These Louisiana lawyers were the subject of Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary orders or Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommendations made public during the month of December 2013.
Louisiana Supreme Court
- Heather Munoz Murphy. The court placed Ms. Murphy on indefinite interim suspension for threat of harm to her clients.
- Thomas Robert Schmidt. The court suspended the respondent for a year and a day with all but sixty days of the suspension deferred. The respondent committed misconduct in four separate matters. Among other things, he failed to communicate with his clients, failed to diligently move his clients’ cases along, failed to return an unearned fee and failed to properly withdraw from a matter.
- Jennifer Matte. The court granted a joint petition and placed the respondent on disability inactive status.
- Daniel A. Webb. The court (by consent) suspended the respondent for a period of six months, all deferred. He improperly placed his wife’s signature on a mortgage document and an IRS form without her consent. Further, he instructed another lawyer in his law office to notarize what appeared to be, but was not, his wife’s signature on a mortgage document.
- Gilbert E. Stampley. The court (by consent) suspended the respondent for 18 months, with all but one year deferred. He neglected client matters, failed to communicate with clients, failed to timely account for fees, engaged in a conflict of interest and engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
- Robert David Hairford. The court (in a deemed-admitted proceeding) disbarred the respondent for neglecting client matters, failing to cooperate with ODC, failing to return unearned fees and abandoning his practice and clients.
- Benjamin O. Burns. The court (by consent) suspended the respondent for one year with all but six months deferred. He neglected a legal matter, failed to communicate with a client, failed to disburse funds to third parties and failed to properly withdraw from the representation of a client.
- Arthur L. Harris, Sr. The court (by consent) suspended the respondent for a year and a day, all deferred. He neglected legal matters, failed to communicate with his clients, failed to return unearned fees and failed to cooperate with ODC in its investigation.
Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
- John Ezell Jackson. The board recommended dismissal of the formal charges against the respondent. ODC charged the respondent with violating rule 1.15(d) for failing to properly handle third-party funds. The respondent had a dispute with a chiropractor over costs. The chiropractor reported the respondent to ODC and the respondent thereafter attempted to invoke a concursus proceeding in district court. The board found that the respondent, by tendering the disputed check to the registry of the court, was attempting to ensure that the disputed funds were no longer in his possession. His actions were reasonable under the circumstances.
- Elizabeth Ashley Brunet-Robert. The board recommended that the respondent be suspended for a period of three years. She not only neglected legal matters and failed to appear in court on at least three occasions, but she also was convicted of illegally distributing an oxycodone tablet to an undercover deputy sheriff. The board noted that she currently has a substance-abuse issue and should seek the assistance of LAP before applying for reinstatement.
- Eileen P. Comiskey. The board recommended that the formal charges against the respondent be dismissed. She attempted to assist (pro bono) a homeless man with financial issues. In so doing, the board found that she filed sloppy, but not sanctionable, interdiction pleadings in Civil District Court.
- Clarence T. Nalls, Jr. The board recommended that the respondent be disbarred. He failed to account for $10,000 of a client’s funds. He held himself out as a lawyer even after suspension. Finally, he failed to disclose to a client that he was suspended and then neglected the client’s legal matter.
- Darien Dwaynne Lester. The board recommended (in a deemed-admitted proceeding) that the respondent, a disbarred lawyer, wait an additional period of two years before applying for readmission. He caused actual injury to four clients by failing to complete work on their legal matters and failing to return unearned fees. Furthermore, he failed to cooperate with ODC in its investigation.
Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Hearing Committees
- Scott M. Hawkins. A committee recommended that Mr. Hawkins be conditionally readmitted to the practice of law, subject to LAP participation and practice monitoring. He had been suspended from the practice of law for two years following criminal battery convictions.
- Jeff David Easley. A committee recommended that Mr. Easley be reinstated to the practice of law, subject to LAP participation for a period of five years. He had been conditionally admitted following a DWI conviction and a diagnosis of alcohol dependency.
- John Brewster Ohle, III. A committee recommended that the respondent be permanently disbarred for federal fraud and tax evasion convictions, both of which are “serious crimes” bearing on his fitness to practice.
- Joan S. Benge. A committee recommended that Ms. Benge be reinstated to the practice of law following a three year suspension. She had been suspended for misconduct as a judge in Jefferson Parish.
- Troy A. Humphrey. A committee recommended that the respondent be publicly reprimanded. He failed to promptly return an unearned fee to his client. The committee, however, rejected allegations that the respondent improperly handled funds given to him by his client by not depositing them into a trust account.
- Craig Thomas Broussard. A committee recommended the reinstatement of Mr. Broussard, subject to practice monitoring and continued mental-health treatment and counseling for anxiety. Mr. Broussard had been suspended for three years, with all but one year and a day deferred.