A Savannah advocate has been disbarred for accepting $15,000 in a claimed abrasion case afterwards cogent his applicant and now faces accuse in State Cloister that he filed a apocryphal badge report.
At the affection of the sanctions adjoin Joseph B. Ervin is the administration of his assurance account, which is declared to authority applicant money alone from his added accounts. Ervin bootless to drop the $15,000 adjustment from the case into his assurance annual and afterwards biased that actuality to the Probate Court, according to the Supreme Cloister of Georgia accommodation disbarring him.
“In my claimed acquaintance as an advocate of 18 years, this is a actual attenuate occurrence,” said Louisa Abbot, a advocate who filed the affliction with the State Bar of Georgia that ultimately led to Ervin’s September disbarment. “Every advocate I accept anytime formed with is anxiously accurate about his or her assurance account. It’s your client’s money and you can’t use your client’s money for your own claimed benefit. That’s aloof basic.”
In addition aberration on the case, Ervin filed a badge address in August adjoin a Coffer of America employee. He claimed she aria back she presented a coffer almanac at a State Bar antidotal audition that showed his escrow annual had bereft funds, according to badge reports.
But Chatham County Badge Department Sgt. Owen Ferguson bent that Ervin had biased the facts, so he arrested him and answerable him with filing a apocryphal badge report. In the case, Ervin could face up to $1,000 in fines and a year in jail.
Ervin did not appearance up in cloister this anniversary to acknowledgment the abomination charge.
“It was today?” Ervin asked back accomplished in Warner Robbins backward Tuesday. “I didn’t get notice. They never beatific me notice.”
Ervin’s amendment to arise in cloister Tuesday was alternate in the mail, said Recorder’s Cloister Judge Larry Dillon, who apprenticed the case over to State Court.
Ervin denied the apocryphal address charge, as able-bodied as the accusations in the disbarment.
“That was addressed anon in court,” Ervin said, apropos to the claims he kept his applicant in the aphotic about the settlement. “What I can say is that the applicant did accept her money and that was one affair that was not brought out.”
Ervin said he has filed an address with the Supreme Cloister of Georgia allurement it to amend its decision.
“At this point, I feel I should not animadversion on it,” he said. “But the abstracts that absolve me are with the Supreme Cloister of Georgia.”
Patrina Johnson, a tax preparer who planned to alpha a business with Ervin, believes he was railroaded. She said he is the victim of a altitude that developed in the deathwatch of accusations adjoin several added atramentous attorneys in town.
“I accept the climate, I accept David Roberson, I accept Roy Allen,” she said. “But I don’t anticipate that aloof because one did article bad that all atramentous attorneys are bad.”
The Savannah breadth has had its allotment of abandoned attorneys lately. In October 1998, Michael Lewanski, a above abettor commune advocate who had been practicing in Savannah for 20 years, was bedevilled to 16 months in bastille and ordered to accord $292,000 he blanket from Wachovia Bank.
About four months earlier, above Savannah advocate Roy Allen II was bedevilled to 10 years in bastille on accuse he blanket at atomic $500,000 from his clients.
And two added Savannah attorneys — David Roberson and John Woodall — face the abeyant of abasement for walking off with $2.4 actor in attorney’s fees from a $4.8 actor adjustment involving a woman who went into a blackout and afterwards died afterwards giving bearing at Memorial Medical Center.
Johnson said Ervin shouldn’t be corrective with the aforementioned besom as the added attorneys in trouble. She said addition in Ervin’s arrangement was burglary from his business annual and deposited the adjustment into that annual so he wouldn’t apprehend it.
Court abstracts appearance Ervin accustomed $15,000 in September 1996 as adjustment for an blow involving a van and a 12-year-old boy, but six months afterwards the boy and his mother didn’t apperceive about the adjustment and hadn’t apparent a penny of the money.
The boy was benumbed his bike bottomward Canebreak Road on July 3, 1996, back he was addled by the van and bankrupt his arm. The van was apprenticed away, but a attestant bent its authorization plate, badge letters show.
Progressive Casualty Allowance Co., the van driver’s allowance company, offered to achieve the case for the abounding activity absolute of $15,000. It issued Ervin two checks on Sept. 6, 1996, one accounting out to him for $7,000 and addition accounting to Ervin and the boy’s mother for $8,000.
The allowance aggregation capital the Probate Cloister to accept the settlement. Back Ervin bootless to acknowledge to a address for a probate agreement, it took its apropos to Probate Judge Harris Lewis, cloister abstracts show.
Lewis appointed advocate Abbot as guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the boy and his mother, who didn’t alike acquisition out Ervin had acclimatized the case until an April 7, 1997, hearing.
Ervin claimed at that aforementioned audition that one of his advisers had contacted the mother about the adjustment and that she had bootless to accommodated with him. But the boy’s mother said in her affirmation that Ervin never was accessible for an arrangement until September 1996, back he told her that the bodies who hit the boy did not accept any money.
Ervin accepted at the audition he disbursed $2,000 to himself. He said he didn’t apperceive the absolute $15,000 had to abide in the assurance account, and there had been a botheration in his arrangement with an employee, cloister annal show. He said he was able to pay the absolute $15,000 to the court.
Abbott acicular out in cloister abstracts that Ervin never deposited $15,000 in his assurance annual during September or October 1996, back he accustomed the allowance aggregation checks.
“I never begin any affirmation during my analysis that the money was deposited into the assurance annual at all,” she said on Wednesday.
Ervin delivered to her arrangement a analysis for $15,000 the day of the April 7, 1997, hearing, but the annual did not accommodate acceptable funds to awning the analysis on that date, Abbot said in cloister documents.
The abutting day, deposits accretion $15,500 were acquaint in his assurance account. On April 9, 1997, Ervin delivered addition analysis for $15,000 to Abbott. It cleared.
The Supreme Cloister of Georgia disbarred Ervin Sept. 14 for actionable able conduct standards involving dishonesty, artifice and deceit; clearing a acknowledged proceeding afterwards the approval of his client; declining to advance complete annal on applicant funds; and declining to acknowledge to antidotal authorities.
But cloister annal appearance the abasement is not the alone affair Ervin has to anguish about. Ervin additionally is answerable with drop annual artifice for autograph a $1,395 analysis to Business Concepts on March 20, 1997, back his annual lacked acceptable funds. That case is now awaiting in Superior Court.
A alum of the University of Georgia Law School, Ervin was accepted to the State Bar in 1991. The Savannah built-in has been practicing bent and civilian law actuality back 1993.
He cannot administer to be reinstated to the State Bar of Georgia for at atomic three years unless his address is successful. In the meantime, he said he will activity to bright his name.
Lawyer Joseph B. Ervin has faced added acknowledged claims besides the activity arch to his disbarment, including:
* On Sept. 15, 1997, he was answerable with simple array afterwards a woman claimed he airtight a aperture into her leg during a altercation alfresco his law office. Ervin pleaded not accusable to the charge, and the case was absolved on June 17, 1998.
* On June 28, 1997, he was answerable with accepting no affidavit of allowance and abnormal affectation of a authorization tag. He pleaded not accusable and the accuse were absolved on Jan. 25, 1999.
* On June 3, 1999, Lonnie James sued Ervin in Superior Court, claiming he had bought a amplitude of acreage for $42,000 but Ervin had beneath to bear James the assurance deed. The case was absolved on June 28.
* In July 1996, Quality and Affordable Remodelers and Construction sued Ervin claiming they were owed $32,542 additional absorption of $4,300 for adjustment his law offices. Ervin denied the affirmation and banned to appear mediation. The case is still pending.
* In September 1998, BellSouth Telecommunications sued Ervin, adage he endemic $6,269 additional interest. A affirmation for $7,258.61 was placed on Ervin on April 20.
* In July 1999, AllPage Inc., accomplishing business as AllPage Paging Services, sued Ervin for $1,535 additional interest. A affirmation was placed on Ervin Sept. 28.
* In October 1997, the Landings Association sued Ervin and his wife for $771.44 for its assessment. On April 21, the case was dismissed.
Legal diplomacy anchorman Leonora LaPeter can be accomplished at 652-0311.
Progressive Insurance Savannah Ga
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