CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Under the threat of disciplinary action on ethics charges, a former McDowell County circuit judge has surrendered his license to practice law.
W. Kendrick King, who served one term as judge in the 1990s, was charged with five separate complaints of misconduct by the state Lawyer Disciplinary Board in December.
The formal statement of charges issued by the board's investigative panel gave King the chance to file a response. Instead, King voluntarily asked the state Supreme Court to accept the annulment of his license.
The court accepted the annulment in a May 16 order.
King, 66, said Friday when reached by telephone that he didn't want to fight the charges because he had planned to retire anyway.
"I've been at it since 1972 and there comes a time to let the new generation take over," he said.
The charges against King mostly concerned his failure to pursue cases for clients who retained him in a variety of matters.
One woman's flood damage case, filed in 2001, was dismissed in 2009 because King failed to comply with the court's order to file and serve fact sheets outlining her claim, the charges state.
Another client's case was dismissed after neither he nor King showed up for a hearing. Although the man later filed the suit again himself, it was dismissed because the prior case had not been appealed and no motion to set aside the judgment had been filed, according to the charges.
Another man hired King to handle his automobile accident case. He alleged that even after the case was dismissed, King told him he could file the case again and misled him by saying the insurance company had made a settlement offer, the charges state.