CHARLESTON - After 2 1/2 years in business together, a Kanawha County attorney is wanting to call it quits with his law partner.
Charleston attorney Shawn R. Romano on Aug. 13 filed suit against his law partner Michael A. Olivio. In his complaint filed in Kanawha Circuit Court, Romano alleges Olivio is not granting his desire to dissolve the Romano & Olivio law firm.
According to court records, Romano & Olivio was formed on Jan. 26, 2007 as "an at will member-managed, professional limited liability corporation" in which both Romano and Olivio "were each allocated 50 percent of the ownership interest in the PLLC." The firm's office has always been at 813 Quarrier Street in Charleston.
Ever since the firm's creation, there has not been a formal operating agreement. Instead, both "have always divided the income and expenses of the firm on a 50/50 percent basis."
According to the suit, Romano assumed managerial responsibilities for the firm including payroll, business and occupation taxes, insurance, accounts payable and receivable, etc. Also, both agreed that all clients were considered "a client of the firm, rather than a client of the individual member of the firm."
Records show on June 12, Romano presented Olivio with a letter announcing his decision to dissolve the firm. Doing so, Romano claims, "caused the PLLC to be dissolved."
However, Olivio disputes the fact that the June 12 letter formally dissolved the firm. Though no specifics are provided, Romano's suit alleges Olivio "has refused to participate in the winding up of the PLLC's business and has taken steps which are inconsistent with, and disruptive to, the interests of the clients of the firm, and the orderly expeditions [sic] winding up of the PLLC's business."
At this point, Romano is not seeking any monetary damages, but is asking the court to supervise the firm's dissolution.
According to the firm's Web site, Romano & Olivio specializes in personal injury, employment law and small business litigation. Before moving to Charleston, both Romano, 38, and Olivio, 41, were born and raised in northern West Virginia, and received their law degrees from West Virginia University in 1997 and 1998, respectfully.
Romano is represented by Larry A. Winter with the Charleston law firm of Winter Johnson & Hill. The case is assigned to Judge James C. Stucky.
Kanawha Circuit Court, Case No. 09-C-1499