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Legal Ethics

W. Va. Lawyer ‘Settled’ 2 Bogus Cases, Bar Group Says

Posted May 26, 2009 11:27 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A West Virginia lawyer has surrendered her license to practice after state bar authorities accused her of "settling" two bogus cases that she falsely claimed to have filed on behalf of clients.

Attorney Jessica Toler had been charged in a legal ethics complaint with telling two clients that she had settled their cases for $65,000 and $250,000. In fact, the complaint by the state supreme court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel alleges, she never filed lawsuits on their behalf, reports the West Virginia Record.

Toler allegedly delayed filing a third client's petition for child support modification for over three years and then failed to refund a $750 retainer when he hired another attorney to do so.

A fourth client contends that Toler told him varying tale tales over a five-year period about a third bogus lawsuit she claimed to have filed. At one point, she allegedly told him he could expect $16 million from settlement proceeds in a medical malpractice case, reports another Record article.

Eventually, however, Toler allegedly told this fourth client that he had no money and no case. It appears that the medical malpractice action may have been time-barred.

Toler declined to comment when contacted by the Record.

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