CHARLESTON – Though suspended in his home state, an Ohio attorney's license to practice law in West Virginia, at least for the next few months, remains valid.
The state Supreme Court on Jan. 12 refused to accept the recommendation of its Lawyer Disciplinary Board that the Court mirror the discipline the Ohio Supreme Court meted out to Norman L. Folwell. On July 6, the Ohio high court ordered that Folwell, 46, a sole practitioner in Marietta, be suspended for two years.
However, the Court ordered the second year be stayed provided Folwell commit no further acts of misconduct, and he practice for a year supervised by another attorney. The Court's decision came following a seven-count statement of charges filed by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline on Sept. 23, 2010, accused Folwell of, among other things, settling a minor's lawsuit without getting prior approval of the probate court, and later co-mingling the settlement proceeds, and sharing the portion of legal fees in separate cases with his secretary.
The Court recommended the two-year conditional suspension based the fact Folwell, who was first admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1991, had no prior disciplinary history.
The West Virginia Board on Nov. 30 made its recommendation to accept the Ohio Court's decision. The recommendation came Folwell's failure to notify the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of his suspension within 10 days, and efforts to notify him via U.S. Mail of his ability to contest it were unsuccessful.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Folwell's case on May 22.
Though his license remains valid in West Virginia, Folwell, who was admitted to the state Bar on Oct. 9, 2003, has been placed on an administrative suspension for failing to pay his annual Bar dues and to disclose if he has malpractice insurance.
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals case number 11-1279