WILKES-BARRE — Controversial Scranton-area businessman Bob Bolus has initiated a legal malpractice suit against a Kingston lawyer who represented him in several high-profile Lackawanna County cases.
Bolus on Tuesday filed what is known as a praecipe for writ of summons against Anthony J. Moses. That document, filed in the Luzerne County Prothonotary’s Office, gives Moses notice that Bolus is initiating a case, but does not contain information about the nature of the pending complaint.
“Why am I filing this? Number one, to see if he has malpractice insurance,” Bolus said in an interview Tuesday. “He screwed up on a lot of stuff. I’m being penalized for his laxity and negligence in representing me.”
Moses, 35, represented Bolus, 71, in an unsuccessful federal suit in which the Throop resident claimed the state Attorney General’s Office falsely convicted him two years ago on theft and insurance-fraud charges, as well as in an unsuccessful challenge to a University of Scranton construction project.
Bolus, who is representing himself in the action, said there were several other legal matters that Moses was handling for him before losing contact. Bolus said he is in talks about future legal representation on the issue.
He said he hasn’t been able to reach Moses in several months.
“He’s changed numbers, I don’t know where the hell he is,” Bolus said.
The Times Leader also was unable to find a current number for Moses on Tuesday.
In the federal case, Bolus claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy in which he was wrongly convicted of receiving stolen property. He filed suit against the state Attorney General’s Office as well as two insurance companies and at least eight other people.
In December, U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani ordered Moses to pay more than $3,500 in legal fees to lawyers representing his opponents after Moses failed to set up a case-management conference as ordered by the federal judge, according to court documents.
The Dec. 5 conference among Moses, Mariani and attorneys for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. never took place, according to court documents, because the insurer’s lawyers could not reach Moses for required discussions before the conference.
Mariani filed an order on Dec. 20 instructing the insurance company’s lawyers to send him a bill indicating how much they spent preparing for the conference.
In February, Lackawanna County Judge Terrance Nealon ruled Moses must pay more than $6,000 in legal fees to attorneys representing the University of Scranton for what the judge said was a claim without legal basis based on Bolus’s lack of standing.
In that case, Bolus was asking Nealon to reconsider a previous ruling in which the judge gave the university clearance to proceed with a demolition project as the first step in building its new, $47.5 million Center for Rehabilitation Education on the site of the former Leahy Hall at Jefferson Avenue and Linden Street.
The judge penalized Moses for the unmerited claim as well as for his untimely responses to court orders.
Bolus said Tuesday he filed that suit because he was concerned about the loss of a historic building as well as the impact its larger replacement would have on traffic and the character of the surrounding neighborhood.
Moses’ DUI case
Moses has been involved in other legal issues, separate from his representation of Bolus, that made headlines over the past year.
In May, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in connection with a car crash in Plymouth last summer. Sentencing is set for Friday morning before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough.
Police said Moses had Xanax and methadone in his system when he crashed his car while driving the wrong way on a one-way street on Aug. 23.
A police affidavit said no narcotics were found in the car, but blood tests conducted later at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital revealed two controlled substances in Moses’ system: Xanax, a brand-name version of Alprazolam, which commonly is used to treat anxiety disorders; and Dolophine, a brand-name prescription opioid drug, containing methadone, which is used to treat narcotics addiction as well as being used as a pain reliever.
His May 9 plea covered two first-offense DUI counts. Additional charges of damaging an unattended vehicle, driving the wrong way and unauthorized use of a license plate were withdrawn as part of the agreement.
Moses faces a 12-month license suspension and must make $509 in restitution to Plymouth police. He may apply for admission to the county’s intermediate punishment program, court documents state.
“I made a mistake. I’m owning up to the mistake,” Moses told the Times Leader in a November interview about the incident. “It’s inexcusable. I take full responsibility for what happened.”
The DUI plea is only one of several battles Moses has faced in recent months, including twice having his law license suspended by the state Supreme Court.
In October, Moses’ license was temporarily suspended for failure to pay a $130 annual registration fee, which he called an oversight in an interview.
The Supreme Court issued another temporary suspension on March 21, set to take effect 30 days from that date. Court documents do not indicate why, making reference to the order falling under state disciplinary rules regarding confidentiality.
A court letter to Moses indicated the suspension will remain in place “until further definitive action.”
The court’s Disciplinary Board website on Tuesday indicated Moses remained under “emergency temporary suspension.”
“I feel sorry for him,” Bolus told a reporter. “But sometimes you have to take responsibility for your actions.”