27 Nov 2014

Ex-Dinsmore partner let off controversial client sex ethics case

A former office head at Dinsmore & Shohl who asked the state supreme court to suspend him was let off by the judges in a case involving a sexual relationship with a former client.

Charleston, West Virginia

Judges in the case of the former head of the Charleston, West Virginia office were split 3-2. The majority opinion held that John Hussell did not begin his relationship with a woman until three months after he finished representing her and her husband on an estate planning matter. 

Sullied reputation of justice

But the lawyer himself had suggested a 90-day suspension. And dissenting judge, Justice Allan Loughry, questioned this understanding of the timing of events, saying it disregarded 'the factual findings' and that  the reputation of the West Virginia legal system would be 'sullied' as a result. Justice Loughry said that Mr Hussell was acting for the couple at the same time as he was conducting a sexual relationship with the wife. The firm has some 500 lawyers in 16 cities in the US. Source: ABA