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Lawyer Suspended, Faces Possible Disbarment

June 11, 2007 — While local defense attorney Stephen Brusch has been advised not to comment on his suspension from practicing law in the Virgin Islands, he said on Monday that a statement will soon be issued in response to allegations brought forth by the V.I. Bar Association.
According to a petition filed by the bar association, Brusch allegedly violated the association's rules of professional responsibility in several of his cases, and faces possible disbarment for a variety of alleged violations, including "converting" money owed to clients for his own personal use.
While the bar association has a made a decision on two of the cases, Brusch still has at least 12 grievances pending against him, a fact that justified the request for an interim suspension, the petition states. The document also alleges that Brusch, in a majority of the cases, either did not turn over settlement money owed to clients, or did not return retainers paid by clients for work he did not perform.
In granting the bar association’s request for an interim suspension, which will be in effect until the remaining grievances against Brusch are settled, a three-member panel of V.I. Supreme Court justices agreed with claims made by the association during a hearing held on Friday that Brusch does "pose a threat to clients, the public, the profession or the administration of justice."
The petition also states that Brusch did not comment on and failed to show up to V.I. Bar Association hearings held on two of the grievances.
When contacted Monday, Brusch said he is "looking forward" to responding to the allegations before the Supreme Court issues any other decisions.
According to the petition, other cases pending against Brusch include:
— Necia Meyers v. Stephen Brusch: Meyers alleges Brusch failed to represent her nephew in a criminal matter, and did not return money paid for the services;
— Carol Jacobs v. Stephen Brusch: Jacobs alleges Brusch has not refunded a $1,000 overpayment;
— Elwin Joyce v. Stephen Brusch: Joyce alleges Brusch did not adequately represent him during a criminal appeal process or refund all of a $35,000 settlement agreed on by the two parties;
— Usin Basher v. Stephen Brusch: Basher alleges Brusch did not adequately represent his friend on a criminal matter and has not refunded all money paid for the services. According to the petition, a $5,000 check written to Basher by Brusch bounced.
— Dinia Stuart v. Stephen Brusch: Stuart alleges she hired Brusch to sue the driver of a car that killed her child. After almost two years, Stuart further alleges she was told that Brusch "had no case," and was not going to give back money paid for the services;
— Valerie Hammoud v. Stephen Brusch: After retaining Brusch to represent her on a personal injury case, Hammoud alleges she was told she would be receiving a $35,000 settlement. However, she further alleges two $5,000 checks written by Brusch bounced, leaving Hammoud without the full amount of money awarded through the settlement;
— Beckie Breyer v. Stephen Brusch: in one of two matters, Breyer alleges that Brusch has not refunded a retainer paid for services that were not performed;
— Karen Blake v. Stephen Brusch: after paying for legal services, Blake alleges Brusch withdrew from representing her in a federal case and has not yet refunded the money;
— Iva Fleming Greene v. Stephen Brusch: Greene alleges Brusch represented her in a car accident case that was settled for $20,000. However, she further alleges a check Brusch wrote to her for her share of the settlement later bounced;
— Louise Courtney v. Stephen Brusch: Courtney states that Brusch represented her in a case against a condo association, but "failed" to keep her informed or respond to telephone calls and letters; and
— Laurel Samuel v. Stephen Brusch: Samuel alleges her personal injury case settled for $67,000 but Brusch failed to hand over her portion of the funds after a check written by Brusch bounced.
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