Hayhurst reprimanded in '96 for unauthorized practice in Ohio

By Lawrence Smith | Oct 23, 2009

CHARLESTON - A suspension was not the only punishment meted out to Richard A. Hayhurst in 1996. Records show the state Supreme Court rebuked him for practicing law without a license in Ohio.

The Court on Aug. 2, 1996, reprimanded Hayhurst less than a month before his three-month suspension was to conclude for pleading guilty in April 1996 for failing to file his 1991 tax return. The reprimand came in response to Hayhurst signing a former associate's name to a pleading in a Marietta, Ohio civil case without her permission or him having a valid license to practice there.

According to court records, Hayhurst on April 5, 1995, signed M. Catherine McKay's name to an answer and third-party complaint in the case of Criss v. Haddix in Washington County Court of Common Pleas. No other details about the case are stated except it was filed a month earlier.

In its ruling, the Court said that though McKay and Hayhurst discussed the case, they "did not have a clear meeting of the minds with regard to the specific circumstances under which Ms. McKay would agree to associate with Respondent [Hayhurst] as legal counsel in Ohio cases." Also, the Court said Hayhurst clearly signed McKay's name to the pleading "without first notifying or receiving her specific permission to do so."

The incident apparently caused friction between the two as by the time the Court issued its ruling, it noted McKay "had previously been an associated in Respondent's firm." Along with the reprimand, the Court ordered that Hayhurst reimburse her for all travel and work-related expenses while she was employed with him.

Also, the Court ordered Hayhurst to comply with Ohio's rules for admission if he wished to practice law there, and issue an apology to Judge Ed Lane for his conduct. After finding out Hayhurst was not authorized to practice law in Ohio, and signed McKay's name to the pleading, he struck it from the record declaring it "a sham," and ordered Hayhurst to pay court costs.

According to the Court's ruling, this was not the first time Hayhurst had a run-in with Lane. On Feb. 1, 1991 Lane instructed Hayhurst to comply with Ohio's admission rules when he filed a motion to dismiss, answer and counter claim in the case of Bartmess vs. Haynes in Marietta Municipal Court.

Like in the Haddix case, the Supreme Court said "The Court [of Common Pleas] ordered all pleadings filed by Respondent to be stricken, in part, because he was not licensed to practice law in Ohio."

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, case number 23413

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