Legal Ethics

Lawyer Suspended 3 Years for Overbilling Client by $135K

The West Virginia Supreme Court has suspended for three years an attorney who overbilled a client by $135,878.68 while working for a Huntington law firm.

A partner of Baker and Marstellar discovered during a routine audit in 2007 that Richard L. Lancianese, 50, who lives in Winston-Salem, N.C., had billed two insurers for the same work performed on behalf of BorgWarner Inc. An internal investigation then revealed additional issues, the Record reports.

Partner Roy Baker reported the discrepancies to the client, which resulted in ethics complaints against both Baker and Lancianese. Because Baker cooperated with the investigation and reimbursed BorgWarner, he was only admonished.

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