Legal malpractice suit filed against former St. Albans attorney

By John O'Brien | Aug 18, 2006

CHARLESTON - A Dunbar couple says their attorney failed to execute an examination of the history of a property they were trying to purchase.

Fatiema and Walter Wilkerson says Jeremiah McCormick, who formerly worked as the St. Albans City Attorney, did not mention a Workers' Compensation Lien filed on their Dunbar property before they purchased it.

They filed the suit Aug. 9 in Kanawha Circuit Court. In Feb. 2005, they say they applied for a loan using their property as collateral, but were shocked to find the lien.

They say they had hired McCormick in 1999 to perform a 60-year title examination on the property and paid him $375.

"Defendant's conduct in negligently examining title to the property and in failing to discover the existence of the Workers' Compensation Lien, which was record Feb. 25, 1999, was a breach of Defendant's duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence on Plaintiffs' behalf," the complaint says.

The Wilkersons claim to have been damaged in the amount of $128,000 and are seeking compensation plus court costs.

"As a result of Defendant's negligent failure to properly conduct the title examination, discover the encumbrance and notify Plaintiffs of its existence prior to the purchase of the property, Plaintiffs have sustained injury and loss," the complaint says. "But for the negligence of the defendant, such damages would not have occurred."

The Wilkersons are represented by Dunbar attorney Willie Jones, Jr.

McCormick was ousted as City Attorney in 2005 by St. Albans Mayor Greg Jones. He was replaced by Charles Riffee.

Judge Tod Kaufman has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-1580

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