CHARLESTON – The southern West Virginia attorney has had his law license suspended by the state Supreme Court.
The order was entered on Jan. 8 and immediately suspends Stephen D. Paesani law license, pursuant to a petition filed under Rule 3.27 of the Rules of Lawyer Disciplinary Procedure.
The court also ordered that Mercer Chief Judge William Sadler appoint an attorney to serve as trustee to protect the interests of Paesani's clients.
On Dec. 19, the Lawyer Disciplinary Counsel presented its petition seeking the immediate suspension of Paesani's law license, according to the order.
The court agreed with the petition and granted it, which suspended his law license in West Virginia.
Sadler is now authorized to appoint an attorney to protect the interests of Paesani's clients.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed a petition seeking temporary suspension of Paesani's law license on Dec. 19, claiming it committed violations of the West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct and posed a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public.
On April 11, Cpl. James R. Baker with the West Virginia State Police issued Paesani a citation of operating a vehicle without evidence of registration and for driving while his license was suspended or revoked.
On May 5, Paesani requested additional time to file a motion to dismiss the charged violations and on May 22, he came to the Magistrate Court of Monroe County to discuss the charged violations with Magistrate Kevin Miller and submitted his motion for dismiss.
Miller requested Jennifer Cameron, his assistant, schedule a hearing date for Paesani and Cameron personally handed him a notice to appear for June 24.
On June 24, Paesani failed to appear at the hearing and on Aug. 25, he contacted the magistrate court, stating that he wanted to file a motion to continue the matter, that he was embarrassed by the entire situation and that he would come in by the end of the week, according to the petition.
On Sept. 8, a notice to appear was mailed to Paesani for a hearing date of Oct. 1, which he also failed to attend. The hearing was rescheduled for Oct. 29.
On Oct. 16, Paesani was indicted by a grant jury in Mercer County on charges of embezzlement by misuse of power of attorney or other fiduciary relationship. A hearing was scheduled for Oct. 27, to which he failed to appear.
Paesani also failed to appear at the Oct. 29 hearing for the motor vehicle citations.
On Nov. 24, Paesani was suspended by the West Virginia State Bar for non-payment of membership fees.
Paesani has not been apprehended and his whereabouts are unknown, according to the petition.
"Because respondent has disappeared and/or abandoned his law practice and because no partner, executor or other responsible party capable of conducting respondent's affairs is known to exist, the interests of his clients must be protected," the petition states.
W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals case number: 14-1301