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Court suspends license of Parkersburg attorney who admitted to inappropriate communication with client

The West Virginia Supreme Court has suspended the law license of a Parkersburg attorney who they said failed to file appeals in at least three clients’ cases to a higher court in a timely fashion and engaged in inappropriate communications with a client.

The court ordered that Travis Sayre’s law license be suspended for 120 days, and when he returns to practicing law, he will have to practice under the supervision of an attorney in good standing with the West Virginia State Bar.

The court’s order was filed on Oct. 24, and in it, the court also ordered Sayre to complete six hours of Continuing Legal Education focused on ethics before his license can be reinstated.

According to the court’s order, a probation officer reviewing the phone of one of Sayre’s clients found “multiple inappropriate conversations” on Facebook Messenger in February and March 2017.

Sayre admitted to exchanging text messages with the client that were “mutually suggestive of sexual conduct” and that the two had “discussed having sex,” but he said he never had physical contact with his client.

Sayre filed an appeal to the state court in January 2017, six months after the original deadline, after receiving six extensions by the court to file the appeal.

Also in late 2016 and early 2017, Sayre did not pursue an appeal to the state court in an abuse and neglect case in Wood County, even as his client had stated she wanted to do so.

Even though he was appointed to handle the appeal, Sayre said his client had told him she obtained new counsel. However, he never filed a motion to withdraw, according to the court’s order.

When he learned in January 2017 that the client had not obtained a new attorney, Sayre said he felt compelled to file a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court, even though the deadline to do so was Oct. 1, 2016.

In another similar incident, Sayre didn’t pursue an appeal in a case in September and November 2016. He only filed an intent to appeal and a request to extend the deadline in March 2017, and the state court denied his motion.

Reach Lacie Pierson at

lacie.pierson@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1723 or follow

@laciepierson on Twitter.

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