CHARLESTON – Prominent Charleston lawyer Scott Segal wants a circuit judge disqualified from hearing a lawsuit brought against him by a man who says a conspiracy based on faith has kept him from practicing law in West Virginia.
David Harless filed a lawsuit March 15 against Segal in Kanawha Circuit Court, claiming that Segal, his wife, West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis and others have conspired to keep his law license under suspension here because he left a religious note "designed to spread God's word" at Segal's office in 2001.
Harless notes in his lawsuit that Segal is Jewish by faith and reported the note to officials who eventually suspended Harless' law license.
Now Segal says that because Kanawha Circuit Judge Louis Bloom is also Jewish, he should not be hearing the case.
Through attorney Marvin Masters, Segal filed a motion for Bloom's disqualification on April 24. Segal has also filed an answer to Harless' complaint and a motion to dismiss.
A scheduling conference on the case is currently set for May 6.
Segal says that Harless has approached him in the past in such a manner that he is afraid for his safety. Segal adds that Harless wanted to convert him to Christianity. Segal claims that Harless has made similarly threatening overtures to at least three other Jewish lawyers in the area.
Segal's defense, according to his motion, will include numerous members of the Jewish community who have felt threatened by Harless' actions. Some of them will testify that they have talked to the police about the encounters, Segal says.
Segal believes that if Harless loses in the lawsuit, he will blame it on a conspiracy between people in the Jewish community and prolong the litigation.
"It is clear from the plaintiff's past conduct that he has no belief that a member of the Jewish community who has 'not been saved' can give him fair consideration and (this belief) may deprive the defendant of a speedy and just defense of his good name and reputation," Segal's motion says.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-465