Monday, September 16, 2019
The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommends disbarment of an attorney for misconduct in a domestic relations matter
The Complainant, Ms. M, hired the Respondent to represent her in a divorce proceeding and to file a reconventional demand for spousal support, child custody and child support, in September of 2016. Ms. M paid the Respondent a $3000.00 retainer. A court date concerning the incidental matters was set for October 12, 2016, falling on Yom Kippur, a Jewish Holiday. Ms. M is Jewish, and she requested that the Respondent file a motion for a continuance. Respondent represented to Ms. M that her court date was continued to November 18, 2016.
Respondent failed to file for the continuance, the client and her mother flew in from Philadelphia for the hearing but got only a promise to fix it
Complainant later discovered that the Respondent failed to file the pleadings necessary to have the matter reset for January 18, 2017. Ms. M also discovered that Respondent failed to file anything. As a result, Ms. M was divorced by default, without her issues of child custody, child support, or spousal support being addressed by the Court.
Respondent requested prescription drug medication from Ms. M on at least two separate occasions. First Respondent telephoned Ms. M and requested to purchase Xanax from Ms. M.
this case involves additional misconduct other than that involving the bartering for or purchasing of drugs from a client. Here, the respondent neglected Ms. M’s domestic case, failed to properly communicate with her about the case and misled her concerning the status of the matter. Despite telling Ms. M that she had obtained a court hearing date in Ms. M’s divorce suit, she, in fact, had not filed any pleadings and had not performed any legal services for her client. Added to these findings is the fact that Respondent, currently ineligible to practice law for noncompliance of Bar requirements, failed to cooperate with the ODC concerning the disciplinary charges that had been brought against her. She failed to appear for her sworn statement, failed to answer the charges issued against her and totally failed to communicate with the ODC. Given this, and considering the applicable ABA guidelines and case law cited above, disbarment is an appropriate sanction in this matter.