West Virginia Record

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Lawyer's estate seeks payments from his firm

By Chris Dickerson | Feb 9, 2006

CHARLESTON – The executor of the estate of a Charleston attorney seeks nearly $700,000 from the firm in which the lawyer was an equity partner.

Wilbur L. Thaxton, as executor of the estate of Everette F. Thaxton, filed the lawsuit Jan. 24 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The suit says Everette F. Thaxton was an equity partner in Thaxton & Johnstone LLC, which is listed as a defendant. He owned 50 percent of the firm, and defendant Charles M. Johnstone II owned the other half.

Thaxton, who did Sept. 7, 2004, signed an agreement with Johnstone dated Jan. 1, 2004, stating that provided for the retirement of Thaxton's financial stake in the partnership.

Johnstone acquired all of Thaxton's partnership interest in the firm and "obligated himself to use his resulting 100 percent controlling interest to cause Thaxton & Johnstone LLP to pay $750,000 to the decedent in installments."

Those installments, according to the agreement, were $200,000 in 2004, $200,00 in 2005, $200,000 in 2006 and $150,000 in 2007.

Thaxton retired from the firm on May 14, 2004, according to the suit. Before his death on Sept. 7, 2004, the firm paid him $70,626.

However, the suit says no payments have been made under the agreement since Thaxton's death.

The suit, filed by Charleston attorney Willam H. Scharf, says the firm had the privilege to declare a moratorium of installment payments if the exceeded 50 percent of its net income for the calendar year.

The firm waived that stipulation for 2004 and 2005, according to the suit.

The plaintiff seeks to have defendants Thaxton & Johnstone or Johnstone himself to pay $400,000 for the 2004 and 2005 installments minus the $70,626 already paid, plus pre-judgment interest. He also requests the installments for 2006 and 2007 as they become due.

He requests a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis "Duke" Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 06-C-116

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