CHARLESTON – A South Charleston man is suing prominent Charleston lawyer Scott Segal, saying Segal and his wife -- West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis -- have conspired against him to keep him from practicing law.
Davis S. Harless filed the lawsuit March 16 in Kanawha Circuit Court. He's representing himself.
Harless says he's a member of the state bars of West Virginia and North Carolina and had practiced law in Charleston and Charlotte, N.C., from 1993 to 2004.
In 2001, Harless says he began "preaching the word of God" in Charleston and all across the United States. Harless says he's a Christian who was baptized in Dunbar as a youth.
In January 2004, Harless said he left a written note at Segal's law office "that was designed to spread God's word." Harless notes that Segal is Jewish by faith.
Subsequent to the note being left, Harless claims Segal and Davis conspired and agreed they would strip him of his law license and law practice. According to the complaint, Segal contacted the State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel and complained about the note.
The State Bar's disciplinary counsel lodged a complaint with the state Supreme Court, which, Harless says, held an ex parte "emergency" hearing regarding his conduct. The Supreme Court suspended Harless' law license on Jan. 29, 2004, two days after the hearing.
Then in 2005, Harless says Segal testified against him before North Carolina State Bar officials. Harless says North Carolina is a "right to work" state and Segal illegally interfered with his right to work there.
In August 2005, the North Carolina State Bar suspended Harless' law license, the complaint says.
Harless says he petitioned the West Virginia Supreme Court to have his law license reinstated on April 30, 2008, but the court denied the petition in September.
Harless said he was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2001 and receives benefits through Social Security. But, Harless says, he's expected to try to work.
"The West Virginia Supreme Court is knowingly in violation of federal law because the court refuses to give (Harless) the opportunity to work or even a fair hearing as required by the United States Constitution," the complaint says.
Besides himself, Harless says his three children -– aged 22, 17 and 5 years -– have suffered because of his inability to practice law.
"Judges and lawyers that refuse to abide by the United States Constitution are a dangerous threat to American society," Harless opines.
Harless believes Segal, Davis, W.Va. State Bar Displinary Counsel Rachael Cipoletti and Charles "Skip" Garten, who heads the Supreme Court's judicial investigation office "are corrupt. They should be disbarred."
Harless goes on to blame Jennifer Porter at the N.C. State Bar of conspiring with "these corrupt lawyers and fabricated that (Harless) thought he was Jesus Christ when he was preaching." He says Porter also should be punished.
Harless is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
The case is pending before Kanawha Circuit Judge Louis Bloom.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-465