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Monday, June 20, 2011

Attorney Accused In WV Social Security Scandal Was Barred From Veterans Appeals Court In 2002

Eric C. Conn Resigned From Practicing In The US Court Of Appeals For Veterans Amid Professional Misconduct Investigation In 2002 by Jack Swint

“Eric C. Conn, a member of the Court's Bar has submitted in the form prescribed by the Court, his resignation from the Bar in lieu of further investigatory proceedings on allegations of professional misconduct in cases before this Court. In submitting this resignation, attorney Conn has also relinquished any right to apply for reinstatement or readmission at any time in the future.” US COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS No. 01-8001 September 30, 2002
The Kentucky attorney embroiled in the current Social Security Scandal with Huntington West Virginia ALJ Judges David Daugherty, Al Tinsley and Charles Andrus had also been investigated by the feds in May 2002 for alleged professional misconduct while practicing in the US Court of Appeals for Veterans. (USCAVC)

The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is a federal court of record that was established under Article I of the United States Constitution. The Court has "exclusive jurisdiction to review decision of the Board of Veterans' Appeals with the power to affirm, modify, or reverse a decision of the Board of Veterans' Appeals or to remand the matter, as appropriate."

In a successful effort to quash that investigation by the commission in 2002, Conn motioned the USCAVC
to allow him to voluntarily relinquish his bar license to practice in that Court. According to our sources, Conn is now considering excluding himself again, this time from practicing Social Security Appeals claims, a direct result of this most recent scandal in the Huntington SSA Office.

The Veterans Appeal Court Judges stated in their 2002 ORDER, that… “Although the Court is concerned by the alleged professional misconduct of the respondent, his agreement to cease all practice before this Court provides the Court and its appellants with protection from any repetition of such conduct by him. Moreover, no appellant has filed a complaint with the Court relating to professional services provided by the respondent. Therefore, the Court will accept the respondent's resignation.”

The document goes on to state that… “This resignation is not to be construed as an admission of the allegations of professional misconduct by attorney Conn and the acceptance of the resignation by the Court does not constitute a finding by the Court as to the allegations pending. Nor does this order constitute an ‘order imposes discipline,’ pursuant to Rule 13 of this Court's Rules of Admission and Practice and, accordingly, the Clerk of the Court is not required to make the notifications described in subsections (b) and (c) of Rule 13.”

Upon consideration of the foregoing, it is ORDERED that “the resignation of Eric C. Conn from the Bar of this Court, conditioned by his relinquishment of any right to apply for reinstatement or readmission, is accepted, and his name is hereby removed from the rolls of practitioners admitted to practice before this Court.” September 30, 2002 PER CURIAM.”

The Court did make reference in its ORDER and opinion that even though this action could stop both public sanctions against Eric Conn and notification to the National Bar Association… “Furthermore, I would note that any member of the public, including of course, any judge or staff member of this Court is free to bring to the attention of the appropriate authorities the existence of this order, and that attorneys may in fact be under a heightened obligation to take such action.”

Conn’s Current Problems

Attorney Conn was named back in December 2010 by this news website as the lawyer allegedly involved in a huge disability case-fixing scandal along with ALJ Judge David Daugherty. Who, has since been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation questioning his 98% approval ratings on Social Security Appeal cases for clients that Conn represents.

It is alleged that collusion between Daugherty and Conn began back in 2005 when office staff began complaining to higher-ups of the exceptionally high caseload between the judge and lawyer compiled with the 98% approval ratings of SSA claims between the two. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) in Washington DC is investigating.    

Problems in the Huntington WV office also have raised questions on other possible problems including collusion, falsifying of records and retaliation against former ALJ Judge Tinsley for reportedly blowing the whistle on Daugherty and Conn as far back as 2005.

In Closing….

Back in 2002 Eric C. Conn was being investigated for professional misconduct in representing clients appealing their veteran’s claims at the US Appeal level. It is not clear what the allegations against him were, we could not verify the specifics with the clerks office or the bar association for the Court of Appeals (CAVCBAR) since Conn was allowed to voluntarily resign before any action was taken.

A source close to this investigation stated that they had learned that Eric C. Conn was contemplating excluding himself in handling any further SSA Appeal cases in the same manner that he quashed his 2002 investigation into allegations of professional misconduct with the US Court of Appeals For Veterans.

Interesting side note to this story, it appears that the US Federal Appeals Court for Veterans also has a huge back-load of cases like the Social Security Appeals does. (see links below)

End of story….

Jack Swint - Publisher
WV News 2011
(304) 982-7024

Court of Appeals For Veterans

Eric Conn Court Order

Bar Association Court of Appeals for Veterans

Annual Report USCAVC

Huge Backload Of Cases In Veterans Appeal Court

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Charleston, WV, United States