Lawyer is disbarred and suspended after he is accused of billing over 24 hours per day

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A West Virginia lawyer has been sanctioned after he was accused of billing more than 24 hours in a day, multiple times, for his representation of indigent clients.

In a Nov. 3 decision, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals accepted the petition for the disbarment of lawyer David R. Tyson of West Virginia in one ethics case and suspended him for three years in a second ethics case. Tyson was admitted to the bar in 1980.

The disbarment was for a case in which the allegations were not made public because of Tyson’s agreement to the license annulment.

The suspension was in the case alleging that Tyson overbilled the Public Defender Services Corp. The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ordered Tyson to allow the agency to withhold more than $58,000 in unpaid vouchers as restitution for prior overpayments and to refund $3,225 to a divorce client.

Tyson admitted to several allegations regarding the overbilling.

He admitted allegations in a first count that he charged more than 24 hours on each of four different days, and that he charged 15 hours or more on each day for an additional 11 days. He also admitted allegations in a second count that he charged more than 24 hours per day on three different days and 15 hours or more each day for an additional 25 days.

He also acknowledged failing to communicate the scope of his representation and the basis of his fee with one client. But he did not admit wrongdoing for failing to file a divorce case for another client who paid him more than $3,225. He said the failure to file was due to the client’s indecision.

A hearing panel subcommittee found that Tyson failed to abide by the divorce client’s decisions concerning the objectives of representation.

Tyson didn’t immediately respond to the ABA Journal’s voicemail and email seeking comment.

Hat tip to the Legal Profession Blog.

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