West Virginia Supreme Court orders annulment of Chapmanville lawyer's license
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) —
The West Virginia Supreme Court ordered that a Chapmanville lawyer’s license be annulled after he was accused of having sex with a client and providing her with drugs and alcohol, causing her to violate terms of her probation.
In an opinion issued Thursday, the court ordered the annulment of the license of attorney Benjamin F. White and said he should pay the costs of the legal proceedings.
White was hired by a woman after she was charged with one count of felony child neglect in April 2015, the opinion said. She said he never discussed his fee arrangement but took her on out-of-town trips during which he provided her with alcohol and drugs, causing her to violate terms of her probation, and had sexual relations with her, according to court documents.
The woman reported his conduct, and he was removed as her counsel in June 2015. White was charged with violation of six provisions of professional conduct, but he failed to respond to the formal statement of charges, court documents said.
Following a hearing at which White and the woman testified, the Hearing Panel Committee of the Lawyer Disciplinary Board recommended that White be suspended from law practice for five years.
The Supreme Court said it ordered that his license be annulled, however, because of his “egregious conduct” and his failure to file a “responsive brief” to the court.
Below is the court's order: