Court suspends 48 attorneys for CLE violations

By Lawrence Smith | Oct 14, 2011

CHARLESTON -– Nearly 50 attorneys have had their careers put on hold for failing to take required continuing legal education.

The state Supreme Court on July 8 ordered that 48 lawyers be suspended for failing to provide proof by July 31, 2010, they took the required 24 hours of continuing education between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2010. According to the Court's order, the suspensions took effect Aug. 8 and will remain in effect until the attorneys take the necessary education and pay the state Bar a late fee.

Included on the list is Anthony F. Serreno, former law partner with Mark A. Hunt in the Charleston law firm of Hunt and Serreno. In 2007, the pair parted company and formed separate firms.

Also on the list is Morgantown attorney Timothy D. Houston. In 2007, Houston gained notoriety when he filed a lawsuit seeking $10 million from McDonald's when employees at its Star City location failed to remove cheese from a man's cheeseburger.

Two other attorneys on the list, Michael A. Esposito, of Logan, and Dennis S. Morgan, Jr. of Oceana, have pending ethics charges against them.

In December, the Lawyer Disciplinary Board charged Esposito with 11 violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct for failing to take timely action in two unrelated personal injury suits, and answering the inquires of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. The Board's findings into the charges, and proposed sanctions are pending.

The Board in May recommended Morgan be reprimanded, and placed on a two-year supervised practice for mishandling the cases of four clients. It also recommended he pay them a combined $7,665.15 in restitution.

Last month, the Court heard oral arguments in the Board's case against Morgan. Its decision is pending.

Originally, the Bar's Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission on Feb. 1 petitioned the Court to suspend the licenses of 113 attorneys who failed to provide proof they'd taken the required hours.

By the time the Court considered the Bar's petition on June 17, the list was trimmed to 48.

The 44 other attorneys who were suspended are J. Edward Agee, Rami M. Awadallah, Elizabeth D. Beall, Woodrow H. Berry, Michael T. Blevins, Adam J. Bullian, Chad D. Camper, F. Scott Caudill, Patrick K. Cavanaugh, Mark P. Chaksupa, Gordon C. Chin, Todd J. Clark, William B. Collins, John N. Cox, Amy S. Cunningham, Catherine R. Dale, Jeffrey A. Davis, Vickie R. Dodd, Marvin L. Downing, Charles W. Ferguson, IV, Kenneth J. Ford, Eunice L. Green, Joseph T. Harvey, Milton T. Herndon, Donald R. Jarrell, Sandra L. Kozera, Gordon C. Lane, Nicole L. Mangino, Michael V. Marlow, Joseph P. Montalto, Brenton M. Morehead, Gavin M. O'Connor, L. Robert Pettini, David A. Riggi, William H. Roberts, II, Michael E. Schmidt, Yahon L. Smith, Richard G. Solomon, Todd M. Sponseller, Paul A. Tappert, J. Michael Weber, Jessica L. Wehrle, Robert D. Williams and David O. Williamson.

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals case number 11-0180

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