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sign-1337293-sA California couple want to warn others after learning the lawyer they hired in 2006 for a claim against their insurance company is no longer able to handle their case.


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.”