GASTONIA, N.C. (CN) – A woman claims in court that her attorney in divorce and drug cases demanded sex for payment, and dropped her as a client when a back injury prevented the sex from continuing.
Cindy Beeson Pennington sued Calvin B. Hamrick and the Hamrick & Warshawsky law firm, in Gaston County Court.
Pennington claims she met Hamrick in late 2008 while she was involved in a bitter divorce and child custody battle.
Pennington, at the time an unemployed mother of four, says Hamrick told her he would handle the case for an initial fee of $1,500 to $3,000.
Soon after the initial consultation, she claims Hamrick started calling her two to three times a week “for further ‘consultations’ during which he began asking highly personal questions such as whether plaintiff and her husband had a lot of oral sex; who had the higher sex drive, plaintiff or her husband, and whether plaintiff liked anal sex?'” according to the complaint.
It continues: “During these consultations, defendant Hamrick became very persistent about wanting to see plaintiff’s breasts. Hamrick insisted on being allowed to take pictures of plaintiff’s breasts.”
In early 2009, Pennington was arrested and charged with five felony charges of drug possession. She says she immediately called Hamrick, who sent a friend to pay her $5,000 bond.
Pennington was later charged with an additional two felony drug charges, and an additional bond of $2,500 was set.
She says that by this point, she had become extremely concerned about the rising cost of the legal representation for the custody matter and the criminal charges. When she brought these concerns to Hamrick, she says, he told her not to worry.
“Defendant Hamrick responded to plaintiff Pennington’s inquiry by stating, ‘We’ll work this out; I just have to figure out how to get it past my partner. You get me $200 so we can show some kind of money on your case. Other than that, don’t worry about the money right now,'” according to the complaint.
It continues: “This conversation too place in defendant Hamrick’s office.
“Defendant Hamrick was smoking a cigar and drinking Crown Royal and coke which he suddenly put down and walked over to the plaintiff, assured her she was in the best hands possible, and started rubbing his private parts.
“Defendant Hamrick again reiterated what good hands plaintiff was in, told her he ‘needed to be in good hands too,’ pulled out his penis and had plaintiff perform oral sex on him.
“Defendant Hamrick continued to insist on ‘consultations’ 2-3 times per week, each time telling plaintiff that the criminal charges against her were ‘huge’ and that she was looking at 15 years in prison at a minimum.
“At no time did defendant ask for – or take – any monetary payment for his legal fees.
“At each ‘consultation’ defendant insisted on intimate sex with plaintiff.
“Defendant spent very little if any ‘consultation’ time talking with plaintiff about the charges against her.”
Pennington, scheduled to appear in court on July 8, 2009, says she told Hamrick she was taking her children to the beach for the July 4th holiday, rebuffing his requests for additional “consultations before she left.”
At the beach, Pennington ruptured three discs in her back. She says she texted Hamrick, and he told her to send him her medical records and that “he would see to it that the July 8th hearing was continued if she would get back soon enough to come by his office for a ‘consultation.'”
Due to her injuries, Pennington says, she was unable to return to North Carolina before July 8.
“Despite having plaintiff’s medical records, defendant Hamrick – upon information and belief – made no effort to convey to the court the reason for plaintiff’s absence on July 8, 2009,” the complaint states. “As a result, the court issued a bench warrant for plaintiff’s arrest for failure to appear.”
A month later, “defendant Hamrick informed plaintiff Pennington that he had withdrawn from her case,” the complaint states. “When she asked why, Hamrick told her she had failed to ‘cum’ by for a consultation, that he had not seen her ‘at all in over two months.’ Thereafter, defendant Hamrick refused to return plaintiff’s numerous phone calls. Plaintiff was forced to retain other counsel.
“Plaintiff was picked up and placed under a $30,000 bond which she could not make. As a result, plaintiff was incarcerated for six months.
“As a result of her incarceration, the Department of Social Services took custody of plaintiff’s children. DSS has yet to return custody of the children.”
Pennington seeks punitive damages for legal malpractice, assault and battery, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
She is represented by B. Ervin Brown II of Winston Salem.