Corrupt judges, yes, but what about corrupt attorneys?

There are people who believe that things in life happen for a reason. Sometimes what happens — no matter if it is a good thing, a bad thing, a funny thing, or something very serious — makes you who you are and teaches a lesson in life and self-understanding.

Almost nine years ago, I was a nurse/paramedic who wanted more out of life than my education at the time could provide me. So I went back to college in pursuit of a physician’s assistant degree. I handled the first two years of college rather well, getting above average GPAs. But, in doing this college thing, I knew that I still had to work and bring in money to support my family. So I took a side job that was offered to me by an old high school friend who was the plant manager at a local facility. Upon visiting the plant and sitting down with that old friend, I made him aware that I had accumulated a few injuries along my way in life, but he hired me anyway.

Three months into working, I literally got the shock of my life. The shock was from a malfunctioning machine that jolted me with 480 volts of electricity on a 60 amp circuit. It wasn’t until nine hours after the incident that I woke up in a hospital bed looking at my wife and our two boys. No one knew what actually happened until then.

I began the process of pursuing the company for workers compensation, signing on with a lawyer that had come highly recommended to me by a friend. The lawyer’s name was Lisa Ann Welkey. Although during this process the lawyer did manage to help me receive my SSI approval, she was failing with the workers compensation.

Is there any lawyer out there that anyone knows of who is willing to take on such a legal malpractice case?

All that Ms. Welkey kept on telling me about it was that “you’ll know when I know.” These were her words exactly every time I would call her — when I could even manage to get her on the phone. Most of the time I would call I’d get a disturbing message: “This phone number has either been changed or disconnected. There is no further information for this number.” Not something a person wants to hear when calling his lawyer. A few times when I’d get to go to her office, the door would be locked, and when I’d ask other building tenants if they’d seen her, the typical response was “Not in about a week or two.”

Once, while trying to find Ms. Welkey at her office, I met up with another client of hers, also attempting to track her down. She, too was having a difficult time with Ms. Welkey and Ms. Welkey’s non-existence in her office. Then I found out what was really going on. Another lawyer that attends the same church as my wife and I asked if I had heard about Ms. Welkey and her “legal problems.” I was out in left field, unaware of what he was talking about. The other lawyer explained to me that Ms. Welkey had gotten caught withholding escrow accounts from several other clients, and was now disbarred for the next three years.

That other lawyer helped me by giving me the phone number of the Worker’s Compensation Appeal Board in our state capital, Harrisburg. I found out abruptly that my workers compensation case was lost, and that Ms. Welkey had appealed it and then lost the appeal. I was never informed by Ms. Welkey of any of the results of any of my hearings. When I asked the board why I lost, I was told via a phone call that Ms. Welkey never informed or supplied the board or judges with the right or proper paperwork on my behalf and so had basically forfeited my case.

If I had won that case the resulting compensation/settlement would have been by that time well into the six-figure range, around $125,000. But while going through the first part of the case, Ms. Welkey was telling my wife and me that we most likely would have to lose everything to gain everything. And not to worry, because she never loses cases like this. Asking her about how I was going to pay rent and the rest of my bills, she would tell us to get physician emergency certifications, halting shut off notices. As for the landlord, she told us to get a running tab and he would be compensated out of the settlement first thing.

Well, since her disbarment, I’ve been trying to find another lawyer to take her to court for legal malpractice and getting nowhere. No one in my area or even in locales extending down to Philadelphia is willing to take the case against her. Here’s what I am asking: Is there any lawyer out there that anyone knows of who is willing to take on such a legal malpractice case? Why is it that everyone is concerned about corrupt judges and politicians, but nobody goes after the corrupt lawyers? Justice needs to be done about this and I’d like to ensure that Ms. Welkey never returns to practicing in this state or any other state to rip off anyone else.

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