Friday, November 9, 2018
A disbarred attorney is now a permanently disbarred attorney per an order of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
The disbarment came on the heels of a disciplinary probation gone wrong
In October 2015, the ODC filed formal charges against respondent, alleging that he settled a personal injury case for $52,500 without his clients’ consent, forged his clients’ signatures on the settlement documents, misled his clients as to the status of the case, failed to disburse the settlement proceeds to his clients for five years, failed to reduce the contingency fee agreement to writing, and made cash withdrawals from his client trust account. In November 2017, we disbarred respondent for this misconduct.
But another complaint surfaced
The record in this deemed admitted matter supports a finding that respondent forged his client’s signature on a settlement check, converted $75,000 in client funds, misled his client and his co-counsel about the conversion, fabricated documents to conceal the conversion, failed to account for or make restitution of the converted funds, and failed to cooperate with the ODC in its investigation, including lying to the ODC in his written response to the disciplinary complaint. Respondent’s misconduct is a clear violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct as alleged in the formal charges.
When respondent engaged in the instant misconduct, the ODC had already filed formal charges against him Fontenot II. Despite having received notice that his conduct addressed in Fontenot II was problematic, respondent engaged in the instant similar conduct by forging the client’s signature on the client’s settlement check and failing to disburse $75,000 of the client’s funds to the client. Under these circumstances, it is highly likely respondent will continue to engage in this type of misconduct in the future if given the opportunity. Therefore, we find permanent disbarment is warranted in order to protect the public and maintain the high standards of the legal profession.