On September 12, 2023, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia issued an order suspending attorney M. Paul Marteney for 90 days following ethics violations.
The case is entitled “Lawyer Disciplinary Board vs. M. Paul Marteney” with case no. 22-817.
According to a news article published by wtap.com, Marteney held the position of Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Pleasants County for over ten years until he was removed from his post after officials in the Pleasants County Prosecutor’s Office discovered his suspension. The suspension was linked to Marteney’s private legal practice, according to an official from the prosecutor’s office.
In 2019, Marteney was hired to represent a client involved in a car accident. He received a filing fee and was engaged as the client’s attorney for a civil lawsuit in February 2019. However, Marteney became unresponsive to his client’s attempts to contact him, and this lack of communication persisted for more than a year. Documentation from the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia reveals that Marteney failed to respond to multiple contact attempts by the client.
By August 2020, the case was scheduled for dismissal due to inactivity. However, Marteney neglected to inform his client about the impending dismissal, as required, and the client only became aware of the dismissal over a year later. Consequently, in December 2021, Marteney’s client filed an ethics complaint with the West Virginia Lawyer Disciplinary Board. This complaint ultimately led to Marteney’s suspension.
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia ordered the suspension following a recommendation made by the Hearing Panel Subcommittee of the Lawyer Disciplinary Board. The recommendation also included conditions for Marteney’s reinstatement, compliance with certain legal mandates, and a refund of a filing fee to a specific individual.
The Office of Lawyer Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) consented to the recommendation, but Marteney neither consented nor objected to it. Following a review on September 7, 2023, the Supreme Court of Appeals approved the recommended disposition, concurring with the findings of the Hearing Panel Subcommittee.
As a result, Marteney’s license to practice law in West Virginia was suspended for ninety days, with automatic reinstatement afterward. He must also comply with specified duties during the suspension period, refund a filing fee, and cover the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.
The Disposition states:
“Upon consideration and review on September 7, 2023, the Court is of the opinion to and does concur with and approve the recommended disposition of the Hearing Panel Subcommittee of the Lawyer Disciplinary Board. It is ORDERED that: (1) The license to practice law in the State of West Virginia of the Respondent M. Paul Marteney is suspended for a period of ninety days from the date of this order.”
Mr. Marteney is a former Assistant Prosecutor at Pleasants County. He attended the West Virginia University College of Law, graduating in 1996. He acquired his law license in West Virginia in 1996. His bio can be found on LinkedIn.
A copy of an original filing can be found here.