Four more lawsuits filed against Charleston attorney

By Kyla Asbury | May 1, 2015

CHARLESTON – Four more lawsuits have been filed against Charleston attorney R. Michael Martin for failing to pay plaintiffs their full settlements.

Florence Hudnall Stanley, Susan M. Scott, Theresa S. Brown and Roger D. Barker all retained Martin as counsel to represent them in their separate lawsuits, according to four complaints filed March 18 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

In each of their cases, Martin negligently failed to provide them with all of their settlement funds.

Stanley was seriously injured in a car crash that occurred on Aug. 8, 2006, in which she sustained injuries while a passenger in a vehicle that was struck by another vehicle and she retained Martin to file a lawsuit against Ashley Dawn Braff on Aug. 8, 2008, in Fayette Circuit Court.

The defendant settled Stanley's claim and received $120,000 from insurance coverage and another $25,000 of medical pay coverage. From the $120,000, Martin took a fee of $40,000 and reimbursed himself $528.40 out of the settlement funds for expenses advanced in prosecuting the claim, according to her suit.

Stanley claims she provided Martin with letters of protection to various healthcare providers, including one to Charleston Area Medical Center for $42,354.99 and one to Bone & Joint Surgeons for $8,635.

Martin failed to honor the letters of protection and made disbursement of monies received from the settlement, according to her suit. The failure to honor the letters of protection was negligent and caused undue hardship to Stanley in that it has harmed her credit and she has never been able to borrow money as a result of the outstanding bad debts.

Stanley claims Martin has negligently failed to make distribution of the $26,836.60 which is still owed to her.

Rather than make lump-sum payments to Stanley for settlement monies owed to her, Martin has made payments over time to her, beginning with $1,000 on Sept. 13, 2006, then over a period of approximately four years and two months, he has made payments as low as $200 and as much as $5,000, totaling $77,000.

Stanley claims when she complained she did not think she had received all of her money, the defendant made  a payment of $635, but has still failed to pay her the additional $26,836.60.

Scott claims she retained Martin as her attorney on Sept. 9, 2013, and in June, he settled her claim in an amount believed to be $60,000, however, Scott has not received all the money and has instead only received $10,500.

Martin also failed to honor liens owed to Medicare or Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Brown, who was injured in a vehicle accident in 2008, retained Martin and he negotiated a settlement, however, before the settlement was consummated, Martin negligently allowed the two-year statute of limitations to run out.

Prior to the negligence, Martin and the insurance company had reached an agreement of $25,000, according to her suit.

Barker retained Martin as counsel on Sept. 14, 2012, to represent him in a lawsuit against Robert Allen Light and James L. Light.

Barker claims without his permission, Martin settled his case and received $100,000 of liability insurance and $100,000 of underinsurance.

Martin sent Barker a few checks, totaling approximately $30,000, but has failed to provide him with the rest of his settlement, according to this suit.

Despite multiple phone calls, the defendant has put the plaintiffs off on numerous occasions.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages. She is being represented by R. Edison Hill of Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler PLLC.

Murphy and his firm have been named in at least four other similar suits this year. Also, he and the firm have been named in other lawsuits for nonpayment of phone book ads and for failing to vacate property owned by a bank.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-543, 15-C-544, 15-C-545, 15-C-546

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