CHARLESTON - Prior to his suspension and subsequent annulment, records show only a handful of complaints were lodged with C. Patrick Carrick in his 31-year legal career in which only one led to disciplinary action.
By all accounts, up until 2008 Carrick seemed to be having an exemplary career as an attorney. From time he was licensed in 1978 until 1987, no ethics complaints were filed against him.
Between 1987 and September 2008, things changed slightly for Carrick as seven clients complained about the quality of his representation. Of those, one case in 1997 led to Carrick being admonished for not timely turning a client's file over to another attorney.
In a complaint filed on March 28, 1997, Jerry L. Cochran of Morgantown alleged between Sept. 23, 1996, and Feb. 17, 1997, Charleston attorney Jeffery T. Jones made several requests that Carrick turn his file over to Jones. The complaint does not specify why Cochran changed attorneys or the nature of his lawsuit except it dealt with property damage.
In a letter dated Jan. 27, 1997, Carrick, who at the time was a partner in the Fairmont law firm of Manchin, Aloi and Carrick, acknowledged receipt of Jones' Jan. 22 letter, and apologized for not responding sooner. The previous requests, he said, "were inadvertently misplaced and did not make their way to my desk."
"I assure you that I will have the materials submitted to you by week's end," he said in concluding his letter.
When he didn't receive the file, Jones sent another letter dated Feb. 17, 1997, again asking for it. When they yielded no reply, Cochran filed his complaint
In his closing letter dated Sept. 4, 1998, David J. Romano, chairman of the Lawyer Disciplinary Board's investigative panel, noted that Carrick eventually turned Cochran's file over to Jones on June 6, 1997. Because of the eight-month delay, Carrick was admonished for violating Rule 1.16 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, declining or terminating representation.
Also, Carrick was admonished for violating Rule 8.1, failing to respond to the Bar's inquiry. In his closing, Romano said Carrick responded only after being served with a subpoena.