CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has issued an order suspending the law license of a Lewisburg attorney.
The Supreme Court entered the order on April 4, stating that Douglas H. Arbuckle failed to keep one of his clients fully informed of legal proceeds and improperly billed him.
On Feb. 9, the Hearing Panel Subcommittee of the Lawyer Disciplinary Board presented the court with its written recommendation, which was that Arbuckle’s law license be suspended for three months, that he reimburse Public Defender Services for wrongful billing, that he receive medical clearance to return to practice, that he contact the Lawyer Assistance Program for help regarding medical issues, that he comply with the mandates of Rule 3.28, that he no longer accept habeas cases, that he be on a year’s probation with supervised practice following his suspension and that he be ordered to pay the costs of these proceedings.
On March 12, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel consented to the recommendations.
The Supreme Court agreed with the recommended sanctions.
Arbuckle failed to keep Melvin A. Propps informed regarding his habeas case. Arbuckle was Propps’ attorney beginning in 2013. Propps filed a complaint against Arbuckle in 2016 for failing to communicate with him.
Arbuckle failed to move Propps’ case forward since initially filing the original petition in April 2013 until he was relieved as counsel in June 2016.
The court found that Arbuckle lacked competence and diligence in the matter and failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of his case.
In his response, which was filed in January, Arbuckle noted that due to his failing health, he had had issues while he was working on Propps’ case.
Arbuckle requested his punishment be a public reprimand due to the mitigating circumstances of his health issues.
W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals case number: 17-0520