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 2014.
Louisiana Supreme Court
- Jarrett P. Ambeau. The court accepted the respondent’s petition for consent discipline, and suspended him for one year, all deferred. The respondent failed to properly manage client funds.
- Gilbert E. Stampley. The court ordered that the previously deferred portion of the respondent’s suspension become immediately executory. While the respondent was suspended, he appeared in open court on behalf of a client, prepared and filed legal pleadings on her behalf, and notarized documents for her.
- Madro Bandaries. The court ordered that the respondent be publicly reprimanded for engaging in frivolous and harassing litigation against a former client.
- Randy J. Fuerst. The court ordered that the respondent be suspended for six months, with three months deferred. Mr. Fuerst engaged in multiple consensual sexual relationships with women who had retained him to handle their divorces. The court found that all but one of the relationships were permissible because they did not occur during the existence of an attorney-client relationship. Said the court: “[T]he ODC … argues that the ethical prohibitions against attorney-client sexual relationships should be extended to former clients, and should likewise apply in instances in which the lawyer has been consulted by a prospective client but no attorney-client relationship is ultimately formed. We find no support for this position in the Rules of Professional Conduct.” The court did find that one of the relationships, which took place during the mandatory six-month waiting period to confirm the woman’s divorce, violated Rules 1.7(a)(2) and8.4(d) because the woman was technically still Fuerst’s client. Two judges concurred and noted that they would have found Fuerst’s relationships with his former clients to be in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct as well.
Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
- Eric Anthony Wright. The board dismissed the formal charges against the respondent. ODC alleged that the respondent violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by offering into evidence a video recording the veracity of which the respondent questioned.
- Rejohnna Brown-Mitchell. The board recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for three years. The respondent repeatedly ignored court orders concerning the handling of client funds, and she applied those funds to her own purported legal fees. She also lied to a friend, who was arguably a client, and persuaded the friend to sign a quitclaim deed that conveyed the friend’s interest in a New Orleans home to the respondent. The respondent also failed to provide an accounting for a legal fee she was paid, and failed to turn over a previous client’s file. Finally, she failed to file annual registrations and to pay certain annual assessments.
- David W. Oestreicher II. The board concluded that no formal sanction was warranted and that the formal charges against the respondent should be dismissed. Although the respondent violated duties owed to his clients and to the profession by failing to limit a legal secretary’s on-line access to his client trust account, his actions were purely negligent and did not result in any client harm.
Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Hearing Committees
- Douglas K. Hall. Hearing Committee No. 19 recommended that the respondent be disbarred and ordered to pay restitution for the financial harm he caused. The respondent failed to communicate with clients, to return unearned fees, and to act with reasonable diligence when handling client matters. He engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice by providing his client with a chemical designed to illicit a negative result on a court-ordered drug test and then adamantly denied to the court that his client was taking illegal drugs. Also, he made a filing and attempted to make an appearance for a client while ineligible to do so, stole utility services, and failed to respond to disciplinary counsel’s requests for information.
- Anthony Hollis. Hearing Committee No. 4 recommended that the respondent be permanently disbarred. The respondent failed to communicate a plea offer to his client, and he claimed to have lost the client’s file. Also, the respondent was arrested for domestic violence, failed to communicate with a client, and attempted to alter the amount on a check given to him by a client.
- Christine M. Mire (Matherne). A hearing committee recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for nine months, with six months deferred. The respondent made allegations of corruption against the presiding judge in a case she was handling. The committee determined that this was conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. She also failed to timely remit funds against the order of a bankruptcy court.
- Timothy L. Spratt. Hearing Committee No. 55 recommended that that the respondent be afforded a period of thirty days within which to enroll in and complete a professional assessment acceptable to the Lawyers’ Assistance Program (LAP), and that he complete any treatment required by LAP. The committee recommended that the respondent be suspended for two years if he fails to comply with LAP. The respondent violated the terms of his conditional admission to the practice of law.