West Virginia Record

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Bar wants Morgantown attorney held in contempt

By Lawrence Smith | Jan 23, 2009

CHARLESTON -- The state Bar is asking the state Supreme Court to suspend the license of a Morgantown attorney for failing to comply with the terms of Court's recent order disciplining her.

Among the cases on the Court's Feb. 3 argument docket is State ex. rel. Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Joan A. Mooney. ODC, the Bar's investigative arm, has petitioned the Court to hold Mooney in contempt for violating the Court's May 22 order in her disciplinary case.

In its order, the Court admonished Mooney for her failure to diligently pursue a lawsuit she filed on behalf Raymond Wood in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg against Prudential Insurance for denying his late wife's claim for long-term disability benefits.

Mooney's admonishment also included her failure to communicate with Wood about the case, and reply to ODC's repeated requests, including two under subpoena, she provide a sworn statement to the complaint Wood filed against her on Nov. 6, 2006.

In addition to the admonishment, the Court also ordered that Mooney, who was admitted to the Bar on May 17, 1983, have her practice supervised for a year, undergo comprehensive psychological counseling to include specific discussion of failing to reply to ODC's inquiries, take six additional hours of continuing education with an emphasis of ethics/office management and pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding. The cost of the proceeding, records show, was $2,279.96.

According to its petition, ODC sent Mooney a letter on July 8 reminding her to nominate a supervising attorney. Included in the letter was a draft supervision agreement, and release for her medical records.

Also, ODC asked for Mooney to provide proof she'd completed the additional continuing education credits, and remit payment for the disciplinary proceeding.

When it did not receive a reply to it's July 8 letter, ODC sent a second letter to Mooney on Aug. 15. Again, Mooney did not reply

Additionally, ODC sent two letters dated June 18 and Aug. 18 via certified mail asking her to respond by June 30 and Aug. 29, respectfully, to a complaint filed against her by Paula J. Wamsley on May 12. Records show, both letters were returned "unclaimed."

Because it is still under investigation, it is unclear as the nature of Wamsley's complaint.

Nevertheless, in its petition ODC is asking the Court to immediately suspend Mooney's license until she provides ODC the information it is seeking.

Records show Mooney has been administratively suspended by the Bar for failing to pay her annual dues and disclose whether she has professional liability insurance.

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, Case Nos. 34592 (contempt petition) and 33595 (admonishment)

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