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Jailed man sues Belleville attorney alleging legal fees were taken during a suspension

By Record News | Aug 29, 2016

BENTON – Belleville lawyer Charles Stegmeyer took a fee while his license was suspended, a former client pleads from Pinckneyville jail.  

Demetrious Moore sued Stegmeyer and lawyer Marianne Hannigan at U.S. district court on Aug. 2, claiming they never notified him of Stegmeyer’s suspension.  

“I was not represented by the attorney I paid due to him being suspended from the practice of law,” Moore wrote.  

“I had to get a public defender because Mr. Stegmeyer took my life savings.  

“He took my money and misrepresented me.”  

Moore wrote that he paid Stegmeyer in 2014, to represent him on five felony cases in Madison County.  

His suit claims that they agreed on $7,500, and Stegmeyer agreed to take a down payment of $2,455.  

Moore claims he signed a power of attorney so Stegmeyer could use his debit card to receive his monthly social security benefit of $491.  

On Dec. 4, 2014, Stegmeyer was suspended for 60 days.  

Moore claims that while in jail, he was called for an attorney visit on Dec. 10.  

He wrote that he met Hannigan, who told him she was assisting Stegmeyer while he was sick in the hospital.  

“I knew Ms. Hannigan was lying because I saw in the Bellevillle newspaper he was suspended,” Moore wrote.  

Moore wrote that Hannigan used his credit card without his consent to obtain $1,491.  

He wrote that she told him that if he went to trial, a jury would use the Michael Brown matter in Ferguson to find him guilty.  

He wrote that he asked her what his case had to do with Ferguson, and she said, “The state’s attorneys and juries don’t like what’s going on in Ferguson.”  

“I feel I am entitled to actual or punitive damages because I have to pay Social Security back over $5,000, and Mr. Stegmeyer didn’t earn my fees,” Moore wrote.   

District Judge Staci Yandle will preside over the action.  

The last time a former client sued Stegmeyer, he sued right back.  

Last year, in St. Clair County circuit court, Stegmeyer filed a defamation suit against Missouri resident Frederick Peet.  

Stegmeyer claimed Peet defamed him by filing a malpractice suit against him.  

Peet removed the suit to U.S. district court, citing diversity of citizenship.  

Stegmeyer moved to remand it to St. Clair County, and Chief District Judge Michael Reagan denied the motion.  

Stegmeyer moved to dismiss the action without prejudice, and Reagan told him he must dismiss it with prejudice or compensate Peet for his court costs.  

Stegmeyer didn’t respond, so Reagan dismissed the action without prejudice and ordered Stegmeyer to pay Peet $638.40.  

Reagan wrote that if Stegmeyer dismissed it without prejudice, Reagan would award costs to Peet.

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