspended. Because we also recognize that final resolution of the estate matter will require a ruling from the County Commission of Wood County _ over whose time frame Respondent has no control _ we order that if, for any reason, the matter is not concluded within 120 days, Respondent shall file with this Court a report setting forth in detail the reasons therefor. At that time, this Court will take such action with regard to Respondent's law license as is deemed appropriate under the circumstances.