PRINCETON – A Mercer County attorney is being sued for failing to prepare a valid deed.
Lonnie Woodrow Walker filed a complaint June 24 against David Burton and his firm Burton and Kilgore, Attorneys At Law. The firm now is known as Burton, Kilgore & Baldwin, PLLC.
In the complaint, Walker says he and his late wife hired Burton in 1988 to draft a deed that would grant each party rights of survivorship to their property. That means one would become the sole owner upon the death of the other. They also prepared simultaneous wills that gave the property to his wife’s daughter Vicke Repass.
When Walker’s wife passed on July 3, 2014, her daughter Vicke Repass inherited the property. Walker was named in a 2015 civil lawsuit in which the dead prepared by Burton was held to be invalid.
“The document does not pass the statutory requirements for a valid deed with rights of survivorship,” the court order in that case states. “The document must manifestly appear from the tenor of the instrument that it was intended that the part of the one dying should then belong to the other.
“There are no operative words manifesting intent to transfer the property described in the instrument, such as ‘granting clause,’ and the document is devoid of any description of the property intended to be conveyed other than a reference to it being the same as the real estate conveyed in a previous deed.”
Thus, Walker contends, the court order shows Burton breached and/or neglected his reasonable duty.
Because of Burton’s actions, Walker has lost possession and right to occupy the property, the financial loss of the fair market value of the property, moving expenses, court costs and attorney fees as well as suffered embarrassment, aggravation and mental anguish.
He accuses Burton of professional malpractice and seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, incidental and consequential damages, court costs, attorney fees and other relief.
Walker is being represented by Kyle G. Lusk and Matthew A. Bradford of Lusk & Bradford in Beckley. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Derek Swope.
Mercer Circuit Court case number: 16-C-211