The victim hunters

The Madison County Record Jul. 24, 2005, 4:06am

The image of multimillionaire Madison County plaintiff’s lawyer Tom Lakin as door-to-door traveling salesman is tough even for us to grasp.

But that’s the picture painted by the West Virginia State Supreme Court, which barred Lakin from practicing law in the state for a year after he—along with his son, Bradley, and cohort Charles Armbruster—tried to poach two injured worker clients away from a local Mountaineer State lawyer, a major no-no.

According to the Supreme Court’s opinion, the Lakin Firm first tried to telemarket one of them-- train accident victim Dallas Copley. Lakin agent Colin Kelley made “numerous telephone calls,” pitching Copley on the idea that he would get more money for his lawsuit if represented by Lakin.

Rebuffed, Kelley persevered, arranging for a face-to-face meeting with Brad Lakin and Armbruster at Copley’s home in the rugged coal mining town of Williamson, stuck snug and deep in the Appalachian Mountains. But Copley didn’t bite at this face-to-face hard sell, leading firm patriarch Tom Lakin to trek to Williamson himself for a pitch of his own.

Tom Lakin never got a chance to turn on the charm, according to the Supreme Court.

“Some weeks later, (Lakin) and Kelley went to Copley’s home, but Copley would not answer the door,” the opinion recounted.

Get that? Tom Lakin, resident of tony Malibu where he lives among Hollywood’s rich and famous, knocking and knocking and knocking on the door of an injured industrial worker, selling legal services like a Fuller brush.

This kind of behavior is unsavory, exploitative, and—for lawyers, who are agents of the court-- highly unethical. But from the Lakin Firm we shouldn’t be surprised—- these are the guys who gave us the mother-daughter class action duo of Armettia and Ashley Peach.

Anything goes on the hunt for another victim. Anything goes for another plaintiff’s lawyer payday, we suppose.

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