CHARLESTON – The state Supreme Court has changed its mind, and suspended a Marietta, Ohio, attorney.
The Court on June 7 ordered Norman Folwell suspended for two years with the second year stayed provided he commit no further acts of misconduct and agree to have his practice supervised by another attorney. The Court's order mirrored that given to Folwell by the Ohio Supreme Court nearly a year ago.
On July 6, the Ohio high court first ordered the conditional suspension based on a seven-count statement of charges filed against him by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline on Sept. 23, 2010. The statement accused Folwell, 46, 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 Board recommended the conditional suspension based on Folwell's lack of prior disciplinary actions since his admission to the Ohio Bar in 1991.
For reasons not stated, the Supreme Court on Jan. 12 initially decided not to accept the recommendation of its Lawyer Disciplinary Board that it issue reciprocal discipline against Folwell. The Court heard from the Board and Folwell on May 22.
During oral arguments, Folwell did not contest any of the allegations and agreed he should receive the same conditional suspension in West Virginia as he did in Ohio. Despite his failure to notify the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel of his Ohio license suspension within10 days, the Court decided to go ahead and accept the Board's recommendation.
Prior to the Court's order, Folwell's license was administratively suspended Dec. 21 for failing to pay his 2011-12 state Bar dues.
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals case number 11-1279