Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board has recommended the disbarment of an attorney whose brother had died while overseas working as a contractor for Halliburton Company. The lawyer induced his brother's former wife to execute an assigment of rights paying life insurance proceeds to himself. The lawyer felt that the former wife should not receive the proceeds because she had divorced the brother and was living with another man. The lawyer presented her with the assignment that he had drafted on the day before the funeral.
The lawyer had induced the former wife (who he thought was a named beneficiary) to accept $25,000 for a policy later determined to be worth $818,000. He failed to advise her what he believed the policy to be worth. He then received the proceeds (which he split with two siblings) and, later, represented the former wife in unrelated proceedings. She sued him when she became aware of the full amount of the policy. The suit is pending.
In the disciplinary case, the lawyer had denied any wrongdoing ("...I've run it over a million times in my mind I promise you, and I don't think I would have done anything different.") He also claimed to be judgment proof, having gambled the proceeds away. (Mike Frisch)