Friday, January 21, 2022

Jade Helm

The Louisiana Supreme Court has disbarred an attorney for dishonesty and related misconduct in his handling of insurance proceeds due to his client.

He claimed to have paid for the client's home repairs in cash and submitted forged "proof" of those purported payments.

He also claimed that a fictitious burglary theft of his computer delayed his bar response.

And

Finally, the ODC alleges that respondent engaged in dishonest conduct in connection with the service of a subpoena upon him for a sworn statement. On March 20, 2018, the ODC’s investigator, Robert Harrison, traveled to respondent’s law office in Lafayette to serve him with the subpoena. Respondent’s office is located in a building that he shares with his identical twin brother, Jade Andrus, who is also an attorney. Upon his arrival, Investigator Harrison encountered respondent in the parking lot. After introducing himself to respondent and giving him a business card, Investigator Harrison informed respondent he was there to serve him with a subpoena. In response, respondent stated that he was not Brad Andrus, but was Jade Andrus, Brad’s twin brother.

Following his conversation with “Jade,” Investigator Harrison went inside the building and asked to see respondent. The receptionist informed Investigator Harrison that respondent had just left the office moments before. Respondent was ultimately served with the subpoena on April 4, 2018, and he appeared for a sworn statement on April 10, 2018.

The court

Respondent initially took a portion of the proceeds as attorney’s fees and did not maintain the balance owed to Mr. Harmon in his trust account, thereby converting funds. In the end, it appears that although repairs were delayed, Mr. Harmon’s house was repaired and that most and possibly all of the insurance proceeds were eventually paid by respondent toward the repairs. However, it is unknown whether the same outcome would have occurred had Mr. Harmon not filed a complaint with the ODC. Respondent’s mishandling of his trust account also created the potential for harm to clients other than Mr. Harmon. Respondent’s lack of candor and failure to cooperate with the ODC caused additional expenditures of resources and potential delay in the resolution of the investigation...

Turning to the issue of an appropriate sanction, we agree that respondent should be disbarred. While we do not minimize the seriousness of his misconduct as it relates to his client, Mr. Harmon, we suggest that respondent’s numerous instances of deceptive behavior are the most disturbing aspect of this matter. From the incredible tale of a vehicle burglary offered as justification for failing to timely respond to the disciplinary complaint, to his attempt to evade service of a subpoena by claiming to be his identical twin brother, and finally to submitting fabricated receipts and invoices to the ODC, respondent has violated the most fundamental duty of an officer of the court. The utter absence of candor respondent has demonstrated in these proceedings calls his good moral character into serious question and warrants disbarment.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2022/01/the-louisiana-supreme-court-has-disbarred-an-attorney-for-dishonesty-and-misappropriation-of-insurance-proceeds-due-to-his-cl.html

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