Tyson In Arrears on Paying Disciplinary Costs

Lawrence J. Smith
Accompanied by fellow Huntington attorney Scott Bellomy, left, David Tyson arrives at his March 2019 hearing before a Lawyer Disciplinary Board subcommittee to answer charges why he failed to timely repay a client's retainer.
Accompanied by fellow Huntington attorney Scott Bellomy, left, David Tyson arrives at his March 2019 hearing before a Lawyer Disciplinary Board subcommittee to answer charges why he failed to timely repay a client's retainer.
Since he was publically reprimanded for it a year ago by the state Supreme Court, Tyson has failed to remit payment for the nearly $500 he was ordered to pay covering the costs of the related disciplinary proceeding.

Charleston - A year after he was sanctioned for failing to timely refund a former client's retainer, a Huntington attorney has failed to pay the costs of the related disciplinary proceeding. 

The state Supreme Court on Sept. 9, 2019 accepted the recommendation of the Lawyer Disciplinary Board's Hearing Panel Subcommittee, and publically reprimanded David R. Tyson for his lack of diligence in returning nearly $700 to Ronald Carson, Sr.  The Court's decision stemmed from an ethics complaint Carson filed against Tyson taking issue with the work he performed in defending his son, Ronald Carson, Jr., on criminal charges.

According to court records, including the Oct. 12, 2018 statement of charges, and the panel's June 11, 2019 report, Carson, Jr. was indicted in August 2015 by a Cabell County grand jury for DUI casing death, and negligent homicide.  The previous April, Carson, after taking Xanax, struck Justin Ryan Parsons as he was driving his motorcycle on Ohio River Rd. in Lesage.  

At the time, Carson was employed by the Cabell County Commission as the courthouse’s internet technology director.

In 2017, a jury found Carson guilty on both charges. 

In his complaint, the elder Carson took issue with the scope of Tyson's representation.  Specifically, he said since the only meaningful work Tyson performed was to waive the younger's preliminary hearing, the total bill should've amounted to around $1,000. 

Though its investigative panel disagreed, and dismissed Carson's complaint on Jan. 27, 2018, the Board later instructed Tyson to refund Carson $654.75 of the $5,000 retainer.  When he failed to do, the Board charged Tyson with violating the Rules of Professional Conduct dealing with responding to a lawful demand for information, and terminating representation. 

According to the hearing panel's report, Tyson paid Carson on Dec. 12, 2018 after a check he sent on Nov. 20 was returned for non-sufficient funds. 

At the March 7, 2019 hearing before the panel, Tyson took full responsibility for the snafu.  By way of explanation, Tyson said the delay in repaying Carson was caused first by dealing with the illness, and subsequent death of his mother, then a long-term absence caused by the illness of his office assistant.

In addition to the reprimand, the Court ordered Tyson to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.  According to a letter filed Sept. 23, 2019 with the Clerk's Office, the amount totaled $488.88.

"I can affirmatively tell you that he has not paid his costs as of today," said Chief Lawyer Disciplinary Counsel Rachael L. Fletcher Cipoletti.

Though there is not an outside deadline for them to repay, Cipoletti said attorneys who  are active members of the Bar, are expected to pay costs promptly.  Those who don't, or have not entered into a payment plan, she said face additional disciplinary action via a contempt charge.

Repeated messages left with Tyson's attorney, D. Scott Bellomy, seeking a comment for the unpaid disciplinary bill were not returned. 

 

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, case number 18-0887

 

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