CHARLESTON – A Cabell County attorney has been suspended for a series of inappropriate telephone conversations he had with a former client's wife.

The state Supreme Court on Nov. 22 indefinitely suspended David D. Perry. The Court's action came following an investigation that he over the telephone solicited sexual favors from Christine Cline-Tidwell while representing her husband, Christopher, on drug-related charges in Mingo County

According to a statement of charges issued against him by the Lawyer Disciplinary Board, Perry, a sole practitioner in downtown Huntington, began representing Christopher in March 2009 after Christine made a partial payment on a $7,500 retainer.

Shortly thereafter, Perry had a series of conversations with Christine concerning paying the balance of the legal fees. In at least one of the calls, Perry solicited oral sex from her.

According to the statement, during one of the calls, Perry asked Christine to come to Huntington while telling Christine he "was just thinking how pretty [her] mouth looked yesterday." Also, Perry asked her, among other things, if she thought "about sucking [his] d--k yesterday?"

Later on April 3, Perry sent Christopher a letter informing him of a plea offer, and the balance of the legal fees was due. In the letter, Perry said the balance needed to be paid by April 6 or he would withdraw from the case.

According to the statement, Perry on the day he said he would be dropping Christopher as a client received a phone call from Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks. In the course of the call, Sparks informed Perry that Christine apparently recorded the phone calls between them.

Two days later, Perry met with Christopher at the jail, and informed him of the allegations Christine leveled against him. However, because the balance of his legal fees remained unpaid, Perry said he was withdrawing from the case.

According to the statement, Perry filed a motion to withdraw on April 10 citing "an irreparable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship." Three days later, Perry failed to appear at a hearing before Judge Michael Thornsberry to put his motion to withdraw on the record.

After another attorney was appointed to represent him, and he pled guilty to a charge of information, Christopher filed a complaint against Perry with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Despite his denials that he offered oral sex to Christine or that there was any phone sex between them, some evidence to the contrary existed as on the charges against him was making false representations to ODC during its investigation.

Also, the Board charged Perry with violating Rules dealing with conflict of interest, declining or terminating representation, impartiality and decorum in the tribunal, misconduct and Bar admission and disciplinary matters.

In placing Perry, who was first admitted to the Bar on March 9, 1999, on indefinite suspension, the Court said he could formally petition for readmission in three years. As a condition of any reinstatement, the Court said Perry would have his practice supervised for two years, undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and follow all the treatment recommendations and pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding.

Following the statement of charges, Perry petitioned the Court for a voluntary resignation from the Bar. However, only Justice Menis E. Ketchum voted to accept it.

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals case number 10-4006

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