June 20, 2009
A lawyer withdrew from representing a client in litigation involving her ex-husband due to his personal relationship with the client (they are now married). The ex-husband filed a bar complaint against the lawyer. The lawyer retained an attorney (hereinafter "respondent") who filed reconventional demand (a Louisiana term meaning a counterclaim) on behalf of the lawyer that sought damages based on the filing of the bar complaint. After those claims were dismissed in light of the absolute immunity provision for bar complaints, Respondent was charged with an ethical violation for asserting the claim.
The Louisiana Supreme Court found that discipline was appropriate but rejected the Disciplinary Board's proposed suspension of six months (with all but 30 days stayed) in favor of public reprimand. The court followed a recent precedent and concluded that a non-suspensory sanction was appropriate. (Mike Frisch)
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