WVU Foundation wants payment from lawyer

By John O'Brien | Oct 13, 2006


MORGANTOWN - The West Virginia University Foundation has filed suit in Monongalia Circuit Court seeking payment from a lawyer who recently had his license annulled.

John Patrick Ball is the defendant in the suit, filed Oct. 6 in Monongalia Circuit Court. The complaint asks for $419,163.61.

"Defendant has benefited in the amount of the oversight fees... paid by Plaintiff to Defendant and not repaid by Defendant to Plaintiff," the complaint says.

The state Supreme Court ruled in June that Ball had to repay more than $2 million he received from the estates of two clients. He was the executor of the estates of two sisters who left $18.4 million to the WVU Foundation, one of the largest gifts in school history.

The High Court decided that Ball had taken too much money out of the estates for himself and that he had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Lawyer Disciplinary Board had recommended Ball's license be suspended for five years, reduce his annual fee for overseeing the funds bequeathed to the foundation and pay it $500,000 after his license became reinstated.

The Supreme Court, however, decided to be more harsh. It annulled his law license and ordered him to pay full restitution. Now, the foundation says he's shown no sign of paying it back.

"Although Mr. Ball's conduct did not technically constitute misappropriation of clients' funds, the practical effect of his conduct was no different from that of misappropriation," the Supreme Court said.

The foundation's complaint also says that Ward stone, the newly appointed administrator of the estates, plans to bring the matter up with the Supreme Court.

"Nevertheless, to enforce and preserve all rights it may have related to the required restitution to Plaintiff of the oversight fees, Plaintiff is filing this complaint in aid of such restitution," the foundation says.

Taunja Willis-Miller of Jackson Kelly's Martinsburg office is representing the plaintiff.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number 06-C-649

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