6:00: Morning News

Maloney files ethics complaint against Justice Robin Davis

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A businessman and former Republican gubernatorial candidate is asking the state Judicial Investigation Commission to review state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis’ decision not to recuse herself from a nursing home abuse case.

“I’m liberated. I can do these kind of things because somebody’s got to do it. I’m not running for anything,” Bill Maloney said of the filing on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Last year, an ABC “Nightline” investigation attempted to connect Davis’ vote in a 4-1 decision to uphold a large jury award in a case against HCR Manor Care, in which Michael Fuller was the plaintiffs’ attorney, to Fuller’s past purchase of a jet from the Segal Law Firm and contributions Fuller secured for Davis’ campaign.

Scott Segal, Davis’ husband, runs the Segal Law Firm.

Davis did write the majority opinion in the case in which the Court reduced the original $90 million jury verdict against Heartland for the neglect of Dorothy Douglas, during her three-week nursing home stay in 2009, to $40 million. Fuller’s firm collected $17 million of that amount.

Davis has denied any wrongdoing. “I was not involved in the details of the (jet) transaction and only learned about them much after the fact,” she wrote in a statement issued last year.

Maloney, though, maintained the perception of West Virginia’s judiciary must be “above reproach.” The standard, he argued, should be “Would a reasonable person question the impartiality of a judge if the facts are made known?”

“It’s a culture of corruption in this state and it goes to the top corners of every aspect of the state and it’s got to stop,” Maloney said.

Anyone can file an ethics complaint against a judge in West Virginia.

Counsel with the Judicial Investigation Commission initially review the matter before either asking for a reply from the named judge, referring the matter to an investigator or sending it to Commission members for review, according to state information.

If probable cause is found, the complaint is then sent to the Judicial Hearing Board.

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