POSTED FEB 09, 2015 06:15 AM CST
The lawyer, Stephen Wainer, has been disbarred, Bakersfield Now reports. Robert and Lynda Pugh estimate they paid him about $5,500 to pursue a claim against their insurance company for asbestos removal and waited for the trial.
“We checked a couple times a year,” Lynda Pugh told Bakersfield Now. “We’d call him, and Steve would say, ‘Well, the courts are really backed up.’ “
They saw Wainer in the news in 2011 and 2013, and figured all was well. They began to investigate, however, after seeing a “For Rent” sign in his office in January 2014.
Wainer was disbarred in March 2014 after stipulating (PDF) to two counts of misconduct for falsely telling a client he was pursuing an appeal and providing her with falsified court documents when she demanded proof.
The Pughs believe Wainer is in Alaska. They hired a lawyer in Fairbanks to pursue their legal fees and say they obtained a default judgment in the case. Robert Pugh told Bakersfield Now he doubted they would be able to collect, “But, I have a piece of paper that says I won.”